The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Despite strong economic growth and record-level unemployment in most areas of the state, California has fallen seriously short of its policy of providing every California family with the opportunity to live in decent, affordable housing in a suitable living environment.
(b) The Department of Finance estimates that to meet California’s housing need, 230,000 new residential
units per year must be built.
(c) For each of the last eight years, California has produced only 50 percent of the housing to meet its need, resulting in a critical accumulated deficit.
(d) Although the lack of sufficient housing is a statewide problem cutting across all geographic areas and income categories, it is most severe in strong economic job center markets where high housing costs make it extremely difficult for working-class Californians to afford a home.
(e) Increasingly, due to high housing costs and constraints on regulatory development policy, California workers are forced to seek homeownership opportunities further and further away from their places of employment.
(f) Conversely, many communities where land is more available and
less expensive are located long distances from high-growth job centers. Those developments are occupied predominantly by commuters who travel long distances outside of the communities in which they live and inflate the price of housing.
(g) The exportation of housing demand to outlying areas, including agricultural areas, carries with it definite environmental and quality of life consequences.
(h) Throughout the state, major investments have been, and are being made, in public transit infrastructure. The use of this infrastructure depends on local decisions about the location of jobs and housing to better manage traffic flow and to direct new development and fiscal resources to revive existing urban centers, especially central business districts and infill sites.
(i) Ensuring that transit facilities are
surrounded by compact, mixed-use development is a key to increasing transit ridership and reducing reliance on the automobile for all trips. However, neighborhood concerns, complex ownership issues, and local government preference for major sales tax generators make the planning and environmental clearance process for transit-oriented communities very expensive and time-consuming. Investment in pedestrian-friendly, compact transit-village development will reduce long-term infrastructure costs associated with accommodating new highways and roadways.
(j) The failure to provide California’s growing workforce an affordable place to live close to one’s place of employment is viewed by business, environmental, civic, and labor leaders as a serious threat to sustaining long-term economic prosperity and environmental quality.
(k) Communities need effective tools to promote and reward
development in job centers of the state, to reward the development of affordable infill housing as well as mixed-use development that includes housing close to transit, within urbanized areas, and to attract and add employment to areas that lack a sufficient employment base.