CSAC Bulletin Article

Update on Key Housing, Land Use, Transportation, and Tribal Relations Bills

July 15, 2021

The summary below includes active housing, land use, transportation, and tribal relations bills for which CSAC has taken a formal position. The Legislature will adjourn for Summer Recess today after spending the last few weeks holding policy committee hearings to meet the July 14 deadline for bills to be passed by policy committees. The Legislature will reconvene on Monday, August 16. In the meantime, CSAC staff will continue to work with legislative staff to address our remaining issues on measures listed below.

There are several more two-year bills with active positions that are not currently advancing. The full list of HLT bills with active and pending positions is available here. Please email Marina Espinoza with any feedback, questions, or concerns on any of these bills.

Housing and Land Use

AB 215 (Chiu) – Regional Housing Needs Progress Determination Process: Would create a new, mid-cycle regional housing needs progress determination process and mandates cities and counties with “low progress” in meeting those housing targets to consult with the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and adopt policies consistent with yet-to-be-released HCD regulations.

CSAC holds an “oppose” position on this measure. Our primary concerns include mandating local governments to achieve HCD’s designation as a prohousing jurisdiction and adding a mid-cycle housing element review process that will be targeted mostly at jurisdictions with weaker housing markets.

AB 215 is a likely suspense file candidate in the Senate Appropriations Committee. 

AB 500 (Ward) – Housing Development in Coastal Zones: Would broaden the California Coastal Commission’s authority to include housing policy within the coastal zone.

CSAC holds an “oppose” position on this measure. We are concerned that AB 500 will further complicate the planning and zoning process, which will lead to additional uncertainty and delay, as it disregards the housing element process and instead adds an additional bureaucratic agency to an already complex process involving HCD and local governments.

AB 500 passed out of Senate Governance and Finance Committee last week and was referred to the Appropriations Committee with amendments that limit it to requiring a study on housing affordability issues in the Coastal Zone. It is CSAC’s understanding, however, that the bill may still be amended to include substantive provisions that prompted our opposition. 

AB 602 (Grayson) – Impact Fee Nexus Study: Would make significant changes to laws governing local development impact fee programs.

CSAC currently holds an “oppose unless amended” position on this measure. We have concerns with the provision requiring the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to develop a nexus fee template given the diversity of local governments and impact fee program needs across the state. We are also concerned with requiring capital improvement planning for any infrastructure funded by impact fees in excess of $2 million dollars in counties with populations larger than 250,000.

AB 602 passed out of the Senate Housing Committee and moved to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

AB 838 (Friedman) – State Housing Law and Code Enforcement: Would make a number of changes that require local agencies to conduct a timely inspection of tenant allegations of substandard housing.

While the author has addressed several of the concerns we have raised, we continue to hold an “oppose unless amended” position on the measure. We have requested that the author amend the language of the bill to limit the collection of fees, costs, or charges for inspections required by the bill.

AB 838 passed out of the Senate Governance and Finance Committee last week and moved to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

AB 989 (Gabriel) – Office of Housing Appeals: Would create an Office of Housing Appeals within the Department of Housing and Community Development to review allegations of violations of the Housing Accountability Act for specified housing developments projects.

CSAC holds an “oppose” position on this measure. The Legislature has made significant changes that broaden the Housing Accountability Act and created the possibility of significant fines for agencies that violate the act. CSAC and other local government groups negotiated amendments in good faith on these bills and CSAC was ultimately neutral. Given these changes, CSAC opposes creating a new enforcement process outside of the courts through the Department of Housing and Community Development.

AB 989 passed out of Senate Housing Committee last week and moved to the Senate Appropriations Committee. 

AB 1423 (Daly) – Multifamily Housing Programs: Would allow developers to receive grant funding from the California Housing and Community Development Department (HCD) during the construction period thereby saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in construction period interest expenses.

CSAC currently holds a “support” position on this measure.

AB 1423 passed out of Senate Housing Committee last week and moved to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

SB 9 (Atkins) – Housing Development Approvals: Would require ministerial approval of a housing development of no more than two units in a single-family zone (duplex), the subdivision of a parcel zoned for residential use into two parcels (lot split), or both.

CSAC currently holds a “support if amended” position on this measure. We have requested that the scope of SB 9, as applied to unincorporated areas, be narrowed to include only urbanized areas and expressly exclude parcels located in Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones. We have also requested that Section 2 of the bill be amended to allow for the urban lot split to be finalized only after a Certificate of Occupancy is issued by the local jurisdiction. Finally, we are also seeking an amendment to exclude parcels created through the parcel map process to ensure underlying infrastructure is sufficient to support a housing development larger than four units.

The bill passed out of the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee and moved to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

SB 477 (Wiener) – General Plan Annual Report: Would, commencing January 1, 2024, significantly increase reporting burdens under the Annual Progress Report (APR) cities and counties are required to submit to the California Department of Housing and Community Development each year.

CSAC currently holds an “oppose unless amended” position on SB 477.  We have requested a streamlined reporting process for counties outside of MPOs, the removal of CEQA-related reporting in the APR, the removal of duplicative reporting, and the removal of reporting on multiple permitting phases of the same project.

SB 477 passed out of the Assembly Local Government Committee and moved to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

SCA 2 (Allen and Wiener) – Public Housing Projects: Would repeal Article XXXIV of the California Constitution upon approval of the statewide electorate. Article XXXIV requires a vote of the electorate when a local government seeks to build or fund affordable housing and was designed to impede the construction of healthy and affordable homes for Californians at all income levels.

CSAC currently holds a “support” position on this measure. Repealing Article XXXIV would not only remove this discriminatory provision from the Constitution but eliminate a stumbling block that has frustrated efforts by counties to provide homes for lower-income residents and people experiencing serious mental illness who are homeless.

SCA 2 passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee today.

Sustainable Communities Strategies

AB 1147 (Friedman): Would make changes to required elements of Metropolitan Planning Organizations’ (MPOs) Regional Transportation Plans (RTPs)/Sustainable Communities Strategies (SCS), including authorizing MPOs to consult with local governments when the MPO reasonably concludes that land use decisions and transportation projects will interfere with the region’s reaching its greenhouse gas emissions reduction target. The bill would require local governments to report to MPOs on actions taken to implement the RTP/SCS and would expand the scope of an existing Air Resources Board report on the progress of RTP/SCSs, among other changes.

CSAC is neutral on AB 1147 after working closely with the author on amendments. Prior language in the bill would have reversed language in current law ensuring a “bottom-up” approach to land use planning in the Sustainable Communities Strategy. The amended version of the bill better aligns with local control of land use, while ensuring that regions and local agencies work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation and land use decisions.

AB 1147 passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee earlier this week and moved to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Transportation

AB 43 (Friedman) – Traffic Safety: Would grant the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and local authorities greater flexibility in setting speed limits based on recommendations included in the January 2020 report prepared by the California State Transportation Agency’s (CalSTA) Zero Traffic Fatalities Task Force.

CSAC holds a “support” position on this measure.

AB 43 passed out of Senate Transportation Committee earlier this week and moved to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

AB 1035 (Salas) – Recycled Materials Standards: Would require local agencies to apply standard specifications that allow for the use of recycled materials at or above the level allowed in the California Department of Transportation’s most recently published standard specifications in streets and highways when feasible and cost effective.

CSAC continues to hold an “oppose unless amended” position on this measure. While the most recent amendments would address our concerns, we want to ensure that the requirement that Caltrans consult with local agencies prior to changing the relevant standard specifications in the future.

AB 1035 passed out of the Senate Transportation Committee and moved to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Tribal Relations

AB 1180 (Mathis) – Surplus Land Transfers to Federally-Recognized Tribes: Would expand the existing provision in the Surplus Lands Act (SLA) that exempts government to government transfers to include surplus land transfers to federally recognized California Indian Tribes. This would allow a local government to transfer surplus land to a federally recognized California Indian Tribe without triggering the procedures of the SLA.

The Governor signed AB 1180 on July 9.

SB 712 (Hueso) – Fee-to-trust Applications: Would impose requirements on local governments regarding comments on fee-to-trust applications by California federally recognized tribes.

CSAC currently holds an “oppose unless amended” position on this measure. While we do not object to the core premise of the bill, which we believe will encourage intergovernmental collaboration between the state, local governments, and tribes to facilitate the restoration of tribal lands; we are concerned by the provision that would constrain how counties may respond to an individual fee-to-trust application. Moreover, the new process created by SB 712 whereby counties and other local governments that object to a fee-to-trust application must request information from tribes petitioning to have land taken into trust and include that information in their comments creates an unfunded mandate, which would be subject to state reimbursement.

SB 712 passed out of the Assembly Local Government Committee and moved to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Miscellaneous Permitting

AB 970 (McCarty) – Streamlined Permitting for Electric Vehicle Charging Stations: Would establish specific time frames in which local agencies must approve permits for electric vehicle charging stations.

CSAC holds an “oppose” position on this measure. We are concerned with the provisions requiring EV charging stations to be deemed complete within five business days after an application is submitted and approved within 20 business days after submission of the application if the jurisdiction has not issued a permit and if the building official has not made findings that the proposed installation could have adverse impacts.

AB 970 passed out of Senate Governance and Finance Committee and moved to the Senate floor.

AB 1124 (Friedman) – Solar Energy Systems: Revises the definition of “solar energy system” to include all structural design features, whether mounted on the ground or on a roof.

CSAC currently holds an “oppose” position on this measure. We are concerned with expanding the definition of “solar energy system” to include facilities not installed on a building or structure, thereby arguably making commercial or utility grade solar projects subject to only a ministerial review process by the local jurisdiction. We also have concerns with the economic impact of AB 1124 on local building departments and local jurisdictions. By expanding the definition of “solar energy system,” the types of solar projects subject to the fee cap are greatly expanded, creating cost pressures for building departments that will have increased duties for reviewing these new projects.

AB 1124 is on the Senate floor.

SB 556 (Dodd) - Small Wireless Facilities Attachments: Would require local governments and publicly owned electric utilities to make infrastructure available to communication service providers for the placement of small wireless facilities, with limited allowable compensation to the public owners of that infrastructure.

CSAC currently holds an “oppose” position on this measure. SB 556 would impose unreasonable application processing timelines, enact an unnecessary and restrictive cost formula on publicly funded property, and significantly expand the reach of these provisions to infrastructure outside of the public rights-of-way, without any public benefit. Most concerning, however, are the provisions of the bill that would prohibit local governments from denying an application for use of its infrastructure. SB 556 would also require local governments or publicly owned electric utilities to provide, as part of an application denial for wireless facility attachment to a streetlight, traffic signal pole or other pole, the remediation necessary for the communication provider to move forward with placing the wireless facility, precluding any denial of attachment applications. It would also remove the ability of the local governments or public utilities from utilizing their own infrastructure for the future deployment of telecommunication equipment.

SB 556 passed out of the Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee and moved to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

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