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San Francisco Assemblyman confronts city’s housing crisis

Bills would restore rental developments and aid senior citizens

It’s no surprise that California is going through a housing crisis, and a San Mateo County lawmaker wants to know what is going on.

According to the San Francisco Examiner:

Assembly Bill 2502, authored by Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco, would restore the authority of cities to require new rental developments include a certain percentage of below-market-rate housing.

Cities currently have the power to place such requirements on developments containing new homes for sale, but lost the ability to similarly mandate affordable rental stock in a 2009 court case. Building industry and Realtor organizations oppose the bill.

It’s no secret the Bay Area is facing what many call an unprecedented housing crisis. Just 36% of Peninsula households would have been able to afford a new home in 2014, according to the organization Sustainable San Mateo County, while the national average was 74%.

Hugh Bower, Mullin’s chief of staff, said AB 2502 attempts to correct a problem that arose in 2009, when a California appellate court ruled in Palmer/Sixth Street Properties v. City of Los Angeles that a city inclusionary housing law constituted the type of rent control banned by the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act.

“We’ve got this absolutely booming tech economy where the folks who are in it are getting paid these exorbitant salaries,” Bower was quoted saying.

“In the meantime, if you don’t have an engineering degree from MIT, how are you going to afford to live in the Bay Area?” added Bower.

Residents in Palo Alto, CA who are having a tough time paying their mortgage could qualify for subsidized housing under their new affordable housing program.

According to CBSSF:

The city council has unanimously passed a housing plan that would essentially subsidize new housing for what qualifies as middle-class nowadays, families making from $150,000 to $250,000 a year.

The plan would focus on building smaller, downtown units for people who live near transit and don’t own cars, along with mixed-use retail and residential developments.

Mullin’s second bill focuses on allowing senior citizens to keep more tax money after selling their homes.

Sponsored by the California Association of Realtors, Assembly Bill 2668 would not only expand the ability of senior citizens to keep most of their Prop. 13 tax savings after selling their old homes to buy a new one, but it would also provide incentives as well.

The article stated under existing law, Propositions 60 and 90 enable homeowners 55 and older to migrate their current property tax base — calculated using their original home’s base year assessed value — to a replacement home, if that home is worth less than the one they currently occupy.

Bowers says that this not only affects senior citizens but to young families too because it creates incentives for seniors who are “empty nesters” to put their large, family homes on the market as they “downsize” and move into smaller dwellings that better fit their now-smaller space requirements.

Introduced on Feb. 19, 2016, AB 2502 might be signed into law by the state Assembly without appearing before voters, the AB2668 however needs to win two-thirds approval from voters as it amends existing propositions.

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