By Liam Dillon
Feb. 1, 2018 – 3:30 p.m.

Almost every city and county in California will have to streamline its rules for approving new housing following the passage of legislation last year, the state Department of Housing and Community Development said Thursday.

Every eight years, local governments receive targets from the state for new housing production in an effort to keep pace with population growth. But those targets have long been ignored with little consequence even as the state’s housing shortage has fueled record-high costs.

Senate Bill 35, passed as part of a package of housing legislation in 2017, requires cities that have fallen behind on their goals to make it easier to permit new construction. Under the bill, cities and counties must approve housing projects without delay if the proposals match a city’s underlying zoning rules. For example, the bill will fast-track 50 condominiums proposed on land now zoned for that amount of housing, but won’t if the proposal is for more than that.

The state housing department determined that 397 cities and counties — including Fresno, Long Beach, Los Angeles County and Sacramento — are behind on meeting housing goals at all income levels and must approve qualifying projects that reserve at least 10% of a development for low-income residents.

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