CSAC Bulletin Article

Housing, Land Use and Transportation 02/25/2011

California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)

AB 890 (Olsen) – Request for Comment
As Introduced on February 17, 2011

AB 890, by Assembly Member Kristin Olsen, would exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), a roadway improvement project or activity that is undertaken by a city, county, or city and county within an existing road right-of-way for the purposes of roadway improvement that includes, but is not limited to, shoulder widening, guardrail improvement, minor drainage, culvert replacement, traffic signal modification, and safety improvements.

CSAC is requesting counties review this measure and provide feedback as soon as is practical. 

AB 890 is awaiting committee assignment. 

AB 931 (Dickinson) – Sponsor 
As Introduced on February 18, 2011

AB 931, by Assembly Member Roger Dickinson, would amend specific criteria in order to qualify for California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) exemptions for affordable infill housing development. More specifically, the proposal would make changes to three of the existing ten statutory criteria as follows:

  • Increase the maximum floor area ratio for retail in mixed-use projects from 15 percent to 35 percent;
  • Reduce minimum density from 20 to 15 units per acre; and
  • Increase from five to 20 years the life of a community-level environmental review.

Existing CEQA exemptions for affordable infill housing development in unincorporated areas are too narrow to be useful. Counties must meet ten specific criteria in order to qualify for an exemption. 

This measure does not seek to eliminate criteria that counties must currently meet for a CEQA exemption. It only seeks to level the playing field, making it easier for counties to provide much needed affordable infill housing, by making the existing county CEQA exemptions more flexible. The main goals are twofold:

  • Increase affordable housing production; and
  • Focus growth in existing urbanized areas.

This bill is necessary in order to achieve the original intent of the CEQA exemption and to provide affordable infill housing in county urbanized areas. 

CSAC is sponsoring AB 931 and is requesting counties send in letters of support to Assembly Member Dickinson. CSAC will send out a fact sheet to the CSAC Housing, Land Use, and Transportation Policy Committee to assist with this effort. 

AB 1185 (Torres) – Request for Comment
As Introduced on February 18, 2011

AB 1185, by Assembly Member Norma Torres, would, until January 1, 2015, exempt from CEQA requirements a project that consists of the alteration of a vacant retail structure that existed prior to January 1, 2008, is not more than 60,000 square feet in area, and meets specified requirements. This bill would additionally require a lead agency to provide a notice related to scoping meetings to other entities that have filed a written request for the notice. 

CSAC is requesting counties review this measure and provide feedback as soon as is practical. 

AB 1185 is awaiting committee assignment. 

SB 620 (Correa) – Request for Comment
As Introduced on February 18, 2011

SB 620, by Senator Lou Correa, would, until January 1, 2015, exempt from CEQA requirements a project that consists of the alteration of a vacant retail structure that existed prior to January 1, 2009, is not more than 120,000 square feet in area, and that meets specified requirements. The measure would also require the lead agency to provide a notice regarding scoping meetings to other entities that have filed a written request for the notice.

CSAC is requesting counties review this measure and provide feedback as soon as is practical. 

SB 620 is awaiting committee assignment. 

SB 683 (Correa) – Request for Comment
As Introduced on February 18, 2011

SB 683, by Senator Lou Correa, would, under CEQA, prohibit actions or proceedings alleging noncompliance with the requirements of CEQA, unless the oral or written presentation or objection occurs during the public comment period provided under CEQA or prior to the close of the public hearing on the project before the filing, rather than issuance, of the notice of determination.

CSAC is requesting counties review this measure and provide feedback as soon as is practical. 

SB 683 is awaiting committee assignment.

Housing

AB 679 (Allen) – Request for Comment
As Introduced on February 17, 2011

AB 679, by Assembly Member Michael Allen, would, under housing element law which requires cities and counties to assess the housing needs in their jurisdiction and inventory resources and constraints to meeting those needs, provide, that with respect to reducing a county’s housing needs share if specific conditions are met, in the case of a transfer in which a county provides funding for affordable housing construction within a city, that transfer does not have to be proportional across income categories, but may reflect the specific affordability of units that are being funded.

CSAC is requesting counties review this measure and provide feedback as soon as is practical. 

AB 679 is awaiting committee assignment. 

AB 1198 (Norby) – Request for Comment
As Introduced on February 18, 2011

AB 1198, by Assembly Member Chris Norby, would repeal the requirement that the California Department of Housing and Community Development determine the existing and projected need for housing for each region, and other specified provisions relating to the assessment or allocation of regional housing need, also known as the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) process. 

CSAC is requesting counties review this measure and provide feedback as soon as is practical. 

AB 1198 is awaiting committee assignment.

Land Use/Planning

AB 710 (Skinner) – Request for Comment
As Introduced on February 17, 2011

AB 710, by Assembly Member Nancy Skinner, would prohibit a city or county from requiring more than one parking space per residential unit and more than one parking space per 1,000 square feet of commercial or other nonresidential space for a residential or mixed-use residential project located in a transit intensive area, or subject to an adopted downtown area plan, an adopted neighborhood plan, or an adopted redevelopment project area.

CSAC is requesting counties review this measure and provide feedback as soon as is practical. 

AB 710 is awaiting committee assignment. 

AB 912 (Gordon) – Request for Comment
As Introduced on February 17, 2011

AB 912, by Assembly Member Rich Gordon, would authorize a local agency formation commission (commission), where the commission is considering a change of organization that consists of the dissolution of a district with zero sphere of influence, to immediately order the dissolution if the dissolution was initiated by the district board, or to, within 30 days following the approval of the application by the commission, hold at least one noticed public hearing on the proposal, and order the dissolution without an election, unless a majority protest exists. 

CSAC is requesting counties review this measure and provide feedback as soon as is practical. 

AB 912 is awaiting committee assignment. 

SB 469 (Vargas) – Request for Comment
As Introduced on February 18, 2011

SB 469, by Senator Juan Vargas, would require an applicant to a local government for a permit to develop a superstore, to submit to that local government an economic and community impact analysis report, including various, specified assessments, prior to the review of the permit application.

CSAC is requesting counties review this measure and provide feedback as soon as is practical. 

SB 469 is awaiting committee assignment. 

AB 1317 (Norby) – Request for Comment
As Introduced on February 18, 2011

AB 1317, by Assembly Member Chris Norby, would require, in addition to consistency with the general plan, that a redevelopment plan be consistent with any specific plan for which the community has adopted for the same territory.

CSAC is requesting counties review this measure and provide feedback as soon as is practical. 

AB 1317 is awaiting committee assignment. 

AB 1220 (Alejo) – Request for Comment
As Introduced on February 18, 2011

AB 1220, by Assembly Member Luis Alejo, would, under housing element law, authorize a notice of cause of action to be filed any time within 5 years after a legislative body’s decision to adopt or amend a zoning ordinance. The bill would declare the intent of the Legislature that its provisions modify a specified court opinion. The bill would also provide that in that specified action or proceeding, no remedy pursuant to specified provisions of law abrogate, impair, or otherwise interfere with the full exercise of the rights and protections granted to a tentative map application or a developer.

CSAC is requesting counties review this measure and provide feedback as soon as is practical. 

AB 1220 is awaiting committee assignment. 

Public Works Administration

AB 720 (Hall) – Oppose
As Introduced on February 17, 2011

AB 720, by Assembly Member Isadore Hall, would prohibit a county under the Uniform Construction Cost Account Act (Act) (Public Contract Code, Section 22031) from using County Road Commissioner authority granted under Public Contract Code, Section 20395. The measure would also increase from $30,000 to $45,000 the total cost of a project that is allowed to be performed by public agency employees. This measure is very similar to AB 1409 (Perez) from 2009 and CSAC is strongly opposed to AB 720 as it was to AB 1409 for the following reasons. 

The Act, created in 1983, allows among other things, local agencies to perform public project work up to $30,000 with its own work force if the agency elects to follow specific cost accounting procedures. In exchange for following these specific accounting procedures that provide greater accountability and transparency, local agencies have additional contracting flexibility, higher thresholds, and provides an alternative bidding procedure when an agency performs public project work by contract.

Recognizing that decades old county Road Commissioner authority (since 1935) provides county transportation departments the necessary flexibility to address local issues such as natural disasters or emergencies as well as routine maintenance, the Act allows counties to retain this critical flexibility and authority while a part of the Act.

The Act provides many benefits to counties, mainly the informal bid process, which is used by various departments in addition to county public works departments to keep projects costs to a minimum. However, Road Commissioner authority as provided for in PCC, Section 20935 is still necessary to ensure our ability to perform work on county highways in a timely, efficient, and cost-effective manner.

AB 720 would force counties under the Act to give up Road Commissioner authority in order to retain those benefits. While the approach in the bill targets the 26 counties currently under the Act, we know the long-term intent of the sponsors is to eliminate Road Commissioner authority across all 58 counties. Thus, we urge all counties to view this as an assault on counties’ ability to determine the best use of their workforce on various types of public works projects and to please send letters of strong opposition to Assembly Member Hall. CSAC staff will send counties a template letter to assist with this effort in the near future. 

AB 720 is awaiting committee assignment. 

AB 987 (Grove) – Request for Comment
As Introduced on February 18, 2011 

AB 987, by Assembly Member Shannon Grove, would, among other things, for purposes of prevailing wage, specify that workers must be employed directly at the site of the work to be deemed employed upon public work. The bill would also exempt from the prevailing wage requirements public projects of less than $100,000, rather than the existing $1,000 project cost threshold.

CSAC is requesting counties review this measure and provide feedback as soon as is practical. 

AB 987 is awaiting committee assignment. 

SB 644 (Hancock) – Request for Comment
As Introduced on February 18, 2011

SB 644, by Senator Loni Hancock, would extend the sunset date from January 1, 2012 to January 1, 2017, with respect to the exemption from prevailing wage work performed by a volunteer, a volunteer coordinator, or members of the California Conservation Corps or a community conservation corps on a public works project.

CSAC is requesting counties review this measure and provide feedback as soon as is practical. 

SB 644 is awaiting committee assignment.

Transportation

AB 892 (Carter) – Request for Comment
As Introduced on February 17, 2011

AB 892, by Assembly Member Wilmer Amina Carter, would remove the sunset date, and thereby would make permanent California’s consent to participate in the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) Pilot Project, established under the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), under which participating states assume certain responsibilities for environmental review and clearance of transportation projects that would otherwise be the responsibility of the federal government. 

CSAC is requesting counties review this measure and provide feedback as soon as is practical. 

AB 892 is awaiting committee assignment. 

SB 693 (Dutton) – Request for Comment
As Introduced on February 18, 2011

SB 693, by Senator Bob Dutton, would specify that the delegation authority to cities and counties that the Department of Transportation has with respect to power over the state highway system, includes the authority to utilize private-public partnership agreements for transportation projects. 

CSAC is requesting counties review this measure and provide feedback as soon as is practical. 

SB 693 is awaiting committee assignment.

Indian Gaming

AB 968 (Chesbro) – Request for Comment
As Introduced on February 18, 2011

AB 968, by Assembly Member Wesley Chesbro, would require all state agencies to cooperate with federally recognized California Indian tribes and also require every state agency to adopt a policy of communication and consultation with, and require the Governor to meet at least annually with elected officials of, California Indian tribes, regardless of whether a tribe qualifies as a federally recognized California Indian tribe.

CSAC is requesting counties review this measure and provide feedback as soon as is practical. 

AB 968 is awaiting committee assignment.

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