Religious Groups Jump Parking Hurdles

Passage of AB 2244 by the California legislature on June 30 and signed into law by Governor Gavin Newson in July builds on previous efforts to reduce parking requirements for religious institutions planning to construct affordable housing projects on their properties.

Prior to the bill’s passage, many California religious communities had been working with local municipalities to turn underused portions of their properties into housing developments. These plans hit a roadblock when some local governments interpreted that a state law affecting residential parking only applied to existing properties and not to new construction. This interpretation limited the applicability of this housing option for congregations looking to address housing needs in their communities.

AB 2244 clarifies that reduction of residential parking requirements for housing development on religious properties applies equally to existing and proposed projects. Effective January 1, 2023, any proposed affordable housing development located on a religious property is eligible for up to a 50 percent reduction in the number of required religious-use parking spaces. Moreover, a local agency cannot deny a development based on the proposed reduction in parking. This is an important step toward enabling religious institutions to provide low-income Californians with more stable housing opportunities on their properties.

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