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SCANPH Neutral on AB 904 (Skinner)

The Southern California Association of Nonprofit Housing (SCANPH) maintains a neutral position on AB 904 (Skinner).

Due to the overwhelming number of critical affordable housing issues currently on its policy agenda, SCANPH is unable at this time to actively work a position on AB 904. However, SCANPH believes strongly that incentives to residential development near transit must reflect the findings that the environmental and traffic benefits of transit are only realized if opportunities are created for lower income households to live near transit, and SCANPH remains interested in working with transit advocates on comprehensive transit planning solutions to realize this transit vision in Southern California.

As written, SCANPH has concerns that AB 904 affordability linkages are insufficient to ensure ridership and reduced car trip benefits, will increase gentrification pressures in some markets, and, with the increased land values that come with transit investment, may weaken our ability to incentivize affordable housing near transit.

SCANPH appreciates the changes that have been made to AB 904 from AB 710, particularly provisions exempting the proposed incentives from developments that would displace rent-restricted apartments and homes subject to affordability covenants. SCANPH had previously indicated to proponents of AB 904 that it would support a bill that connected the 1:1 reduced parking ratio to set-asides provided for in State Density Bonus Law (e.g. to strengthen our state’s first smart growth bill: the density bonus law), but this was not included in AB 904.

Studies show that transit oriented development can lead to higher rents and reduced transit use, due to gentrification and increased auto ownership rates caused by higher income households moving into the transit area. With reduced funding and land-use tools for building affordable homes, the planned build out of the Southern California transit system is primed to produce housing that excludes most workers and core transit riders - unless there are more comprehensive strategies for the creation and preservation of affordable housing.