SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) – Marin’s heated debate over how and where to comply with state mandates on affordable housing could soon be a thing of the past as a new bill moves through the legislature that would make parts of the County the only area in the state exempt from affordable housing mandates.

With a 62-4 bipartisan vote, the Assembly Monday passed AB 1537, a bill that would free parts of Marin, including segments of San Rafael and Novato, from the current 30 units per acre limit, according to the Marin Independent Journal.

The state currently categorizes the county of Marinas metropolitan, meaning it must comply with more dense mandates than suburban counties like Sonoma, where 20 unit per acre density is one way to meet requirements. Below is one section from the assembly bill:

“This bill would require… a county that is in the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, California Metropolitan Statistical Area…that has a population of less than 400,000 to be considered suburban for purposes of determining the densities appropriate to accommodate housing for lower income households.”

“Legislation to redesignate Marin as a suburban county has never even gotten off the floor of the Assembly before,” Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, the bill’s sponsor, told the Marin IJ. “No one would walk through Marin County and think that it is just like San Francisco.”

Opponents of the bill, including some fellow democrats, say the bill sets Marin as an exception, and the county’s high cost of living is evidence of the need for additional affordable housing.

The affordable housing issue has been a contentious one in the county, with outcry following filmmaker George Lucas advocating affordable housing on a piece of his property, and a recall effort of Supervisor Susan Adams based in part on her support for affordable construction.