CSAC Bulletin Article

Housing, Land Use and Transportation 04/08/2011

California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) 

SB 226 (Simitian) – Request for Comment
As Introduced on February 9, 2011

SB 226, by Senator Joe Simitian, would, under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), revise the scoping procedures by authorizing referral of a proposed action to adopt or substantially amend a general plan to a city or county under Government Code §65352 to be conducted concurrently with the scoping meeting, and authorizes the city or county to submit its comments at the scoping meeting.

SB 226 is set for hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee on April 11. 

Housing

AB 208 (Fuentes) – Support
As Amended on April 7, 2011

AB 208, by Assembly Member Felipe Fuentes, would extend by another 24 months the expiration date of any approved tentative map or vesting tentative map that has not expired as of the effective date of the bill, and will expire prior to January 1, 2014. The bill also includes the truncated language that reduces from five years to three years, the period of time during which cities and counties are prohibited from placing conditions on the issuance of any building permit, and authorizes permit fees.

AB 208 was passed out of the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee on April 6 by a unanimous vote. The measure is now set for hearing before the Assembly Appropriations Committee on April 13. 

Land Use

AB 129 (Beall) – Support
As Introduced on January 11, 2011

AB 129, by Assembly Member Jim Beall, would authorize a city or county to specially assess any fines or penalties not paid after demand by the city or county against the owner of real property whom owes fines or penalties. The fines and penalties may be collected at the same time and in the same manner as regularly county taxes thereby avoiding additional time consuming and costly new procedures. Finally, the measure would also authorize a local agency to appoint a hearing officer to hear and decide issues regarding ordinance violations and the imposition of administrative fines and penalties.

Local agencies can have code enforcement violation cases drag on for years. The changes proposed by AB 129 would provide cities and counties an additional tool for recouping fines and penalties owed to the local agency and streamlines the existing code enforcement process.

AB 129 was passed out of the Assembly Local Government Committee on April 6 by a vote of 6 to 3. The measure is now awaiting action on the Assembly Floor. 


AB 147 (Dickinson) – Sponsor
As Amended on April 4, 2011

AB 147, by Assembly Member Roger Dickinson, would expand existing eligible uses for transportation mitigation impact fees charged under the Subdivisions Map Act for transit, bicycle, and pedestrian facilities.

The Subdivision Map Act (Government Code, Section 66484) authorizes cities and counties to charge developer fees to defray the costs of infrastructure improvements to support development projects. Current law limits the use of these fees for the mitigation of traffic impacts to bridges and major thoroughfares.

Statewide efforts, such as SB 375 and the development of regional sustainable communities strategies, encourage more compact growth and infill development in cities, existing urban cores, and urban unincorporated areas. 

There are many impediments to infill development; a primary issue is the cost of the necessary infrastructure improvements. Infill development projects can also require different types of transportation mitigation projects than the typical roadway or bridge improvement. 

Often times a city or county cannot add new or widen existing roads and/or bridges to support new development projects in built-our or nearly built-out urban areas. However, a city or county could mitigate the transportation impacts with other modal improvements such as adding or improving transit facilities such as bus turnouts and stops, bicycle lanes, and/or safe pedestrian paths. This is also consistent with statewide complete streets goals. 

Existing limitations on eligible uses limit local agencies from encouraging infill development. This measure seeks to provide cities and counties with the tools necessary to build required infrastructure to support infill development by expanding the allowable uses for transportation mitigation impact fees. These changes are consistent with statewide directives for infill development, transit-oriented development, more compact growth, and complete streets.

AB 147 is set for hearing before the Assembly Local Government Committee on April 13.

Transportation 

AB 296 (Skinner) – Request for Comment
As Amended on March 31, 2011

AB 296, by Assembly Member Nancy Skinner, would establish the Cool Pavements Research and Implementation Act and would require the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), in consultation with specified state agencies, to implement the act. The bill would require Caltrans to adopt a strategy, through a public process, to implement the act and, by January 1, 2015, to adopt by regulation a Cool Pavements Handbook to detail testing protocols, standards, and best practices. The bill would require the department to implement one or more cool pavement pilot projects, with the goal of completion of the pilot projects no later than January 1, 2018, and to submit a report to the Legislature with an analysis of the various costs of pavement surfaces and the results of the cool pavement pilot projects. The bill would direct the department, on and after January 1, 2018, to require a state paving project, as defined, to include a cool pavement surface that complies with the Cool Pavements Handbook for not less than 75% of the total project pavement surface area.

AB 296 is set for hearing before the Assembly Transportation Committee on April 11. 


AB 345 (Atkins) – Request for Comment
As Amended on April 4, 2011

AB 345, by Assembly Member Toni Atkins, would require Caltrans to consult with groups representing users of streets, roads, and highways, in addition to local agencies, when adopting rules and regulations prescribing uniform standards and specifications for official traffic control devices. The bill would require any advisory group or committee organized by Caltrans for the purpose of advising the department to include other users and would define other users to include bicyclists, children, persons with disabilities, motorists, movers of commercial goods, pedestrians, users of public transportation, and seniors. 

AB 345 is set for hearing before the Assembly Transportation Committee on April 11. 


AB 516 (V. Manuel Perez) – Request for Comment
As Introduced on February 15, 2011

AB 516, by Assembly Member V. Manuel Perez, would, under implementation of the Safe Routes to School program for the construction of bicycle and pedestrian safety and traffic calming projects, require a specified public participation process, with involvement by the public, schools, parents, teachers, local agencies, the business community, key professionals, and others, which identifies community priorities and ensures those priorities are reflected in the proposal, and secures support for the proposal by relevant community stakeholders. Existing law requires Caltrans to consult with these groups. The measure would also add another factor in rating grant proposals relating to benefit of a proposal to a disadvantaged community.

AB 516 is set for hearing before the Assembly Transportation Committee on April 11. 


AB 529 (Gatto) – Request for Comment 
As Amended on March 24, 2011

AB 529, by Assembly Member Mike Gatto, would allow a local authority to round speed limits down to within 10 kilometers per hour or 5 miles per hour of the 85th-percentile speed of free-flowing traffic in cases in which the speed would otherwise be rounded up, except that in those cases the local authority would be prohibited from petitioning Caltrans to reduce the speed limit by an additional 10 kilometers per hour or 5 miles per hour.

AB 529 is set for hearing before the Assembly Transportation Committee on April 11.


AB 1134 (Bonilla) – Request for Comment
As Amended on March 21, 2011

AB 1134, by Assembly Member Susan Bonilla, would authorize Caltrans to prepare project study reports for any project on the state highway system. The bill would require project study reports to include specified project-related factors, including, among other things, cost estimates, schedule, and other information deemed necessary to form a sound basis for commitment of future state funding and project delivery. The bill would require an entity performing a project study report to reimburse Caltrans for the cost of reviewing and approving a report for projects that are not in an adopted regional transportation plan, a voter-approved county sales tax measure expenditure plan, or another voter-approved transportation program. The bill would authorize a local entity to
request the department to prepare a project study report for a state highway project that is being proposed for inclusion in a future state transportation improvement program or for funding from a regional or local funding source and would authorize the local entity to prepare the report at its own expense if the department determines that it cannot complete the report. The bill would require open and continuous communication between the department, a local entity requesting a project study report, and the regional transportation planning agency or county transportation commission. The bill would require the department, in consultation with representatives of cities, counties,
regional transportation planning agencies, and county congestion management agencies, to prepare draft revised guidelines for the preparation of project study reports, as specified, and would require the department to submit the draft revised guidelines to the California Transportation Commission by July 1, 2012. The bill would require the
California Transportation Commission to adopt final guidelines by October 1, 2012, and would make the guidelines applicable to project study reports upon adoption of the guidelines.

AB 1134 is set for hearing before the Assembly Transportation Committee on April 11. 


AB 1308 (Miller) – Support
As Introduced on February 18, 2011

AB 1308, by Assembly Member Jeff Miller, would ensure that Highway User Tax Account (HUTA) funds continue to flow to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), public transportation agencies, and cities and counties in the absence of an adopted state budget. Specifically, under the provisions of the measure, counties will not experience delays in transportation funding that have plagued local governments over the past few budget cycles causing project delays and potential lay-offs across the state. 

HUTA funds are the most critical county transportation revenue stream for the maintenance and preservation of the local streets and roads system for the efficient and safe mobility of its users. This funding is even more critical since the enactment of the transportation tax swap in which the sales tax on gasoline was eliminated and replaced with an equal amount of excise tax. With this new scheme, transportation funding for counties is practically entirely made up of HUTA revenue. For these reasons, CSAC supports your AB 1308. 

AB 1308 is set for hearing before the Assembly Transportation Committee on April 11. 

Indian Gaming

AB 742 (Nestande) – Request for Comment
As Amended on March 31, 2011

AB 742, by Assembly Member Brian Nestande, would, when implementing local community grants for the mitigation of casino impacts under the Special Distribution Fund, require each grant application to clearly show how the grant will mitigate the impact of the casino on the grant applicant. The measure would also require each Indian Gaming Local Community Benefit Committee to adopt and approve a Conflict of Interest Code pursuant to these provisions. The bill would require any existing Conflict of Interest Code to be reviewed and amended as necessary to bring it into compliance with these requirements.

AB 742 is set for hearing before the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee on April 13.

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