Politics

California lawmakers advance Brown's affordable housing plan

Construction is ongoing in an area with lots of shopping just off the 405 Freeway along Edinger Avenue in Huntington Beach. Nearby at Edinger Avenue and Beach Boulevard, a site was proposed for new affordable housing units.
Construction is ongoing in an area with lots of shopping just off the 405 Freeway along Edinger Avenue in Huntington Beach. Nearby at Edinger Avenue and Beach Boulevard, a site was proposed for new affordable housing units.
Ashley Bailey/KPCC

California lawmakers have adopted a controversial plan proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown in response to the state's affordable housing crisis.

The legislation that passed the Assembly Friday on a 46-7 vote would fast-track building permits and waive some environmental reviews for high-density projects that include affordable housing.

Brown's proposal seeks to bypass local politics and restrictions that have consistently blocked projects, contributing to the worst housing shortage in the nation.

It was introduced by Assemblyman Richard Bloom, a Democrat from Santa Monica. It now moves to the Senate.

The legislation has faced strong opposition from some environmental groups and local activists who see it as an effort to weaken California's notoriously rigorous environmental quality law. In San Francisco, civic leaders have responded with their own alternate proposal.