Advocacy Updates, Relevance|

advocacy update

Continue reading to find out more about the AIA CA Zero Net Carbon Design continuing education proposal, housing legislation making its way through the Legislature, and an update on our actions opposing a sales tax on services.

AIA CA Board of Directors Supports Decarbonization Continuing Education

One Site.

Countless challenges

A looming deadline.

Seven and a half billion clients.

This is the ultimate design project.

This is why we’re here.

– AIA Climate Action Plan, April 2020

At its July meeting, the AIA CA Board of Directors overwhelmingly voted to ask the State Legislature to change state law and require architects to take five hours of continuing education in building decarbonization/Zero Net Carbon Design every two years.

If approved by the Legislature and Governor next year, the courses will educate all California architects about Zero Net Carbon design, prepare architects for rapidly changing codes and for a marketplace shifting towards resilience, and mobilize the profession to lead statewide de-carbonization.

AIA CA will offer courses to meet this requirement at no cost to AIA Members.

Housing Legislation

As the Legislature finishes its final weeks of the 2019-20 Session, several bills related to housing continue to work their way through the process.

The AIA CA Board of Directors, at the July meeting, agreed with the recommendations of the AIA CA Urban Design Committee on several bills and adopted the following positions:

AB 725 – Zoning; multi-family

AIA CA Position: Support

Amends Housing Element law to require certain jurisdictions to zone for multi-family moderate and above-moderate income housing.

AB 1851 – Affordable Housing

AIA CA Position: Support

Allows a religious institution to develop an affordable housing project at a place of worship owned by the religious institution even if the development requires the religious institution to reduce the number of religious-use parking spaces available at the place of worship.

AB 2323 – CEQA

AIA CA Position: Support

Expands the application of California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) exemptions for housing and other specified projects by permitting community plans, as defined, to serve as the basis for exemption of residential, mixed-use and employment center projects near transit and eliminating the exclusion of sites within the boundaries of a state conservancy from existing exemptions for affordable agricultural housing, affordable urban housing, and urban infill housing.

AB 2345 – Density Bonus

AIA CA Position: Support

Revises Density Bonus Law to increase the maximum allowable density and the number of concessions and incentives a developer can seek.

SB 902 – Density

AIA CA Position: Support

Permits a local government to pass an ordinance to zone any parcel up to 10 units of residential density per parcel, at a height specified by the local government in the ordinance, if the parcel is located in a transit-rich area, a jobs-rich area, or an urban infill site.

SB 995 – CEQA

AIA CA Position: Support

Extends for four years the Jobs and Economic Improvement Through Environmental Leadership Act of 2011 until 2025; and makes housing projects that meet certain requirements, including specified affordable housing requirements and labor requirements, eligible for certification under the Act.

SB 1085 – Density

AIA CA Position: Support

Makes several changes to density bonus law and provides additional benefits to housing development projects that include moderate-income rental housing units, as specified.

SB 1120 – Duplexes

AIA CA Position: Support

Requires ministerial approval of duplexes and specified parcel maps.

SB 1299 – Rezoning Idle Retail

AIA CA Position: Support

Requires the California Housing and Community Development Department (HCD) to administer a program to provide grants to local governments that rezone idle sites used for a big box commercial shopping center to instead allow the development of workforce housing.

SB 1385 – Housing on Commercial Sites

AIA CA Position: Support

Enacts the Neighborhood Homes Act, which establishes housing as an allowable use on any parcel zoned for office or retail uses.

AB 3040 – RHNA

AIA CA Position: Oppose

Allows cities and counties to receive a specified credit towards meeting their Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) for rezoning single-family neighborhoods to allow four units per parcel.

Reason for Oppose Recommendation: Rezoning to four units will result in changing the nature of the neighborhood fabric and scale and turn single-family neighborhoods into a speculative bonanza that will largely benefit developers. Allowing cities to receive the credits incentivizes this rezoning.

Sales Tax on Services Update

It certainly appears that this legislative session will end without a sales tax on services proposal being offered or voted on. Proponents of new revenue are focusing on a split roll property tax (Proposition 15 on the November ballot) and increasing the income tax paid by those making more than $1 million (AB 1253).

Nevertheless, and in anticipation a sales tax on services will remain a threat next year, the coalition of professional service providers and business organizations, of which AIA CA is a member, has begun targeted grassroots activity with key legislators. The first meeting was held last week with State Senator Tom Umberg (Demor. Bob Murrin, FAIA, AIA CA Secretary/Treasurer, and a constituent of Sen. Umberg, represented AIA CA at that meeting. Thanks to Bob and other Members of the coalition, Sen. Umberg has a good understanding of the negative impacts a sales tax would have on professional service providers.

AIA California
AIA California
Celebrating over 75 years of service, the AIA California actively promotes the value of design and advocates for the architectural profession. AIA CA is an association of 11,000 dedicated and passionate members who share a commitment to design excellence and livability in California’s natural and built environments.

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