Tiny apartments: New California bill would reward developers who go compact


SACRAMENTO — A new California bill sponsored by the city of San Diego would reward developers for building smaller and more affordable apartments within a short walk of public transit.

The proposal announced Wednesday by Assemblyman Todd Gloria, D-San Diego, would let cities statewide tap into new incentives to spur more housing near transit for both low-income residents and “the missing middle” — teachers and other middle-income workers who are increasingly priced out of high-cost cities.

“A large part of the severity of California’s housing crisis is the pressure it puts on middle-class families,” Gloria, a former San Diego city councilman, said in a statement Wednesday. “These are Californians who have jobs, work full-time and are still priced out of the market yet unable to qualify for subsidized housing. This bill provides a solution.”

The bill is the latest in a flurry of legislation introduced since January to address the state’s housing shortage. Senate Bill 827 from Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, would override local height limits that block apartments and condominiums from being built within a half mile of public transit stations.

Gloria’s bill takes a gentler tack, offering cities the option to participate in the incentive program.

Many California cities already offer incentives or concessions to encourage housing development near transit. Assembly Bill 2372 would create a new state program that rewards projects based on how much usable floor space they would include per lot, a change designed to maximize density.

And rather than charging developers what are known as “impact fees” for each unit, regardless of size, the fees would be calculated by a project’s total square footage — another shift aimed at producing a greater number of more compact apartments.

The program also would reduce parking requirements, leaving more space for apartments within each project.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Business

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