A bill that extends the sunset date of tentative subdivision maps by two years has been signed by Gov. Schwarzenegger.  

As originally introduced, AB 333 (Fuentes) would have extended the life of subdivision maps by six years. That unprecedented, lengthy extension met resistance, so it was reduced to two years. The urgency legislation took effect on the governor's July 16 signing date. Last year, Schwarzenegger signed a bill extending the sunset date by one year. About 1,800 maps statewide are affected, according to the California Building Industry Association.


The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has approved its first congestion pricing project. It will permit paying motorists to use carpool lanes on 14 miles of Interstate 10 and 11 miles of the 110 freeway. Rates would range from 25 cents per mile during light traffic to $1.40 per mile during rush hour, with the intent of keeping traffic flowing at least 45 mph in the carpool lanes at all times.

The MTA intends to add a second toll lane in both directions of the same stretch of I-10, which is immediately west of the 605 freeway. The congestion pricing project, which received a $210 million federal grant, also involves construction of automated toll plazas and increased operation of clean fuel buses on the same stretches of highway. Construction is scheduled to be complete the end of 2010.

A Desert Hot Springs site along Highway 62 that was planned to become a luxury golf resort, shopping mall and high-end housing is instead becoming protected habitat. The Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG) has purchased 638 acres of the 1,766-acre Palmwood development site for $3.9 million and intends to buy more of the land as funding becomes available.

The Palmwood project was one of the major sticking points in adoption of the Coachella Valley multiple species habitat conservation plan, which designated the site for protection. That caused the City of Desert Hot Springs to oppose the plan, which forced plan amendments and delayed adoption (see CP&DR Environment Watch, April 2006). Ultimately, the Palmwood development fell apart, and Desert Hot Springs joined the species planning effort.

Mendocino County voters in November will decide on a proposed 800,000-square-foot shopping mall and housing development on a former industrial site just outside of Ukiah. Project proponent Developer's Diversified is taking its plan directly to voters because of frustration with county officials, who have been considering re-use of the 76-acre Masonite site for many years and who have been unable to reach agreement with Ukiah leaders on the project.