Dear Friends and Advocates of Affordable Housing,
Public Counsel and Community Corporation of Santa Monica have been working with Assemblymember Richard Bloom’s office to co-sponsor AB 721, a bill that makes certain restrictive covenants on land unenforceable against affordable and supportive housing developments. The current language of the bill can be found here and a fact sheet is attached.
You probably already know about the history of racially restrictive covenants in California. What is lesser known is that the racially restrictive covenants were often combined with density restrictions in covenants that have and continue to effectively preclude the development of affordable and supportive housing. Explicitly racially restrictive language is no longer enforceable by law and court decisions, but these other restrictions can limit development on a given parcel to one to three units even if the local zoning does not - and are still used to perpetuate and exacerbate racial exclusion.
Under AB 721, restrictive covenants that limit density by private agreement on a given property cannot be enforced against 100% affordable and supportive housing developments. The intent of the law is to allow for the construction of the housing that is most needed to combat our affordability and homeless crises – affordable and supportive housing - to the greatest extent otherwise allowable under local zoning codes and land use rules. If passed, we believe this bill will remove an important barrier to the development of affordable and supportive housing, especially in high opportunity areas that have traditionally excluded such housing. Importantly, the bill would not override local land use or zoning, but would override the ability of a private agreement to restrict density in a manner that excludes affordable or supportive housing.
We would appreciate the support of any organization you may be affiliated with. Individual sign-ons are also appreciated. Attached below is a draft support letter – if you are willing, we would greatly appreciate your sign on and submittal of a letter from your organization.
Support letters can be uploaded here: https://calegislation.lc.ca.gov/Advocates
If you have any questions about the language or intent of the bill, please feel free to reach out directly to Tara Barauskas at firstname.lastname@example.org.