Senate Bill 303 by San Diego Democrat Denise Ducheny may well be the most controversial land use bill of the year. The bill is the building industry's vehicle for decreasing local government regulation. Not surprisingly, local governments are solidly in opposition.
The bill sailed through the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on a 10-0 vote in late March, but mostly because lawmakers tasked the Committee on Environmental Quality with the heavy lifting.
And oh did things get heavy during an two-hour Environmental Quality hearing on April 23. Although Chairman Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) maintained professional decorum, the tension was thick at times. Simitian made clear to Ducheny that the bill will not pass out of his committee without substantial amendments — a vow that did not please Ducheny.
The bill's primary target is the regional fair-share housing allocation process and local planning. But here's an interesting twist that should have planning consultants smiling: The bill would require every element of a local general plan to be updated every 10 years. If that were the law today, the vast majority of cities and counties would be out of compliance.
Check out the latest analysis of SB 303 here: SB 303 Bill Analysis