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Governor, Legislative Democrats At Odds Over Inclusionary Housing For Rental Units


Although Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders have reached agreement on three key bills that seek to reduce California’s high housing costs, they’re still working to flesh out the rest of the package.

The biggest sticking point is an issue called “inclusionary housing,” when a city or county requires a developer to build a set percentage of affordable housing units as part of a larger project.

More than 100 local governments have inclusionary ordinances. But a 2009 state appeals court ruling exempted rental units.

So as part of an overall package of housing bills, Democratic lawmakers want to overturn that exemption. Two identical bills are under consideration in the Legislature, AB 1505 and SB 277.

“I think it’s a really big part of the overall equation,“ Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) told reporters outside the Capitol Wednesday. “I’m not sure that we can really hope to solve the crisis long-term if we don’t get that piece done.”

“I would like to still include that,“ said Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles). “We’re still talking with the governor about that. I think it is important.“

But the governor vetoed a similar bill a few years back.

“As Mayor of Oakland, I saw how difficult it can be to attract development to low and middle income communities,“ the governor wrote in his veto message. “Requiring developers to include below-market units in their projects can exacerbate these challenges, even while not meaningfully increasing the amount of affordable housing in a given community.“

Brown also vetoed an inclusionary housing ordinance as mayor of Oakland, suggesting his concerns run deep.

The governor’s office says discussions are ongoing between Brown, his staff and the bills’ authors.


Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio 

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