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. High-profile failures and vetoes include a bill opposing the expansion of Walmart in San Diego and a bill that would have lowered parking requirements in transit-oriented districts. 

In total, the governor received 870 bills, the lowest number in decades. Yet, he still managed to veto 14 percent of them. Herewith is CP&DR's roundup of relating to land use that made the cut. 

California Environmental Quality Act

AB 320 (Hill) will prevent CEQA lawsuits and litigation from being thrown out in the event a "recipient of approval" appears only after the statute of limitations time period has passed. The bill will help bring clarity to the question of which parties must be named in CEQA lawsuits and litigation.

AB 900 (Buchanan) will allow the governor to choose as many projects as he deems appropriate for the expedited judicial review process, primarily by skipping Superior Court review and expediting the timeline for the litigation process at Appellate Court.

SB 226 (Simitian) seeks to streamline CEQA processes to facilitate projects (including rooftop solar, renewables on disturbed lands, and infill) that are generally considered ‘green'. 

SB 292 (Padilla) establishes specified administrative and judicial review procedures for the administrative and judicial review of the EIR and approvals granted for a project related to the development of football stadium in the City of Los Angeles. 

Land Use

AB 147 (Dickinson) is an amendment of the Subdivision Map Act that allows municipalities to include fees to developers for constructing bicycle, transit, pedestrian or traffic calming measures. 

AB 208 (Fuentes) extends by 24 months the expiration date of any approved tentative map or vesting tentative map that has not expired as of the effective date of this act and will expire prior to January 1, 2014.

AB 516 (M. Pérez) establishes a specified public participation process for the establishment of Safe Routes to Schools programs. 


AB 936 (Hueso) requires redevelopment agencies and other public bodies to report debt forgiveness.

AB 1338 (Hernández) requires redevelopment agencies to get appraisals before acquiring real property. 


AB 221 (Carter) – The Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund Acts of 2002 and 2006: supportive housing.

AB 1103 (Huffman) allows localities to count foreclosed homes and second units converted into deed-restricted homes toward their regional housing needs assessment requirement. Allows cities and counties to plan to meet up to 25 percent of their Regional Housing Needs Allocation targets by converting foreclosed homes into homes affordable to low- and very low-income households.

SB 562 (Committee on Transportation and Housing) Housing omnibus bill.

Water & Waste

AB 54 (Solorio) establishes new requirements for organizing and operating mutual water companies.  

AB 359 (Huffman) would encourage the sustainable management of groundwater resources by requiring, as a condition of receiving a state grant or loan, local agencies to including a map of prime recharge areas in their groundwater management plans. It would then require these maps to be shared with the planning agencies, interested parties and organizations.

AB 938 (M. Pérez). Public water systems. This bill would add environmental documentation to the costs of a single project that the department is required to determine by an assessment of affordability

AB 964 (Huffman) authorizes any person to obtain a right to appropriate water for a small irrigation use.

AB 1221 (Alejo) – State Water Quality Control Fund: State Water Pollution Cleanup and Abatement Account.

SB 267 by (Rubio) – Water supply planning: renewable energy plants.

SB 607 (Walters) – State Water Resources Control Board: water quality: brackish groundwater treatment.

Environment, Parks & Open Space

AB 42 (Huffman) allows the state to explore partnerships with non-profit organizations that can help support state park system.  

AB 566 (Galgiani) amends the Surface Mining Act (1975) to include additional legislative findings, including, among other things, that the state's mineral resources are vital, finite, and important natural resources and the responsible protection and development of these mineral resources is vital to a sustainable California.

AB 703 (Gordon) – Property taxation: welfare exemption: nature resources and open-space lands.

AB 1036 by Assemblymember Michael Allen (D-Santa Rosa) – Parks: regional park, park and open-space, and open-space districts: employee relations.

AB 1077 by Assemblymember Wilmer Amina Carter (D-Rialto) – State parks: Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park.

AB 1112 (Huffman) Oil spill prevention and administration fee: State Lands Commission. 

AB 1414 (Committee on Natural Resources) Forestry: timber harvesting.

SB 152 (Pavley). Public lands: general leasing law: littoral landowners. Requires the State Lands Commission to charge rent for a private recreational pier, as defined, constructed on state lands and would require the rent to be based on local conditions and local fair annual rental values

SB 328 (Kehoe) revises the Eminent Domain Law to establish requirements for acquisition of property subject to a conservation easement. 

SB 436 (Kehoe) – Land use: mitigation lands: nonprofit organizations. Revises these provisions and would additionally authorize a state or local public agency to authorize a nonprofit organization, a special district, a for-profit entity, a person, or another entity to hold title to and manage an interest in property held for mitigation purposes, subject to certain requirements.

SB 551 (DeSaulnier) – State property: tidelands transfer: City of Pittsburg.

SB 618 (Wolk) allows landowners and local officials to simultaneously rescind Williamson Act contracts and enter into easements allowing photovoltaic solar facilities on the same land. 

SB 668 (Evans) – Local government: Williamson Act. Authorizes a nonprofit land-trust organization, a nonprofit entity, or a public agency to enter into a contract with a landowner who has also entered into a Williamson Act contract to keep that landowner's land in contract under the Williamson Act, for a period of up to 10 years in exchange for the open-space district's, land-trust organization's, or nonprofit entity's payment of all or a portion of the foregone property tax revenue.

SB 792 (Steinberg) – Surface mining: mineral resource management policies.

SB 860 by Committee on Natural Resources and Water – Tidelands and submerged lands: public trust lands: mineral rights.

Infrastructure & Transportation

AB 529 Gatto (D-Burbank) – Vehicles: speed limits: downward speed zoning.

AB 615 (Lowenthal) supplements Budget Act appropriations by appropriating $4,000,000 from the High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Fund to the authority for the Los Angeles to San Diego segment.

AB 628 (Conway) – Vehicles: off-highway vehicle recreation: County of Inyo.

AB 664 (Ammiano) allows San Francisco to form special waterfront Infrastructure Financing Districts for the Port America's Cup and Treasure Island areas.  

AB 706 (Torres) – Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority.

AB 716 (Dickinson) – Transit districts: prohibition orders: Sacramento Regional Transit District: Fresno Area Express: San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District.

AB 751 (Cedillo) concerns a freeway segment to be constructed without an agreement within the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

AB 957 (Committee on Transportation) – Transportation omnibus bill.

AB 892 (Carter) Department of Transportation: Environmental Review Process. Allows CalTrans to continue its participation in the National Environmental Policy Act delegation pilot program in SAFETEA-Lu or any successor federal transportation reauthorization legislation. 

AB 1027 (Buchanan) requires local publicly owned utilities to provide space on their utility poles for use by communication service providers.

AB 1097 (Skinner) authorizes a state or a local agency, relative to the use of federal funds for transit purposes, to provide a bidding preference to a bidder if the bidder exceeds Buy America requirements applicable to federally funded transit projects.

AB 1143 (Dickinson) – Sacramento Regional Transit District: bonds.

AB 1164 (Gordon) – Federal transportation funds.

AB 1298 (Blumenfield) – Vehicles: parking: mobile billboard advertising displays.

SB 310 (Hancock) allows cities and counties to adapt Infrastructure Financing Districts and other incentives for transit priority projects.  

SB 325 (Rubio) enacts the Central California Railroad Authority Act to create the Central California Railroad Authority as an alternative for ensuring short-line railroad service in the Counties of Kern, Kings, Tulare, Fresno, and Merced.

SB 468 (Kehoe) Department of Transportation: north coast corridor project: high-occupancy toll lanes.

SB 771 (Kehoe). In regards to programs of the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority, expands the definition of "renewable energy" to include energy generation based on thermal energy systems such as landfill gas turbines, engines, and microturbines; and digester gas turbines, engines, and microturbines.

Local Finance, Governance, & Agency Formation

AB 307 (Nestande) includes a federally recognized Indian tribe as a public agency that may enter into a joint powers agreement.

AB 506 (Wieckowski) – Local government: bankruptcy: neutral evaluation. A signing message can be found here.

AB 912 (Gordon) expedites the dissolution of special districts.  

AB 1344 (Feuer) alters the statutory requirements regarding how cities and counties can put a proposed charter before the voters. Increases the noticing period from the regular 72-hour noticing requirement to a 10-week process.

AB 1430 (Committee on Local Government) – The Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000 omnibus bill.

SB 244 (Wolk) General Plan: Disadvantaged Unincorporated Communities. Mandates General Plans be updated to address disadvantaged unincorporated communities. Cities required to submit dual annexation requests.  

SB 555 (Hancock) allows Mello-Roos community facilities districts to finance renewable energy, energy efficiency, and water efficiency improvements on private property.