Real estate developers are well versed in the roadblocks that can pop up and slow down a project. One of the first that developers often encounter involves zoning ordinances. This issue can block a project before it even begins. In most cases, cities or municipalities control the zoning in their neighborhoods. Unfortunately, this has made it difficult for certain projects to move forward. Even much-needed projects like housing developments.
Changes to zoning laws in California
California Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed two bills into law that will help address this problem. The first, Senate Bill 9, speaks directly to zoning and increases the ability to build duplexes in residential areas. This shifts the balance of control for zoning questions. In the past, this was basically an area dominated by local government. This law basically requires the local agency to allow developments of no more than two residential units within a single-family residential zone as long as the development meets certain requirements. These include that the project would not result in major demolition or part of a historic district.
Changes to environmental regulations
Another common problem in real estate development projects is that of unexpected expenses. The second law, Senate Bill 10, will help address this concern as it reduces the environmental rules for multifamily housing options of up to 10 units that are often tied to construction projects.
Both laws also address a third roadblock for real estate projects: time. The extra time it takes to navigate a zoning issue or review compliance with environmental rules can set a project back weeks, months, even years. This translates to additional expenses making it even harder to move the project forward. Real estate developers can reduce these setbacks with a combination of due diligence prior to the start of the project and the ability to negotiate a resolution to any conflicts that arise during the course of the project.