Land use regulation that constrains housing production risks social, economic, and environmental harm. California attempts to avoid these harms by mandating localities plan to accommodate their fair share of housing production to meet local and regional needs. Decades of inadequate affordable housing production galvanized the legislature to pass multiple laws to address regulatory obstacles to affordable housing production. One of those laws, Senate Bill 35, creates a ministerial approval pathway for qualifying housing in communities that have failed to meet their housing production targets in prior years. Lawmakers hoped that making affordable housing development faster and more predictable would facilitate building more housing at a lower cost. This article provides preliminary empirical support for that theory. In some cities, Senate Bill 35 is, in fact, speeding up housing approvals.
Moira O’Neill & Ivy Wang, How Can Procedural Reform Support Fair Share Housing Production? Assessing the Effects of California’s Senate Bill 35, 25 Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research 143–170 (2023).