Housing, Land Use and Transportation 03/09/2012
California Environmental Quality Act
SB 984 (Simitian) – Pending
As Introduced on January 30, 2012
SB 984, by Senator Joe Simitian, would, under the California Environmental Quality Act, require the lead agency, at the request of a project applicant, to prepare a record of proceedings concurrently with the preparation and certification of an EIR. All documents and other materials placed in the record of proceedings would be required to be posted on, and be downloadable from, an internet web site maintained by the lead agency commencing with the date of the release of the draft environmental impact report. The lead agency would be required to make available to the public in a readily accessible electronic format the draft environmental impact report and all other documents submitted to, or relied on by, the lead agency in the preparation of the draft environmental impact report. Additionally, a document prepared by the lead agency or submitted by the applicant after the date of the release of the draft environmental impact report that is a part of the record of the proceedings would be required to be made available to the public in a readily accessible electronic format within five business days after the document is released or received by the lead agency. Finally, the lead agency shall certify the record of proceedings within five days of its approval of the project.
CSAC, along with other stakeholders, has been working with the author to address concerns raised by numerous counties. We expect the bill to be amended prior to the first scheduled hearing to increase the timeline for preparation of the record of proceedings from 5 days to 30 days. Further, the bill will include specific fee language to ensure the lead agency can recover all costs involved. SB 984 will also include language to limit the application of these provisions to specific projects (i.e. statewide and regional significance, etc.) unless there is consent of the lead agency. There are several additional amendments pending. We will be seeking input to ensure these amendments address county concerns.
This bill is in response to requests to apply the AB 900 (Chapter , Statutes of 2011) and SB 292 (Chapter , Statutes of 2011) provisions related to judicial review and record of proceedings to all public works projects. SB 984 is scheduled for hearing on March 19 before the Senate Environmental Quality Committee.
AB 1549 (Gatto) – Request for Comment
As Introduced on January 25, 2012
AB 1549, by Assembly Member Mike Gatto, would, among other things, require the Office of Permit Assistance (Office) to provide information to developers explaining the permit approval process at the state and local levels, or assisting them in meeting statutory environmental quality requirements, and would prohibit the Office or the State from incurring any liability as a result of the provision of this assistance. The bill would require the Office to assist state and local agencies in streamlining the permit approval process, and an applicant in identifying any permit required by a state agency for the proposed project. The bill would authorize the Office to call a conference of parties at the state level to resolve questions or mediate disputes arising from a permit application for a development project.
This bill would also require the Office to develop guidelines providing technical assistance to local agencies for the establishment and operation of an expedited development permit process, and would require the guidelines to contain specified components. The bill would also require the Office, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to provide grants and technical assistance to cities, counties, and cities and counties for the establishment of an expedited development permit process according to the guidelines. The bill would further require a city or county that receives a grant to enact an ordinance adopting an expedited development permit process according to the guidelines within 10 months of the date of receipt of the grant.
Further, this bill would also require the Office, in consultation with the Natural Resources Agency and the California Environmental Protection Agency, to develop a consolidated project information form to be used by applicants for commercial or industrial development projects. The bill would require the form to collect sufficient information to allow the Office to determine the state agencies that have permitting requirements applicable to the development project for which the form was submitted. This bill would authorize the Office to charge the applicant fees for the above-described services, not to exceed the estimated reasonable cost of their provision, and would require the Office to adopt or amend regulations to provide for these fees prior to charging or levying them.
The bill would require a city, county with a population of 100,000 or more, upon the request of an applicant, to designate an administrative entity to serve as the applicant’s single point of contact with the local agency with respect to all applications and permits required by the local agency for the applicant’s commercial or industrial development project. The administrative entity would be required to provide the applicant information regarding the status of, and to coordinate the review and decision-making process with respect to, the applications and permits required by the local agency for the development project.
The bill would require the administrative entity, upon the request of the applicant, to coordinate with the Office regarding any applications or permits required by the state for the development project. The bill would authorize a city, county, or city and county to charge a fee to defray costs incurred by the administrative entity in providing the above-described services to the applicant.
AB 1549 is scheduled for a hearing before the Assembly Local Government Committee on March 21.