On Wednesday, October 9th, EBHO staff celebrated as we learned that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 1486 (Ting), the bill that strengthens rules about how cities, counties, schools, transportation districts, and other municipalities use public land for public good.
AB 1486 clarifies and strengthens the existing Surplus Land Act to ensure that affordable housing sponsors get first priority when local agencies dispose of publicly owned land they no longer need. Under the updated act, local agencies (cities, counties, school districts, transit agencies, etc.) have to give first priority to sponsors of affordable housing when disposing of the land.
Agencies must first negotiate with sponsors that will set aside at least 25% of housing units for lower-income households. If no agreement is reached and the land goes to a market-rate housing developer, a minimum of 15% of those units must be affordable. In the Bay Area alone, it is conservatively estimated that surplus land in the Bay Area could accommodate 35,000 new units of housing. (Metropolitan Transportation Commission estimate) For example, BART plans to develop 20,000 units of housing on its land, including 7,000 affordable housing units.
First proposed in 2018, this bill was co-sponsored by East Bay Housing Organizations (EBHO), the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California (NPH), and then the San Diego Housing Federation. More than half of California renters are cost-burdened, paying landlords more than 30% of their income to pay for housing. In our fiercely competitive housing market, public land is a vital resource, which is why this bill is a critical step to ensure that publicly owned land is used for the public good.