In an effort to spur housing development in Corning, the City Council has unanimously approved submitting a letter requesting the town’s name be included in Assembly Bill 430 – the Camp Fire Housing Assistance Act of 2019, sponsored by Third District Assemblyman James Gallagher, republican of Yuba City.

City Manager Kristina Miller said AB 430 would help provide housing relief for Camp Fire victims by streamlining the city’s ministerial approval of housing projects that fall under the state’s Environmental Quality Act.

AB 430, if approved by the state’s legislature, will authorize housing developments in specified jurisdictions, such as Corning, whose housing needs have been impacted by November’s historic Camp Fire in neighboring Butte County, to streamline the ministerial process at the local level.

“Anything we can do to help the victims of the Camp Fire and encourage growth in our town, we need to support,” Councilman Robert Snow said.

According to Gallagher’s office, the proposed bill does not encourage urban sprawl as it requires the development be located within the residential zoning area identified in the impacted cities of Biggs, Gridley, Orland, Oroville and now Corning.

Chico was initially named on the legislation, but chose to withdraw its listing.

The bill disqualifies proposed housing projects located in floodplains and floodways, farmland, and lands identified for conservation, among other areas of detrimental environment impact. Also included as disqualified areas are those protected by state and federal Endangered Species Act, and the Native Plant Protection Act.

Specifics for housing developments under AB 430 cover areas such as a minimum density of at least four housing units per acre, development site of no more than 50 acres, and housing must meet federal energy efficiency requirements.

The city council had concerns about some of the bill’s language concerning multi-family unit developments and a lack of parking requirements, leading the council to direct staff to work with Gallagher’s office on parking language to meet the city’s concerns.

“Despite this concern,” Miller said, “in working with Assemblyman Gallagher in the past, I feel I can work with him on language that would not adversely affect the city.”

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