Sen. Blakespear Aims to Streamline Approval of Housing in Coastal Zones with 2 New Bills
SB 1077 allows ADUs to be approved without a coastal development permit, SB 1092 speeds up appeals process for multifamily housing units
SACRAMENTO – To address the lack of housing in many coastal communities and accelerate the process of providing it, Sen. Catherine Blakespear, D-Encinitas, on Monday introduced legislation to streamline the approval process for accessory dwelling units and speed up the appeals process for multifamily housing units in coastal areas.
California remains mired in an unprecedented housing shortage that has raised housing costs for all, pushed almost half of its population into housing instability and led to a dramatic 47 percent increase in homelessness between 2010 and 2023. Evidence indicates this shortage is fueled by decades of exclusionary and overly restrictive zoning.
In coastal areas, this problem is further complicated by the California Coastal Act of 1976 and the role played by the California Coastal Commission. While upholding the mission of the Coastal Act, Sen. Blakespear’s SB 1077 and SB 1092 enacts changes to allow coastal housing to come online faster.
“As a former mayor and longtime resident of a coastal city, I appreciate the Coastal Act and how it preserves the natural resources and beauty of our coast,” Sen. Blakespear said. “This legislation upholds the mission of the Coastal Act and follows what we’re doing across the state to address our housing crisis by reducing the regulatory hurdles to building needed housing.”
Homeowners who are far from sensitive natural resources should have the ability to add accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and junior accessory dwelling units (JADUs) for their own family needs without needless, repetitive and costly bureaucratic hurdles.
SB 1077 will simplify the permitting process for adding ADUs and JADUs to residential properties in the coastal zone by exempting projects not near natural resources from Coastal Development Permit (CDP) requirements. Presently, all ADUs in coastal zones must receive a CDP, which can be a complicated and time-consuming process. Under SB 1077, units in eligible areas would only need entitlement permits from their local jurisdictions.
The bill is supported by the Casita Coalition.
“The coastal development permit process makes getting ADU or JADU permits more complicated,” said Rafael Perez, the Chair of the Casita Coalition. “In the parts of the coastal zone near sensitive natural resources, those additional steps can be warranted, but along the rest of the coast, it adds a lot of confusion for both development experts and homeowners, without much justification. The state has gone to great lengths to simplify the permitting process for ADUs and JADUs outside the coastal zone, and we applaud Senator Blakespear’s effort to responsibly extend this simplified process to coastal residents. That is key for increasing more equitable and affordable housing options where they are severely lacking."
Sen. Blakespear’s other bill, SB 1092, ensures the Coastal Commission has deadlines for making decisions on appeals to housing projects that it accepts. Under current law, the lack of a deadline has caused confusion and uncertainty.
Tackling the state’s homelessness crisis and creating affordable housing has been a top priority for Sen. Blakespear since taking office. This year, she is also the principal co-author of legislation by Senate Majority Leader Brian Jones, R-San Diego, SB 1011, which would follow the model set by City of San Diego to ban camping in sensitive public spaces while ensuring the unhoused have access to the shelter and services they need.
Elected in 2022, Sen. Blakespear represents Senate District 38, which covers northern San Diego County and part of Orange County. To learn more about the district and Sen. Blakespear, visit her Senate website.