Public Land Working Group Releases New Surplus Land Act Materials

 In Great News
Surplus Land Act flowchart

GCC’s Public Land Working Group (PLWG) has created two new educational materials related to the Surplus Land Act (SLA) to help government agencies, housing advocates, and community members understand this complicated law. The SLA regulates the process when a local agency sells or leases its surplus land and requires the agency to prioritize affordable housing development. Public land is a key asset that can play a major role in addressing the state’s affordable housing needs. In late 2019, the state strengthened the SLA through AB 1486, in no small part due to the advocacy of PLWG members. These new educational materials will help increase compliance with the SLA and new requirements under AB 1486.

Our SLA Process Flowchart outlines the key steps and decision points for local agencies and the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). For example, it indicates how much time HCD has to respond to local agency actions at different points of the process and how the agency should negotiate in good faith with affordable housing developers. The flowchart also highlights the consequences of noncompliance with the SLA, including fines from HCD, action by the Attorney General, and lawsuits by third parties.

The Surplus Land Act Affordable Housing FAQ complements the flowchart with a more detailed explanation of key terms and process requirements, along with references to relevant sections of the government code. The FAQ includes a one-page executive summary that can act as a quick reference for housing advocates speaking at public meetings, for example. It also explains what types of surplus public land are exempt from the SLA, the affordability requirements for development on surplus land, and the planning and reporting obligations for cities and counties working on Housing Elements.

A big thank-you to Public Advocates, EBHO, and Public Interest Law Project for leading development of these materials. We expect to continue updating both documents, depending on additional policy changes and/or feedback from partners. If you have feedback or questions about the diagrams, please contact one of the lead organizations or email us at gcc[at]

Also – check out our Public Land Resource Library for additional public land and SLA-related materials.

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