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Napa County and its cities are among the 97.6 percent of California communities on the state’s “must do better” list when it comes to building affordable housing.

Local jurisdictions will now face the consequences of a new state law that reduces the number of hoops that developers of certain proposed apartment and condominium projects must jump through.

Senate Bill 35, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last year, is designed to pick up the housing construction pace. A recent report by the California Department of Housing and Community Development showed that only 13 of the state’s 539 counties and cities are meeting state-mandated targets.

Napa County and its cities must automatically approve infill affordable housing projects meeting certain criteria. Hearings by planning commissions, city councils and boards of supervisors are limited to assuring compliance with Senate Bill 35 and design requirements.

Among the criteria are that a proposed multifamily project has at least 50 percent affordable housing, is on land with the correct zoning, is an infill project, will use prevailing-wage labor and is consistent with design review standards.

Public protests can’t stall or kill a qualifying project.

“When 97 percent of cities are failing to meet their housing goals, it’s clear we need to change how we approach housing in California,” said Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, in a press release. He authored Senate Bill 35.

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