[co-author: Michael Ervin]
Religious Properties Can Now Cut Parking by up to 50% When Building Affordable Housing
California religious properties will now have greatly reduced parking requirements should they seek to redevelop portions of their property into affordable housing. AB 2244, signed by Gov. Newsom last week, builds off of previous efforts to reduce parking requirements on a place of worship if it planned to construct an affordable housing project on its property.
Parking Requirements Before AB 2244
AB 2244 continues the regulatory path charted by AB 1851, which was passed in 2020 and was the first bill to reduce parking requirements for affordable housing on religious properties. The rationale was to reduce regulatory obstacles limiting religious communities’ ability to meet their community’s housing needs. Under AB 1851, local agencies could not deny the development based solely on the basis of the proposed reduction in religious-use parking spaces. Many local governments interpreted the reduced parking to apply only to existing religious institutions, and did not extend AB 1851 to new or proposed developments.
In response to local government interpretation, AB 2244 expands the definition of “religious-use parking spaces” to include both existing and new places of worship. Beginning Jan. 1, 2023, any proposed affordable housing development located on a religious property is eligible for up to a 50% reduction in the number of required religious-use parking spaces. AB 2244 continues to provide that a local agency cannot deny a development based upon the proposed reduction in parking. However, the bill does not exempt religious institutions from the requirements on new developments to provide electric vehicle charging infrastructure, or parking spaces dedicated to persons with disabilities.