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California planning and zoning laws refreshed for 2018

New planning and zoning regulations have been set in motion throughout California through the implementation of Assembly Bill No. 879 effective January 1, 2018.  The measure amends Sections 65400, 65583 and 65700 of the Government Code and Section 50456 of the Health and Safety Code.

Below are the notable additions and revisions to the California State Planning and Zoning Law:


  • Additional information required in city, county and charter city annual reports


California State law currently requires city and county governments to design and adopt a general land use development plan within its boundaries. Each year, the local agencies must report on the progress achieved in the implementation of these plans by submitting an annual report to the legislative body, the Office of Planning and Research and the Department of Housing and Community Development (DCHD).

The amendments made through AB 879 require the addition of the following details:

  • Total number of housing development applications received in the previous year
  • Total number of units included in these development applications
  • Total number of units approved and disapproved
  • The net total of housing units, both for sale and for rent  that have been issued a completed entitlement, building permit or certificate of occupancy

The new measure also aims to keep track of the regional housing need for each income level that the current zoning plans cannot accommodate. A list of sites rezoned to address this need is also required in the annual reports.


  • Charter cities are now required to submit annual land use reports


Prior to AB 879, only city and county governments were required to submit progress reports on their land use and development initiatives. With the new measure, charter cities are now also required to do so.


  • Analyzing the impact of governmental and non-governmental constraints on housing development


Section 65583 of the Government Code formalizes the need to identify and analyze current and projected housing needs in a given region. Local agencies are required to provide a statement of goals, policies and quantifiable objectives aimed to preserve, improve and develop housing in their respective territories.

Through AB 879, this assessment of needs now includes:

  • An analysis of locally adopted ordinances that have a direct impact on the cost and supply of residential development
  • An analysis of non-governmental constraints, such as:
    • Requests to develop housing at below-anticipated densities
    • The inevitable delays between receiving approval for a housing development and submitting an application for its required building permits
    • Local efforts to remove nongovernmental constraints obstructing the development of housing for all income levels


  • An evaluation of fees charged to new developments


Under Section 50456 of the Health and Safety Code, AB 879 requires the DHCD to complete an assessment of the equitableness of local fees charged to new housing development projects. The study must justify recommendations for fee reductions, if needed.Catch up with crucial developments, updates, and expert analyses on the Southern California real estate market with Lambert Investment, Inc. Connect with us today – call 310-453-9656 or email