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2022 New Laws | Here's how California is working to alleviate the housing crisis

Neighborhood groups sprung up in the lead-up to the bill's vote, arguing their rights as homeowners are threatened by lack of public hearings over new developments.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — As dozens of new California laws are set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022, some address more recently relevant topics like voting accessibility, menstrual products in school, housing and environmental protection.

Here is what you need to know about new housing laws that are officially on the books in 2022.

Housing crisis - Senate Bill 9 

Introduced by State Senator Toni Atkins, D-San Diego and approved by Newsom on Sept. 16, the California Housing Opportunity and More Efficiency Act allows homeowners to create additional housing units on their property, based on local ordinance or ministerial approval.

Proposed housing developments with one or two residential units in single-family home zoning would be considered ministerially if it would not require demolition or alterations subject to a law restricting rents to affordable levels — and the proposed development won't demolish more than 25% of existing exterior structural wall.

Additional housing units cannot be developed within historic districts or city and county landmarks.

The bill also allows local agencies to set zoning, subdivision and design standards for the construction of two housing units —  but only if these standards don't shrink either of the two units to less than 800 square feet of floor area.

What's new?

Atkins said the act streamlines the process for homeowners to create duplexes or subdivide existing lots in residential areas, increasing the income over homeowners leasing the additional property.

The expiration date of an approved subdivision map listing all the additional housing units has been extended from 12 months to 24 months.

A more streamlined process for creation of duplexes, or subdivisions means bypassing the discretionary review process and going straight to local governments for application approval.

What do critics say?

The disagreements between many homeowners and local officials over single-family home zoning has been a hot-button issue for residential communities nationwide, no more than in California.

Neighborhood associations and groups sprung up in the lead-up to the bill's vote, arguing their rights as homeowners are threatened by lack of public hearings over new developments.

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