CSAC Bulletin Article

Major Housing and Transportation Legislation Continues to Advance

This week, the Assembly approved by-right affordable housing legislation by Assemblymember Wicks and a bill authored by Assemblymember Robert Rivas to create new “shot-clocks” for review and approval of housing “post-entitlement” phase permits. The Assembly also narrowly passed two transportation bills opposed by CSAC.

Housing Permitting and Planning

Assembly Bill 2011 (Wicks) – By-right housing on commercial zones/parking lots – Pending

AB 2011 would require qualifying 100% affordable housing projects to be approved by-right through a ministerial process on specified sites located on “commercial corridors.” Commercial corridors would be defined as a highway (including a local road), that is not a freeway, and that has a right-of-way of at least 70 and not greater than 150 feet. The allowable size of the project would be based on the width of the right of way. The applicable sites are those located in a zone “where office, retail, or parking are a principally permitted use.”

CSAC has yet to take a position on the bill. We are interested in any feedback from counties by Friday, June, 10.

Assembly Bill 2234 (R. Rivas) housing: post-entitlement permits – OPPOSE

AB 2234 would require local governments to quickly review and approve “post-entitlement” permits for residential development projects, including building permits and all other approvals following land use entitlements. Specifically:

  • 15-day reviews of post-entitlement permits for completeness.
  • 30- or 60-day timeframes for approval of permits, depending on whether the development exceeds 25 residential units.
  • For counties with populations of at least 250,000 (and all cities within those counties) an online permitting process is required by January 1, 2024.

CSAC currently has an “oppose” position. We have requested removal of the online permitting requirements and a process to exclude all permits not defined as “minor and standard.”

Transportation Projects

Assembly Bill 2237 (Friedman) – Regional transportation planning: climate goals – OPPOSE

AB 2237 is based on the conclusions of the AB 285 report and would require a regional transportation planning agency or county transportation commission to rank projects in its Regional Transportation Improvement Program based on “adherence” to the state’s climate goals and its most recent Sustainable Community Strategy (SCS). It would also require the California Air Resources Board, in consultation with the California Transportation Commission, to review each project in the regional list for adherence to the state’s climate goals or most recent SCS.

CSAC has major concerns with this measure, which takes an overly prescriptive approach that strips away regional and local flexibility to meet the greenhouse gas emission reduction targets expected under SB 375 (Steinberg, 2008). Moreover, we are concerned that many projects sponsored by counties—including safety projects or others that do not increase driving—would not be ranked competitively compared to city projects in the urban core.

CSAC currently holds an “oppose” position on this measure. Our position letter is available here. We encourage counties to consider taking a position on the bill prior to Senate policy committee hearings.

Assembly Bill 2438 (Friedman) – Transportation funding: alignment with state plans – OPPOSE UNLESS AMENDED

AB 2438 would require specified state transportation programs to align with state climate plans and goals and require the California Transportation Plan to be fiscally constrained. This bill would retroactively impose new requirements on vitally important Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Account and Highway User Tax Account funding that local governments receive pursuant to SB 1 (Beall, 2017) for local street and road maintenance as well as safety and active transportation projects.

AB 2438 would also give the Administration unprecedented levels of control in setting priorities that apply to a broad array of transportation funding programs, both competitive and formula based, by requiring consistency with the Governor’s Climate Action Plan for Transportation Infrastructure (CAPTI). Counties will recall that the CAPTI was developed explicitly to apply to the state’s discretionary transportation funding, exclusive of local formula funding, including SB 1 formula funds.

CSAC continues to hold an “oppose unless amended” position on this measure. Our detailed position letter to the Assembly Appropriations Committee is available here and this week’s floor alert is available here. Briefly, the amendments sought by CSAC would:

1. Remove local streets and roads formula funding (Sections 7, 8 and 9) from the new transportation goals framework established by AB 2438. This funding is already being used for fix-it-first investments, safety, and complete streets projects at the local level, and there is regular project-level reporting on expenditures. There is no need for the additional process in the bill.

2. Focus the new transportation goals framework on the California Transportation Plan (as modified by AB 2438 to include fiscal constraints), which considers maintenance needs, climate, safety, and other important transportation goals. Remove the references to the Climate Action Plan for Transportation Infrastructure (CAPTI), which has no underlying statutory authorization and which the Administration developed to explicitly exclude local formula funding.

3. Rather than creating new bureaucratic processes, continue to rely on SB 375 (Steinberg, 2008) and CEQA, which includes requirements to analyze and mitigate vehicle miles travelled related to transportation projects, to ensure project-level consistency with state climate goals.

We encourage counties to review the measure and consider taking a position prior to Senate policy committee hearings.

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