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New law aims to get homes built faster

Posted at 4:21 PM, May 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-21 01:01:32-04

New homes could start being built faster in San Diego County and across the state, according to a bill Gov. Newsom signed into law Thursday.

The law would streamline environmental legal challenges for some housing developments, limiting the cases to 270 days and protecting them from years of being held up in court. Qualifying developments would largely be in urban areas, must reserve 15 percent of their units as affordable, and would need to make at least a $15 million economic impact through wages or by spurring other business.

"This announcement today is a demonstrable proof point of our commitment to housing at all income levels," Newsom said at a news conference in San Jose.

The law has a chance to get housing built faster in San Diego, which has seen its supply drop to historic lows amid the pandemic, pushing up prices. CoreLogic says from March 2020 to March 2021, the median price for a home rose nearly 15 percent, to $698,000.

"Today with (Senate Bill 7) becoming law we answer that question mark with big exclamation points: More jobs, more business, more affordable housing," said State Sen. President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, who authored the legislation.

The benefits would not apply to sprawl developments, such as those proposed for the county's back country.

The state has offered this benefit to some larger projects since 2011, including the Chargers and Rams stadium in Inglewood. Developers would have to apply to the state for the protections, which last through 2025.