Sophia BollagClare Fonstein
Oct. 11, 2023Updated: Oct. 12, 2023 12:10 p.m.

California is expanding a housing law that has led to the construction of thousands of new units amid the state’s ongoing housing crisis, under a measure signed Wednesday by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The law extends a policy enacted in 2017 that requires cities that fall behind on their state housing goals to streamline approval of some projects. That law was set to expire at the end of 2025 but will be extended, with modifications, until 2036.

Developers in San Francisco have used the existing law to speed up thousands of housing units. The new law could result in even more such projects in the city, especially because it targets San Francisco’s housing approval process for more frequent scrutiny. It will require that the state’s Housing and Community Development department evaluate San Francisco’s progress toward its state-mandated housing targets every year instead of every four years like other cities and counties.

As a result, the new law, SB423, is expected to increase the number of opportunities developers have to streamline projects as San Francisco struggles to meet its new goal of 82,000 new units by the end of 2031.

Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, said he expects the new law will cut San Francisco’s approval process from years to months.

“We are going to see permits for multi-use construction happen much, much more quickly in San Francisco without all the politicized process we’ve had so far,” said Wiener, the bill’s author.

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