Housing Development

Meetings

5/23 MTC Meeting Wrap-Up: Commission Offers Support for Proposed BART TOD Policy, Approves Pilot Program Offering Fare Discounts for Low-Income Transit Riders

MTC Commission and staff sitting in the board room.
Noah Berger

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission held its monthly meeting on Wednesday, May 23. Highlights included the Commission offering a "Support and Seek Amendments" position on a State Assembly bill related to BART transit-oriented development (prompting a lively debate on regional housing and local zoning control), as well as approval of a pilot program that will provide 20 percent fare discounts to low-income adults on several major Bay Area transit operators.

Read on for all the Commission actions of the day, as well as links to the video recording of the meeting and all the handouts. Read More

Housing

YIMBYs, NIMBYs and the Data That Unites Them

Aerial View of Sonoma County
Karl Nielsen

The latest dispatch from America Counts: Stories Behind the Numbers from the U.S. Census provides an in-depth look at how data informs advocacy on both sides of the Bay Area’s housing debate. The story, NIMBY Meets YIMBY: Housing Movement Pushes for More Housing, shows how Census data is used to analyze everything from jobs to housing balance, rent burdens, building permit data and demographic change.

From the article:

Recently, the quest for housing affordability has dominated the national conversation. According to the 2016 American Community Survey (ACS) 1-Year estimates, 38.2 percent of rental households in the San Francisco Metro Area were spending at least 35 percent of their income on basic housing costs and 27.8 percent of homeowners with a mortgage were in the same situation.

Continue reading to find out more, and to see how your own county stacks up along a number of key measures. Read More

Housing

An Overview of the 2018 Housing Policy Landscape in California

Housing Near Milpitas BART Station
Karl Nielsen

Last year was a very active year for housing legislation in California, with approval of a housing package that included new funding for affordable housing as well as some modest regulatory changes. It appears, however, this may have just been a warm-up act for 2018. Currently, there are nearly 20 different major housing bills under consideration by lawmakers in the state’s capitol. Outside organizations are also organizing to place various housing-related measures on the statewide ballot in November 2018.

In this post, we’ll provide an overview of these various bills and initiatives and then segue into a discussion of key policy considerations for MTC and ABAG in light of regional goals, particularly those articulated in Plan Bay Area 2040, the nine-county Bay Area’s long-range transportation and land use plan jointly adopted by both agencies in July 2017.

Overview of Housing Bills and Ballot Initiatives

Staff has grouped these bills and initiatives into a few major categories: State Zoning Preemption and Housing Production; Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA); Fiscalization of Land Use/Property Taxes; and Rent Control, Tenant Protections and Anti-Displacement. Continue reading on for the bill summary and policy discussion. Read More

Housing

ABAG Launches Exciting New Online Housing Data Portal, Regional Permitting Activity in 2016 Disappoints

Housing Permit Activity

On the Bay Area housing beat there’s good news and bad news. 

The good news is that at yesterday’s ABAG Regional Planning Committee meeting, staff unveiled an exciting new online housing data portal. The portal provides easy access to data related to housing permit activity as well as local adoption of housing policies in the 101 towns and cities and nine counties of the San Francisco Bay Area.

The permitting data will allow users to see the affordability level (very low, low, moderate, or above moderate income), housing type (single family, multifamily, mobile home, second unit) and location of every single unit permitted in the region from 2014-16. The policy data will let users see the housing policies and programs that jurisdictions across the region are using to increase housing supply and affordability, preserve existing housing choices, and protect residents from displacement. Read more on ABAG’s website or check out the portal for yourself. 

The bad news is, well, what the data actually says. Read More

Housing

Large Homebuilder Pulls Out of North Bay Rebuild Effort

North Bay fires

We recently discussed how record low unemployment across the Bay Area combined with a severe housing shortage could create unexpected challenges for the region, especially as relates to achieving ambitious policy goals that involve significantly increasing housing-related construction activity. Late last week brought unfortunate confirmation of the broader dynamics involved here, with news that a large homebuilder was pulling out of plans to rebuild homes lost during the North Bay wildfires. 

The reason? Financial feasibility concerns driven by a "general labor shortage in home construction" and – in particular – a lack of local framers. From the Press Democrat:

“Our fear is that this is a bellwether of the way things are going to go,” [said Jeff Okrepkie, chairman of the Coffey Strong neighborhood rebuilding group].

Read More
Housing

Interested in Housing & Development Legislation? Attend the First "Planning Innovations" Forum of 2018 on February 13!

A construction worker working on the roof of an unfinished house.
Karl Nielsen

Given recently passed state housing legislation and lawsuits against local jurisdictions, cities face increasing scrutiny when approving or denying housing development proposals. MTC’s long-running Planning Innovations series kicks off 2018 with a timely workshop on these issues, How Objective is "Objective"? Effective Development Standards in the SB35 and Housing Accountability Act Era. The workshop will be held starting at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, February 13, at the Bay Area Metro Center in San Francisco; register and see additional details here. Read More

Policy

Record Low Unemployment Across (Much of) the Bay Area, and the Delicate Policy Dance That Follows

SF-Oak-Hay unemployment

The Bay Area economy has mostly had a good run since the dark days of the Great Recession (although the benefits have been uneven and not without their complications). For all the hype about the latest tech boom and the length of the current expansion, however, many key regional economic measures had not surpassed records set during the dot-com era nearly two decades ago. 

New data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (via FRED) indicate this is starting to change, though. To wit: most key urbanized areas (or MSAs) in the region are at or near record low unemployment levels. As shown in the above chart, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward MSA is now at 2.8 percent, a level last seen during a heady pre-millennium stretch from July to December of 1999.   Read More