Neil Shekhter - of NMS Properties - On Gov. Brown Signed 15 Housing Bills

NMS Properties, Inc.

Neil Shekhter - of NMS Properties - On Gov. Brown Signed 15 Housing Bills

Friday, December 8, 2017 3:55 PM

Here's How They're Supposed to Help the Affordability Crisis

LOS ANGELES, CA / ACCESSWIRE / December 8, 2017 / Gov. Jerry Brown has finalized lawmakers' most robust response to California's housing affordability problems in recent memory.

The "15 good bills" Brown signed into law here Friday morning include a new fee on real estate transactions and a $4-billion bond on the 2018 ballot that together could raise close to $1 billion a year in the near term to help subsidize new homes for low-income residents.

Making it Easier for Developers to Build

A trio of measures aims to whittle down some of those rules. Senate Bill 35 forces cities to approve projects that comply with existing zoning if not enough housing has been built to keep pace with their state home-building targets. Such projects must also reserve a certain percentage of homes for low-income residents and pay construction workers union-level wages and abide by union-standard hiring rules.

Assembly Bill 73 and Senate Bill 540 give cities an incentive to plan neighborhoods for new development. Under AB 73, a city receives money when it designates a particular community for more housing and then additional dollars once it starts issuing permits for new homes. In these neighborhoods, at least 20% of the housing must be reserved for low- or middle-income residents, and projects will have to be granted permits without delay if they meet zoning standards.

SB 540 authorizes a state grant or loan for a local government to do the planning and environmental reviews to cover a particular neighborhood. Developers in the designated community also will have to reserve a certain percentage of homes for low- and middle-income residents and the city's approvals there would be approved without delay.

Forcing Cities to Plan for MoreHousing

Every eight years, cities and counties have to plan for enough new homes to meet state projections of population growth. This process, however, has not led to sufficient housing production to meet demand.

Three new laws expand requirements for cities to plan for housing. Assembly Bill 1397 forces local governments to zone land for housing where it could actually go, instead of putting sites they don't intend to approve in their housing plan. In one example, La Cañada Flintridge rezoned a big box commercial property for apartments or condominiums, but city officials later told residents any new homes on the site would be almost impossible to build.

Senate Bill 166 makes cities add additional sites to their housing plans if they approve projects at densities lower than what local elected officials had anticipated in their proposals. The goal is to make up for the housing units that weren't built.

Assembly Bill 879 instructs cities to analyze how long it takes developers to actually build their projects once they've been approved, and then take steps to shorten that time.

Penalizing Cities That Say No to Housing

The Housing Accountability Act passed in 1982 prohibits cities from saying no to housing projects that meet zoning requirements simply because they don't like them. But such cases are hard to prove. Three measures, Senate Bill 167, Assembly Bill 678 and Assembly Bill 1515, will beef up the existing law by making it easier for developers to prove a city acted in bad faith when denying a project, and by upping a city's penalty to $10,000 per unit they rejected.

Assembly Bill 72 gives the state housing department more authority to investigate cities that don't follow through with their housing plans and refer cases to California's attorney general for possible legal action.

Launching NMS Properties in 1988, Neil Shekhter assumed the role of CEO in January 1995. The real estate management company focuses on multi-family and mixed-use properties in the Greater Los Angeles area and in Santa Monica. At present, NMS manages more than 70 properties.

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NMS has offered quality rentals in the Los Angeles area for nearly three decades. Since 1988, NMS has developed and managed a large portfolio of premier apartment buildings and commercial properties in Santa Monica, West Los Angeles, Brentwood and the San Fernando Valley.

SOURCE: NMS Properties, Inc.