Housing, Land Use and Transportation
Crunch Time as We Close in on End of Session
AB 516 (Mullin) – Support
As amended on July 16, 2015
Assembly Bill 516, by Assembly Member Kevin Mullin, would require
the Department of Motor Vehicles to create a process to issue
temporary license plates by January 1, 2018, and requires dealers
to attach TLPs to all unplated vehicles when they are sold
beginning January 1, 2018. The bill would address an issue in
current law that allows thousands of vehicles to drive on our
roads with no license plate, creating a public safety hazard and
reducing toll revenue by $15 million per year as a result of
vehicles without plates using toll roads and bridges without
Electronic toll payment collection systems rely upon a photo of the vehicle’s license plate for enforcement. Without a plate, vehicles are able to use toll lanes and toll bridges without much fear of getting caught. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission, for example, estimates that it loses $9 million annually in unpaid tolls, with statewide losses of $15 million. CSAC supports this common sense measure to improve public safety and ensure that toll revenues can be collected.
AB 516 will be heard on August 24 in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
ACA 4 (Frazier) – Support
As amended on August 17, 2105
Assembly Constitutional Amendment 4, by Assembly Member Jim Frazier, would provide that the imposition, extension, or increase of a special tax by a local government for local transportation projects requires the approval of fifty-five percent of the voters. While twenty counties, which comprise over eighty percent of the state’s population, have already adopted local transportation revenue measures, many other counties aspire to raise additional revenue to fund priority transportation projects. Initial estimates show that if voters in each of these additional counties approved a quarter-cent sales tax measure, they would generate approximately $300 million in new local transportation revenues. CSAC supports this measure, because in addition to helping counties institute new “self-help” measures, it would also facilitate the extension of expiring transportation funding measures, while still maintaining the high bar of super-majority voter approval.
ACA 4 is on the Senate Appropriations Committee suspense file, which will be acted on by the Committee on August 27.
SB 321 (Beall) – Support
As amended on August 18, 2015
Senate Bill 321, by Senator Jim Beall, would make a technical adjustment to the gas tax swap to reduce revenue volatility. The Board of Equalization is charged with setting the rate of the gasoline excise tax to ensure that it generates the same amount of revenue of the former sales tax. The current process for setting the rate is susceptible to rapid changes due to fluctuations in the price of gasoline. CSAC supports SB 321 because it will incorporate historical prices during the rate-setting process, which will smooth out revenues while maintaining revenue neutrality with the former sales tax beginning in the 2016-17 fiscal year. The bill would also allow a mid-year adjustment if prices differ drastically from prior estimates.
While this issue would also be addressed by Senator Bills SBX1 1, CSAC and our coalition partners continue to support this regular session bill to ensure that the issue of the volatility of the price-based excise tax revenues is addressed this year.
SB 321 will be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on August 26.
AB 35 (Chiu) – Support
As amended on May 20, 2015
Assembly Bill 35, by Assembly Member David Chiu, would increase
the state’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit by $300 million. The
LIHTC program is used for the construction and rehabilitation of
affordable housing units across the state. The increase in the
state investment would leverage an additional $600 million in
federal tax credits and federal tax-exempt bonds.
AB 35 is on the Senate Appropriations Committee suspense file, which will be acted on by the Committee on August 27.
Land Use and Planning
AB 57 (Quirk) – Oppose
As amended on August 18, 2015
Assembly Bill 57, by Assembly Member Bill Quirk, would deem approved any application for colocation or siting of a new wireless telecommunications facility if a city or county fails to approve or disapprove the application within time periods that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established for colocation and siting applications. Under the FCC rule, local governments were given 90 days to respond to colocation applications and 150 days for siting applications. Unlike AB 57, the FCC’s 90/150-day rule only provided wireless telecommunications carriers with a rebuttable presumption to be used in court if a local agency failed to act in a timely manner.
CSAC opposes AB 57 because it goes beyond the requirements of federal law and regulations, limits the ability of local agencies to review projects, and may perversely result in more permit denials if adequate review cannot be completed within the prescribed timeframes. Moreover, CSAC feels that the wireless industry has failed to demonstrate that delays in siting or co-locating these facilities are primarily due to failure by local agencies to expeditiously process permits, which calls into question the necessity of the bill.
AB 57 is on the Third Reading File on the Senate floor.
AB 325 (Wood) – Support
As amended on July 1, 2015
Assembly Bill 325, by Assembly Member Jim Wood, would make changes to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program application process for non-entitlement counties. Specifically, the bill would require that no later than 60 days after the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) notifies an applicant that their CDBG application has been approved, HCD must enter into a grant agreement with the applicant unless the federal government of the Legislature makes significant changes to the program. It would also require HCD, when it enters into a grant agreement with an applicant, to provide the applicant with a complete and final list of all of the activities the applicant must complete in order to receive a disbursement of funds pursuant to the agreement. Changes to the list would be allowed if the applicant changes the original application or the Legislature or federal government requires changes. Finally, within 30 days after the receipt of a request for the disbursement of funds from a grantee, HCD must either notify the grantee that HCD has approved disbursement of the funds, or provide the applicant with a complete and final list of all of the remaining activities the applicant must complete in order for HCD to approve disbursement of the funds.
CSAC supports this measure, which would improve transparency and accountability in the administration of the Community Development Block Grant program for California’s “non-entitlement” counties. AB 325 is on the Assembly floor for concurrence in the Senate’s amendments before being sent to the Governor.
AB 514 (Williams) – Support
As amended on July 15, 2015
AB 514, by Assembly Member Das Williams, would provide that a city or county could impose fines for violators of land use codes that are proportional to the magnitude of the violation. Specifically, violations of a local building and safety ordinance, brush removal ordinance, grading ordinance, film permit ordinance, or zoning ordinance determined to be an infraction would be subject to graduated fines for each subsequent violation of the same ordinance within five years based on the severity of the threat to public safety. Violations of any of these ordinances for which permit fees were required would result in fines not to exceed $5,000 or three times the permit fee for a first violation, $10,000 or five times the permit fee for a second violation, and $10,000 to $15,000 for a third or subsequent violation within five years of the first violation. For violations where a permit fee would not have been required, the fines would be capped at $1,000, $2,500, and $5,000, respectively. An initial violation, however, would be capped at a fine of $500 unless the fine would not impose an undue financial hardship on the person responsible and the violation was willful or resulted in an unusual or significant threat to public safety and health.
CSAC supports offering counties additional tools to ensure public safety, especially since the currently authorized maximum allowable fine amounts for these violations have proven insufficient to deter violators of land use enforcement codes in many counties.
AB 514 is on the Third Reading File on the Senate floor.
AB 779 (Garcia) – Request for Comments
As amended on August 19, 2015
Assembly Bill 779, by Assembly Member Cristina Garcia, was substantially amended this week. The amended bill would revise the definition of an “infill opportunity zone” to not require that it be within a specified distance of a major transit stop or high-quality transit corridor. Moreover, the bill would revise the requirements for a congestion management program by removing traffic level of service (LOS) standards established for a system of highways and roadways as a required element and instead requiring measures of effectiveness for a system of highways and roadways. The bill would also require the program to analyze the relationship between local land use decisions and regional transportation systems, instead of analyzing impacts of the land use decisions on the transportation systems. The bill would delete existing law’s prohibition on including an estimate of the costs of mitigating the impacts of interregional travel and the requirement that the program provide credit for local public and private contributions to improvements to regional transportation systems. The bill would also require, to the extent the program identifies capacity enhancements, the evaluation of the potential for capacity enhancement to induce additional travel.
CSAC is still reviewing the amendments to the bill, which has been referred to the Committee on Rules, but is likely to be heard in the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee in the near future. We encourage counties to review the revised bill and provide feedback as soon as possible.
AB 1236 (Chiu) – Oppose
As amended on April 20, 2015
AB 1236, by Assembly Member David Chiu, would mandate all 58 counties and 482 cities adopt an ordinance to create a new expedited permitting and inspection process for electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. Specifically, this bill would require cities and counties with over 200,000 residents to adopt an ordinance by September 30, 2016 that creates an expedited and streamlined permitting process for EV charging stations that also includes a checklist of all requirements with which EV charging stations shall comply to be eligible for expedited review. Smaller jurisdictions would have an additional year to complete the ordinance. Further, AB 1236 would require every city and county to approve the installation of EV charging stations unless the city or county makes written findings, based on substantial evidence in the record, that the proposed installation would have an adverse impact upon the public health or safety and that those impacts cannot be mitigated.
CSAC opposes this overly-broad and prescriptive measure, which would require the costly and time-consuming adoption of a local ordinance. We are concerned that the approach will not allow for consideration of unique local circumstances, nor applications that may be more complicated than the installation of a single charging station. For instance, a station with multiple charging outlets that qualifies as a public accommodation may have accessibility issues and implications related to parking standards or other local ordinances.
AB 1236 is on the Third Reading File on the Senate floor.