Housing, Land Use and Transportation 06/28/2013
AB 325 (Alejo) – Oppose
As Amended on May 29, 2013
AB 325, by Assembly Member Luis Alejo, would expand the statute of limitations to sue a county or city, challenging the adoption of a housing element or a number of related local ordinances.
CSAC opposed previous efforts to expand the statute of limitations as it leaves local agencies, business, and developers unfairly open to uncertainty long after decisions have been made. Working with the American Planning Association, Rural County Representatives of California, and the League of California Cities, we have now offered four different approaches to a compromise that would either provide an additional alternative to challenge the adequacy of a housing element or provide additional time to notify an agency of potential issues with a housing element while not extending the overall statute of limitations to an unreasonable and unnecessary length of time.
AB 325 was passed out of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on June 25 by a vote of 7 to 3. A number of Senators spoke out in favor of a compromise solution to remove CSAC and other local government and planning opposition, noting that a three plus year statute of limitations is just too long to leave counties and cities in limbo. We are continuing meetings with the author and sponsors this week to come to a final compromise on the measure.
AB 1229 (Atkins) – Support
As Introduced on February 22, 2013
AB 1229, by Assembly Member Toni Atkins, would restore an essential tool to counties for planning and providing their fair share of the housing need for lower-income residents in the state. Specifically, the measure restores a county’s ability to establish inclusionary zoning programs.
Counties have always had the authority to adopt local inclusionary housing ordinances. However, in a 2009 appellate court decision, Palmer/Sixth Street Properties L.P. v. City of Los Angeles, 175 Cal. App. 4th 1396 (2009), the courts took a very broad interpretation of the Costa-Hawkins Act and its application on inclusionary housing ordinances, eliminating a city or county’s authority to require inclusionary housing. Costa-Hawkins was intended to restrict systems of rent control, not preclude rent restrictions on inclusionary housing.
The state is still facing a shortage of decent rental housing affordable to low-income Californians. It is critical that counties be able to establish proactive programs to help provide safe, clean, and affordable housing statewide to meet the critical demand.
AB 1229 is set for hearing before the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on July 3.
SB 510 (Jackson) – Support
As Amended on April 30, 2013
SB 510, by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, would clarify existing law governing the conversion of mobile home parks from rental to resident owned. Specifically, the measure would require local agencies to consider the results of surveys of mobile home park residents when deciding to approve, conditionally approve, or disprove a subdivision. Further, it gives counties and cities the authority to disprove a subdivision if at least a majority of the park’s residents do not support the conversion indicated through the survey.
Mobile homes are an important source of affordable housing in California – with approximately 5,000 parks statewide. Many local jurisdictions impose rent controls to ensure mobile homes remain affordable to those on fixed-incomes, such as seniors and working families. The state is still facing a shortage of decent housing affordable to low-income Californians and this measure would provide that mobile home residents have a voice in conversion proposals as well as clarifying the powers of local agencies in the subdivision process.
SB 510 was passed out of the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee on June 19 by a vote of 5 to 2. The measure now awaits a hearing before the Assembly Local Government Committee.
AB 116 (Bocanegra) – Support
As Amended on May 16, 2013
AB 116, by Assembly Member Raul Bocanegra, would provide an automatic 24-month extension for subdivision maps that were approved on or after January 1, 2000 and have not yet expired. For maps approved before January 1, 2000 (maps over 13 years old), the subdivider will follow the following local process for approval of the extension:
The subdivider will be required to file an application with the
local agency at least 90 days prior to the expiration of the
If the local agency determines that the map is consistent with applicable zoning and general plan requirements in effect when the application is filed, the time at which the map expires will be extended by 24 months.
If the local agency determines that the map is not consistent with applicable zoning and general plan requirements in effect when the application is filed, the agency may deny or conditionally approve a 24-month extension.
Upon application, the map will automatically be extended for 60 days or until the application for the extension is approved, conditionally approved, or denied, whichever occurs last.
If the advisory agency denies a subdivider’s application for an extension, the subdivider would be allowed to appeal to the legislative body within 15 days after the advisory agency has denied the extension.
AB 116 was pulled from the Senate Appropriations Committee agenda
(set for on June 24) and was sent directly to the Senate Floor
where it is currently awaiting a vote by the entire
AB 683 (Mullin) – Support
As Amended on May 16, 2013
AB 683, by Assembly Member Kevin Mullin, 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 683 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 683 is set for hearing before the Senate Governance and Finance Committee on July 3.
Public Works Administration
AB 195 (Hall) – Co-Sponsor
As Amended on May 20, 2013
AB 195, by Assembly Member Isadore Hall, would extend the sunset date on existing design-build authority granted to counties until July 1, 2016.
Approximately nine counties have used the design-build method for project delivery for a variety of projects ranging from parking facilities to parks and recreation projects to fire stations. Counties and tax payers in general, benefit from the use of design-build authority due to cost savings produced by this method of project delivery. Furthermore, given the continued difficult economic times across the State, local agencies need maximum flexibility to delivery projects based on their expertise in choosing the right delivery method.
AB 195 was passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee on June 24 by a vote of 6 to 0. The measure now awaits action on the Senate Floor.
SB 328 (Knight) – Support
As Amended on April 9, 2013
SB 328, by Senator Stephen Knight, would, until January 1, 2021, allow a county, with approval of the Board of Supervisors, to use construction manager at-risk construction contracts for erecting, constructing, altering, repairing, or improving buildings owned or leased by the county. Eligible public works projects would cost in excess of $1 million and the measure would allow a county to award the construction manager at-risk construction contract using either the lowest responsible bidder or best value method.
A construction manager at-risk contract is a competitively procured contract with an entity that guarantees the cost of a project and furnishes construction management services, including, but not limited to, preparation and coordination of bid packages, scheduling, cost control, value engineering, evaluation, preconstruction services and construction administration. The construction manager at-risk is a tool afforded other public entities such as cities, the courts, and the university system. It is a well-tested alternative which combines elements of the design-bid-build and design-build methods and allows the owner of a project to retain a construction manager who provides pre-construction services during the design period and becomes the general contractor during the construction process.
Local agencies need maximum flexibility to delivery projects based on their expertise in choosing the right delivery method. This bill would provide counties another tool in the project delivery toolbox and increases the ability for counties to use their expertise and discretion to choose the best method for delivering large public works projects. Counties and tax payers in general benefit from the cost-savings associated with the use of construction manager at-risk procurement method.
SB 328 was passed out of the Assembly Accountability and Administrative Review Committee on June 19 by a unanimous vote. The measure now awaits a hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
AB 14 (Lowenthal) – Support
As Amended on May 6, 2013
AB 14, by Assembly Member Bonnie Lowenthal, would require the Transportation Agency (Agency) to convene a Freight Advisory Committee to assist with the development of a State Freight Plan that guides the immediate and long-range planning activities and capital investments for the movement of freight.
AB 14 requires the Freight Advisory Committee to consist of a broad group of stakeholders including representatives of ports, shippers, carriers, freight industry associations and workforce, state departments and commissions, environmental, safety, and community organizations, and local governments. As owners and operators of a significant share of the State’s surface transportation network, which the freight industry and the people of California rely on for the movement of goods, CSAC offers our technical expertise, practical experience, and policy support to you, the Agency, and the Freight Advisory Committee in this endeavor.
With every aspect of the State’s transportation network underfunded and in need of new revenues, it is critical that the transportation community develop plans to protect and improve our existing infrastructure and employ new technologies and strategies for the most efficient and effective movement of freight and use of the transportation system.
AB 14 was passed out of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on June 18 by a unanimous vote. The measure is now scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee on July 1.
AB 755 (Ammiano) – Oppose
As Introduced on February 21, 2013
AB 755, by Assembly Member Tom Ammiano, would require a city or county to take into consideration the need for a suicide barrier during the planning process for a bridge reconstruction or construction project in order to be eligible for specified federal and state funds. Unfortunately, we find that the measure is unnecessary as cities and counties already consider the need for infrastructure type suicide barriers on the reconstruction and new construction of local bridges, would actually create a new liability should this bill be enacted, and puts in jeopardy transportation funding critical to many other local infrastructure projects and programs. Our specific concerns with the measure include:
Undefined mandate. The term “take into account” is undefined in the measure. Does the bill require a formal study, checking off a box within an otherwise typical planning document, demonstrating evidence to support a decision regarding the need, or lack thereof, for a suicide barrier or does it simply require an undocumented judgment call by the county or city engineer?
Creates a new liability. While it is generally true that a city or county is not liable for suicides under current law, should this legislation go into effect plaintiffs’ attorneys will argue that it creates a mandatory duty to “take into account” installation of a suicide barrier and if a suicide barrier is not installed or one that is installed is not the “best” one available, there could be lawsuits alleging cities and counties violated a mandatory duty. In addition, the claim that a bridge without a suicide barrier (or without the “best” suicide barrier) constitutes a dangerous condition to public property will be given new viability if this legislation goes into effect.
Jeopardizes transportation funds used for other important infrastructure. Without a clear process to demonstrate compliance with the mandate, cities and counties risk losing access to transportation infrastructure funds that are used for a variety of types of important projects including safety, complete streets, and the maintenance and preservation of the local street and road system. The recent 2012 California Statewide Local Streets and Roads Needs Assessment found that approximately 55% of the nearly 12,000 local bridges will soon need rehabilitation or replacement. If funding is jeopardized and projects are delayed, the wellbeing of people and communities will be put at risk. Moreover, the various federal and state revenue streams are allocated by several different state departments and regional agencies making implementation difficult. To what department or agency would a city or county need to appeal to in order to access funds? This bill has the potential to stop allocation of federal and state revenues to a city or county that fails to demonstrate compliance with an undefined mandate.
Statewide application for a handful of localized problems. Finally, cities and counties already consider the need for suicide barriers in existing planning, design, and engineering processes. Even if local agencies were not considering suicide prevention in existing planning processes, the proposed solution has statewide application but it is really attempting to address a much more localized problem. Specifically, the fact sheet calls out the Golden Gate Bridge in the City and County of San Francisco, the San Diego-Coronado Bridge in San Diego County, Cold Spring Canyon Bridge in Santa Barbara County, the Colorado Street Bridge in Los Angeles County, and the Foresthill Bridge in Placer County. While the high incidence of suicides on these handful of bridges is tragic, an overwhelming majority of the over 12,000 locally owned bridges do not have this issue. For instance, many locally owned bridges are low to the ground/water (with less than a 15-20 foot drop) making suicide unlikely or infeasible. Suicide barriers will not have an effect on these small bridges. Rather, this bill should focus on how to address the bridges that have an incidence of suicide.
CSAC has been working with the author’s office since May to develop a compromise proposal that would meet the intent of the author’s measure but is implementable from the local perspective and does not create new and unnecessary liability. It is unclear at the time of this writing whether we will reach an agreement before the next policy committee hearing.
AB 755 is set for hearing before the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on July 3.