Senate Bill 35 Redirects Housing Project Decision Process 

In recent years, the Huntington Beach City Council has heard concerns from the community about multi-family projects that have been “approved.”  But a 2018 state law referred to as “Senate Bill 35” or “SB 35” has tied the hands of local jurisdictions and their elected officials to allow for multifamily housing to be built by right and without the consent of our local city leaders. 

SB 35 was introduced in 2017 as one of 15 bills under California’s 2017 Housing Package that, according to the California Department of Housing and Community Development, is “an opportunity to innovate in the way we deliver housing throughout the state of California.”  

State Senator Scott Weiner, who introduced the bill, mentions in his briefing on the Senate floor that legislative analysts state California needs to produce about 180,000 housing units per year and we are currently producing half of that goal. He continues by saying that this issue is hurting middle-class and lower-income residents alongside families and young people and this bill would combat the housing crisis in California.  

Under this 2018 law, cities are required to consider housing development projects at a city staff level instead of a public hearing in front of the City Planning Commission or the City Council. 

Considerations for approval of any projects submitted under SB 35 can only be denied if it does not meet the “objective” standards. Deviations from these objective standards are allowed only under the Density Bonus Law which permits projects to be approved if they contain affordable units.  If proposed projects meet those objective standards, the city staff must by law approve the projects. 

If you are interested in learning more about SB 35, click here

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