Tuesday, November 26, 2013

California's SB 2

There is growing support in cities throughout California for sanctioning legal tent cities and transitional villages for the unhoused, similar to the ones discussed on this blog.

After delving into ORS 446.265 here in Oregon, I have become more interested in unique state and local regulations that can be utilized for sanctioning legal tent cities and transitional villages for the unhoused, similar to the ones discussed on this blog. I've also been witnessing growing support for this kind of development in cities throughout California, so wanted to dig a little deeper into the potential there.

California's Housing Accountability Act, commonly referred to as the "anti-NIMBY law," prohibits cities from rejecting a housing development if the site is identified in local zoning and general plans for residential use at the proposed density, or if there is a failure to to accommodate the city's fair share of housing for all income groups.  While it is commonly thought of as a tool for promoting affordable housing, SB 2 adds emergency, transitional, and supportive shelter to the uses protected under this act.

SB 2, passed in 2007, "ensures that zoning encourages and facilitates emergency shelters and limits the denial of emergency shelters and transitional and supportive housing under the Housing Accountability Act." This means that cities must zone for emergency needs, and if someone comes forward and shows those needs aren’t met, then citizens have a right to set up an emergency site.

More specifically it requires the following:

• At least one zone shall be identified to permit emergency shelters without a conditional use permit or other discretionary action. 

Sufficient capacity must be identified to accommodate the need for emergency shelters and at least one year-round emergency shelter. 

• Existing or proposed permit procedures, development and management standards must be objective and encourage and facilitate the development of or conversion to emergency shelters.

• Emergency shelters shall only be subject to development and management standards that apply to residential or commercial within the same zone.

• Written and objective standards may be applied as specified in statute, including maximum number of beds, provision of onsite management, length of stay and security.

• Includes flexibility for jurisdictions to meet zoning requirements with existing ordinances or demonstrate the need for emergency shelters can be accommodated in existing shelters or through a multi-jurisdictional agreement.

• Transitional and supportive housing shall be considered a residential use and only
subject to those restrictions that apply to other residential uses of the same type in the
same zone

for more details see the memorandum from the Department of Housing and Community Development

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