Assembly committee approves Wieckowski's accessory dwelling unit bill

SB 1069 eliminates obstacles that discourage building affordable accessory dwelling units

June 29, 2016

Sacramento ­– State Senator Bob Wieckowski’s (D - Fremont) bill to eliminate unfair fees and restrictions that discourage the building of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in California, passed the Assembly Local Government Committee today with bipartisan support.  The bill, SB 1069, has strong support from affordable housing advocates, and business, education and environmental organizations.  It now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

“The high cost of housing in California hits families’ in their pocketbooks, prevents them from living close to where they work and leads to longer commutes and increased traffic,” said Wieckowski, a member of the Senate’s Transportation and Housing Committee. “We need to construct affordable housing solutions, such as ADUs, and tear down unfair and unnecessary barriers that serve no purpose other than to frustrate and discourage homeowners.  An ADU is affordable by design, requires no public subsidy and can be built fairly quickly.  Teachers, students, seniors and workers will benefit by streamlining this process.  The time to act is now.” 

SB 1069 eliminates duplicative utility fees; prohibits sprinkler requirements, if they are not required in the primary residence; provides exceptions to parking restrictions when the home is located within a half mile of transit; streamlines the time to approve or deny a building permit application from 120 days to 90 days; and requires ministerial approval for the remodeling of existing homes when they are compliant with building and safety codes.  Governor Brown signaled his support of the bill in the May Revise as a means to speed up local approval of affordable housing. 

Many teachers are priced out of the communities where they teach, forcing them to endure long commutes and increasing the disconnect between the educators and the families they serve.  A survey by the United Educators of San Francisco found that 77 percent of teachers and classroom staff had a hard time finding suitable housing.

“San Francisco is not the only California city where educators struggle to find affordable housing,” said Eric Heins, president of the California Teachers Association, which supports SB 1069.  “Innovative solutions are needed.  ADUs are a widely supported approach to get thousands of low cost units on the market fast.”

SB 1069 is on the California Chamber of Commerce’s “job creator” list, and the Terner Center for Housing Innovation, based at the University of California, Berkeley, says it would lead to a net fiscal benefit from increased local economic activity, create jobs and allow aging baby boomers to “age-in-place.”  In the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area alone, SB 1069 could lead to more than 14,000 jobs, according to the Terner Center.

SB 1069 is supported by a large, diverse coalition, including the Bay Area Council, AARP, the California Housing Consortium, the California School Employees Association, Joint Venture Silicon Valley Network, the Housing Trust of Silicon Valley, the Greenbelt Alliance, the National Resources Defense Council, the City of Oakland and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. 

Senator Wieckowski represents the 10th District, which includes southern Alameda County and northeast Santa Clara County.