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For many cities that have endured the painful process of dissolving their redevelopment agencies, the bloodletting has begun anew.
When Jerry Brown first proposed killing redevelopment -- back in January 2011, when he released his first budget -- he said he would replace it with some other economic development tool. After Brown succeeded -- when he released his second budget, in January 2012, just days after the Supreme Court killed redevelopment – his tune changed, ever so slightly. He said he would consider bringing redevelopment back if it didn't affect the state's general fund.
It’s safe to say that the City of Calistoga’s Silver Rose Referendum will not be the most important question on the ballot in the this November. Nor will Escondido’s general plan measure, nor even a preliminary vote on draining Hetch Hetchy reservoir.
While Gov. Jerry Brown’s veto of redevelopment-related bills and the earlier failure of parking reform bill Assembly Bill 904 caused some consternation around the state, he did in fact sign a wide array of bills relating to land use at the end of last month.
Over the past year, even the most irate objectors to Gov. Jerry Brown's dismantling of redevelopment held out hope that in agreeing to kill redevelopment, the legislature would invent a new, better system for stoking local economic growth. Last week, the governor dashed those hopes.
Now that the California state budget is mostly out of the way, it’s time to see what – if anything – the state will do this year to plug the redevelopment gap.
And as redevelopment bills move forward, it’s pretty much shaping up like this: The legislature is likely to pass something. The question is whether Gov. Jerry Brown will sign anything.
Recent polls suggest that Proposition 13 remains as popular today as when it was enacted. Yet, at the same time, residents demand a high level of services which exceed the ability of local officials to fund absent innovation in developing new funding strategies. This innovation in turn has generated a series of voter-enacted limitations designed to further restrict new revenue measures, absent voter approval. Part of this voter legacy is Proposition 218, enacted in 1996 (California Constitution Art XIIID).
For a lot of planners, the idea of an “infill exemption” to the California Environmental Quality Act has been a kind of holy grail over the past few years. CEQA is a fact of life in California and unlikely to go away. But having to run though the entire CEQA process for a project a quarter-acre infill site – just as you might for a project on 5,000 acres of raw land – has been more than a little frustrating for developers and planners alike. Sure, an infill project has an impact. But if getting environmental clearance is a hassle, then what’s the point?
After yesterday’s California Supreme Court oral argument in California Redevelopment Association vs. Matosantos – the lawsuit challenging the state’s new pay-ransom-or-die redevelopment system – it’s still hard to tell where the court will go. But the biggest question that emerged was: What happens it the court upholds AB 1x 26, which abolishes redevelopment, but strikes down AB 1x 27, which permits redevelopment agencies to continue to exist if they pay a “remittance” to the state?
Gov. Jerry Brown considered over 600 bills that came to his desk this legislative session. Some of the most contentious involved land use, particularly bills concerning redevelopment and the California Environmental Quality Act. The City of Los Angeles got a CEQA exemption for its proposed football stadium and infill developments have received special dispensation; speculation is that other such exemptions may be on the horizon.