A Closer Look at the Latest Amendment to AB 1287: Enhancing Affordable Housing through Density Bonuses

In a significant development for affordable housing in California, a new addendum to Assembly Bill 1287 (AB 1287) was passed on October 11th, 2023. This addendum promises to bolster affordable housing initiatives by redefining the rules for density bonuses and affordable housing projects. Let’s delve into the key provisions of this updated legislation and explore how it can impact the state’s ongoing efforts to address its housing crisis.

1.  Maximum Density Bonus Tied to On-Site Affordable Units

One of the major changes introduced by the addendum is the requirement for housing projects to provide a specific percentage of on-site affordable units in order to obtain the maximum allowable density bonus of 50%, as already stipulated in existing law. These percentages are defined as follows:

  • 15% Very Low-Income Units
  • 24% Low-Income Units
  • 44% Moderate Income Units (for sale projects)

This provision reinforces the state’s commitment to increasing the availability of affordable housing for Californians across various income levels. To put it simply, a housing project aiming to maximize its density bonus must cater to these income groups.

2. Additional Density Bonus and Incentives/Concessions

The second critical change in this addendum introduces the possibility of achieving an even more substantial density bonus of up to 100%, along with additional incentives and concessions under AB 1287. The project can qualify for these enhanced benefits by providing more on-site affordable units, as specified in the legislation.

For Rental Projects: If the base project already includes 24% low-income units and 15% to 16% moderate-income units, it would be eligible for a 100% density bonus and three to four incentives/concessions under AB 1287. This essentially incentivizes developers to increase the number of affordable units in their projects to gain greater benefits.

For Ownership Projects: Similarly, for ownership projects, if the base project includes 10% very low-income units and 44% to 45% moderate-income units, it qualifies for an 88.75% density bonus and three to four incentives/concessions under AB 1287. Again, this encourages the inclusion of more affordable housing in ownership developments.

Impact on Affordable Housing Initiatives

This new addendum to AB 1287 has the potential to significantly boost California’s efforts to address the ongoing housing crisis. By incentivizing developers to include more affordable units in their projects, it aligns with the state’s goal of providing housing options for a diverse range of income groups.

In conclusion, the recent changes to AB 1287 demonstrate California’s commitment to tackling its housing challenges head-on. By offering incentives to developers who create more on-site affordable housing, this amendment takes a significant step toward a more inclusive and equitable housing landscape in the Golden State. It remains to be seen how these changes will affect future developments and the overall housing situation, but they certainly signify a positive direction for California’s housing policy.