CSAC Bulletin Article

Feedback Request!
Ag, Environment and Natural Resources Bills

Please send your feedback on these bills to Cara Martinson (cmartinson@counties.org) or Betsy Hammer (bhammer@counties.org).

SB 224 (Jackson) makes changes to CEQA and would prohibit lead agencies, in determining the baseline physical conditions by which a lead agency determines whether a project has a significant effect on the environment, from considering the effects of certain actions.

AB 546 (Chiu) would require electronic submittal of a permit application and documentation, and would prohibit the calculation of a fee from being calculated based on the value of the installation or any other factor not directly associated with the cost to issue the permit and inspect the advanced energy storage installation. It would also require cities and counties with less than 200,000 residents to make all documentation and forms associated with the permitting of advanced energy storage available on a public website.

AB 1414 (Friedman) extends the applicability of the existing limit on fees to rooftop solar to all solar energy systems and would remove the repeal date. It would also revise and reduce maximum permit fees for photovoltaic and thermal systems. AB 1414 would authorize commercial permit fees that exceed charges if the city or county provides substantial evidence of the reasonable cost to issue the permit and the duration of the charge for the excess amount is not more than two years from the date of the adoption of the ordinance or resolution that first established the permit fee.

925 (Frazier) makes adjustments to the Williamson Act. It would allow cities or counties to provide for additional tax relief in addition to the valuation of the land, if the owner provides additional public benefits.

AB 851 (Caballero) expands the list of public works projects for which a local agency may utilize the design-build procurement process. This would allow certain types of special districts to utilize this option.

AB 355 (Chu) changes the definition of publicly owned treatment works serving a small community to refer only to those with a population of 20,000 or fewer or a rural county. It also requires the state board to continuously report and update info online, and would allow the regional boards to impose civil penalties of the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act. Regional Boards would need to consult with the appropriate local agency before issuing a complaint.

AB 1129 (Stone) makes changes to laws related to beach access. It establishes a presumption that shoreline protective devices create negative effects, and asserts that natural alternatives to coastal armoring exist and are cheaper. AB 1129 also expands the scope of review and approval criteria for shoreline protective devices, and would require all such structures to be consistent with all the policies of the Coastal Act. It would also make any violation “knowing and intentional.”

SCA 4 (Hertzberg) declares the intent of the Legislature to provide a program that would ensure affordable water is available to all Californians and to ensure that water conservation is given a permanent role in California’s future. While it doesn’t have much detail yet, it speaks to the goal of authorizing local agencies to set rates for consumers to encourage water conservation, prevent waste, and discourage excessive use of water, and to use fees and charges to reduce water fees, sewer fees, and charges for low-income customers.

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