Proposed Bill Would Exempt a California County from Developing Affordable Housing

California state lawmakers are pushing a proposal to allow parts of Marin County to be exempt from state laws that promote the development of affordable housing. Under Assembly Bill 121, the county would be exempt from requiring low-income residential units in new developments. Recent analysis from UCLA suggests that the state’s housing crisis is not subsiding anytime soon, with rents and home prices increasing to levels that will disproportionately impact low- and middle–income families. Marin County, located in the Bay Area, has among the highest per capita incomes in the state, but the average renter would need to work seventy-seven hours a week just to afford a studio apartment, according the National Low Income Housing Coalition. The proposal’s author, Marc Levine (D-San Rafael), argues that communities in Marin County should protect their suburban characteristics rather than mimic larger cities like Oakland and San Francisco, while critics maintain that this is a method to keep low-income households out of wealthier neighborhoods. The bill has been attached to the state budget bill which is expected to be signed into law before the new fiscal year begins on July 1.

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