Roundup of Land Use Laws, 2012

 

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. 

Of chief concern to many planners is Senate Bill 1241, sponsored by Sen. Christine Kehoe. The bill intends to use land use planning to minimize fire risks and guide decisions about future development by amending the safety element of general plan law. In doing so, expands the state’s ability to review county plans and subdivsion plans. It adds to the list of specialized topics that general plans must address. 

The bill is considered to be a culmination of an eight-year effort by Kehoe to address wildfires, starting in 2004 with AB 3065. A measure similar to SB 1241 was vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2010. 

Its provisions go into effect Jan. 1, 2013. By 2014, cities and counties will have to review and update the safety element as necessary to address the risk of fire for state responsibility areas and conducted detailed surveying and mapping to determine areas of high fire danger. The bill directs the Office of Planning and Research to draft guidelines for how plans should identify and address fire danger, and it requires that county legislative bodies make findings that ensure the availability of fire protection before they approve tentative maps for parcels in areas located in an SRA and/or an area of high fire danger. 

Many of the other bills that Brown signed affect only small, specific geographic areas or are adjustments to existing laws. One of his more quizzical signatures was applied to AB 2259, which creates an infrastructure financing district for San Francisco’s America’s Cup yacht race. The governor made it clear that he does not yet support the use of IFD’s for redevelopment. However, the immediacy and special purpose of the America’s Cup IFD may have made it necessary and justifiable. 

The other bills that Brown signed include the following, listed by sponsor with official titles: 

Open Space & Conservation

AB 2207 by Richard Gordon (D-Redwood City) – Property taxation: welfare exemption: nature resources and open-space lands.

AB 1672 by Norma Torres (D-Pomona) – Housing-Related Parks Program.

AB 880 by Brian Nestande (R-Palm Desert) – Ecological reserves: Mirage Trail.

AB 1589 by Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) – State parks: sustainability and protection.

AB 1961 by Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) – Coho salmon: habitat.

AB 2544 by Richard Gordon (D-Redwood City) – Forestry and fire protection: land purchases and property use.

AB 2082 by Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) – Public lands: State Lands Commission: violations.

AB 2169 by Wesley Chesbro (D-Eureka) – Property Acquisition Law: conservation easements.

AB 2388 by Jim Beall (D-San Jose) – Santa Clara County Open-Space Authority: authorization to contract.

AB 2680 by Assembly Agriculture Committee – repeals the automatic termination date to authorize a city or county and landowner to rescind a Williamson Act contract and simultaneously enter into a new contract to facilitate a lot line adjustment with no sunset. 

SB 1094 by Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) – Land use: mitigation lands: nonprofit organizations.

SB 1169 by Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) – Natural community conservation planning.

SB 1278 by Lois Wolk – makes several changes to Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley cities and counties’ flood hazard planning and development practices. 

SB 1501 by Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) – Open-space easements.

SB 1577 by the Committee on Natural Resources and Water – Resources: public trust lands: City of Newport Beach.

Transportation, Transit, & Roads

AB 1446 by Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) – Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority: transactions and use tax.

AB 819 by Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) – Bikeways.

AB 432 by Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento) – Transit: Sacramento County.

AB 441 by William Monning (D-Carmel) – Transportation planning.

AB 1770 by Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) – California Transportation Financing Authority.

Community Development & Affordable Housing

AB 1585 by John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) – Community development.

AB 1699 by Norma Torres (D-Pomona) – Affordable housing.

AB 1951 by Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) – Housing bonds.

AB 1551 by Norma Torres (D-Pomona) – Housing.

AB 1797 by Norma Torres (D-Pomona) – Mobilehome Park Purchase Fund.

AB 232 by Manuel Pérez (D-Coachella) – Community Development Block Grant Program: funds. 

Miscellaneous

AB 1614 by William Monning (D-Carmel) – Fort Ord Reuse Authority.

AB 1616 by Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) establishes zoning and permit requirements pertaining to cottage food industries. 

AB 1915 by Luis Alejo (D-Salinas) – Safe routes to school.

AB 1965 by Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) – Land use.

AB 2046 by Michael Allen (D-Santa Rosa) – provides that tenants in floating home marinas who want to purchase the marina can do so without reassessment of the marina, similar to mobile home parks. 

AB 2259 by Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) – makes conforming changes to San Francisco’s special waterfront Infrastructure Financing Districts for the Port America’s Cup. 

AB 2649 by Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) – Tidelands and submerged lands: City and County of San Francisco: seawall lots.

SB 200 by Lois Wolk (D-Davis) – Delta levee maintenance.

SB 1241 by Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) – Land use: general plan: safety element: fire hazard impacts.

Climate Change

AB 1532 by John A. Pérez (D- Los Angeles) – California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006: Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.

SB 535 by Kevin De León (D-Los Angeles) – California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006: Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.

California Environmental Quality Act

AB 1665 by Cathleen Galgiani (D-Tracy) – California Environmental Quality Act: exemption: railroad crossings.

AB 1486 by Ricardo Lara (D-South Gate) – California Environmental Quality Act: exemption: Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System.

AB 2245 by Cameron Smyth (R-Santa Clarita) – Environmental quality: California Environmental Quality Act: exemption: bicycle lanes.

AB 890 by Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto) – Environment: CEQA exemption: roadway improvement.

AB 2669 by the Committee on Natural Resources – Environmental quality: California Environmental Quality Act.