California Planning & Development Report offers this list of land use bills that passed or failed in Sacramento during 2004. The governor has until the end of September to act on the legislation that passed.


AB 389 (Montañez). Reduces liability for an innocent landowner and provides for greater public participation in state oversight plans. Passed.

SB 493 (Cedillo). Tried to restart a de-funded program that loans local agencies money for cleanup-related work. The bill originally contained provisions that eventually became AB 389. Failed.

SB 559 (Ortiz). Creates a pilot project to streamline and coordinate activities of local agencies, the Department of Toxic Substances Control and the state Water Resources Control Board for site cleanup and redevelopment. Passed.

SB 805 (Escutia). Extends a program that targets small infill sites to urban sites of larger than 5 acres under the same ownership. Passed.


AB 406 (Jackson). Would have prohibited confidentiality agreements between developers and consultants who prepare environmental documents. Failed.

AB 1798 (Levine). Attempted to overturn a recent appellate court decision that found the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority did not consider alternatives to a busway that is under construction in the San Fernando Valley. The bill said that the alternatives identified by the court should not be considered alternatives within the meaning of CEQA. Failed.

AB 2814 (Simitian). Corrects an error in 2002 legislation that required all responsible and trustee agencies be named as potential parties in CEQA lawsuits. The bill requires that responsible agencies only be notified of lawsuits. Passed.

AB 2902 (Hancock). Attempted to limit a public agency’s ability to shift the burden for mitigating the impacts of its own project to another public agency. The bill was in response to the City of Berkeley’s complaints about a University of California long-range development plan. Failed.

AB 2922 (Laird). Permits broader use of master EIRs and also allows agencies to adopt mitigated negative declarations that tier off of master EIRs. Passed.

AB 3034 (Yee). Directs the Office of Planning and Research (OPR) to analyze state and federal regulations regarding the development of biotechnology manufacturing plants, with the goal of streamlining development approval. Passed.

AB 3090 (Jerome Horton). Requires OPR to revise the CEQA Guidelines to reflect a 2001 state Supreme Court decision that said a city-sponsored ballot measure is not exempt from CEQA. The bill initially sought to prohibit an initiative from deeming any part of a proposed project to be “ministerial” and, therefore, exempt from CEQA, as a failed Wal-Mart initiative in Inglewood did earlier this year. Those provisions were stripped from the bill. Passed.

SB 1267 (Morrow). Would have provided a CEQA exemption for an aggressive fuel reduction program on state lands that was intended to reduce fire danger. Failed.

SB 1334 (Kuehl). Requires counties that determine that a project would result in the loss of oak woodlands to consider certain alternatives or mitigation measures. The bill was watered down after receiving stiff opposition from developers, landowners and counties. Passed.

SB 1486 (Hollingsworth). Would have exempted from CEQA the construction of any overpass proposed within an easement or right-of-way controlled by Caltrans, a local transportation agency, a city or a county. Failed.

Economic Development

AB 723 (Matthews). Proposed allowing the creation of infrastructure finance districts to fund projects in designated jobs-housing opportunities zones in a five-county region of Northern California. Failed.

AB 1855 (Maze) Requires the Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (I-Bank) to provide better notification when it changes criteria and guidelines for funding projects. Passed.

AB 2212 (Runner). Would have allowed San Bernardino County to create a 100,000-acre infrastructure finance district at Harper Dry Lakebed outside of Barstow. Failed.

SB 926 (Knight and Ashburn). Consolidates military base retention and conversion programs within one office of the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency. The bill also permits the office to request funding from the I-Bank for projects that enhance the mission of active bases. Passed.

SB 1056 (Alarcon). Requires cities and counties to prepare economic impact reports for proposed retail stores of at least 130,000 square feet that devote at least 10% of sales space to nontaxable items. Passed.


AB 502 (Canciamilla). Requires public agencies to expedite applications for natural gas exploration or production permits. Passed.

AB 2473 (Wolk). Revises the Solar Rights Act and continues to require that a city or county permit the installation of solar energy systems by right. Passed.

SB 199 (Murray). Contained provisions for Gov. Schwarzenegger’s plan to install solar energy systems in 1 million homes. Among other things, the bill would have required builders in developments of at least 25 houses to offer buyers the option of a solar energy system. Failed.

SB 1652 (Murray). Would have established a new solar energy program and requirements, including a mandate that 5% of new residences include solar energy systems.Failed.

SB 1776 (Bowen). Reinstates the Energy Commission’s expedited process for reviewing new power plants. Signed by governor.

General Plans

AB 2055 (Wolk). Renames the open space element the “agricultural and open space element” and recognizes agricultural land as a separate component of open space.Passed.

AB 3065 (Kehoe). Expands the role of the state Board of Forestry and Fire Protection in reviewing safety elements in jurisdictions that have state responsibility areas and very high fire hazard severity zones. Passed.

SB 18 (Burton). Adds concerns for Native American places, features and objects to OPR’s general plan guidelines, and requires local governments to consult with Indian tribes before adopting or amending a general plan. The bill is a compromise re-write of a more extensive measure that failed last year. Passed.

SB 699 (Sher). Requires local governments to report how closely their general plans follow the general plan guidelines. Passed.


AB 1320 (Dutra). Makes it easier for a local government to designate a transit village development district. Signed by governor.

AB 1426 (Steinberg). Provides $1 million in incentives for local governments to participate in a Sacramento Area Council of Governments affordable housing development program. The bill also states an intent to create similar incentives in other regions. Passed.

AB 1970 (Harmon). Proposed allowing cities of less than 25,000 people in the coastal zone that meet certain criteria to adopt housing elements that provide for no new housing units. Failed.

AB 2158 (Lowenthal). Provides councils of government, cities and counties with a greater say in determining regional housing needs allocations. Passed.

AB 2348 (Mullin). Provides revised criteria for the inventory of sites that can be developed for housing to accommodate a city's or county's share of the regional housing need. Both AB 2158 and AB 2348 were the result of a Housing Element Working Group (see CP&DR, June 2004). Passed.

AB 2702 (Steinberg). Prohibits local governments from imposing certain unit and lot-size limits, occupancy requirements and parking conditions on the development of second units. Passed.

AB 2836 (Maddox). Would have relaxed the definition of “moderate income.” Failed.

AB 2980 (Salinas). A proposal from the Housing Element Working Group to let local governments that meet certain criteria self-certify their housing elements. Failed.

SB 558 (Ducheny). Attempted to address local land and infrastructure supplies for new homes. The bill was supposed to become a vehicle for Schwarzenegger administration policies, but those never emerged. Failed.

SB 744 (Dunn). Would have created a state board to consider appeals from affordable housing developers whose projects were denied or conditioned by a city or county.Failed.

SB 898 (Burton). Extends to community college districts and eligible nonprofit organizations the authority to acquire property for development of housing units that would replace units destroyed by a school construction project. A plan by City College of San Francisco to build a Chinatown campus spurred the last-minute legislation. Passed.

SB 1818 (Hollingsworth). Modifies the density bonus law to give greater bonuses for the inclusion of more units available to very low-, low- and moderate-income residents. The measure also requires cities and counties to provide other incentives to affordable-housing developers. Passed.

Indian Casinos

AB 382 (Correa). Makes tax-exempt bonds available to Indian tribes, which must complete environmental impact reports and consult with local governments about projects that would get funded with the bonds. Passed.

AB 687 (Nuñez). Ratifies gambling compacts with five Indian tribes. The compacts require more revenue-sharing on the part of the tribes than the first round of compacts signed in 1999. Signed by governor.

SB 1117 (Burton). Ratifies Gov. Schwarzenegger’s recently signed gambling compacts with four Indian tribes, again with more revenue-sharing required. The bill did not include a compact with the Litton Band of Pomo Indians, whose proposal to build one of the country’s largest casinos in San Pablo spurred protests. Passed.


SB 1266 (Torlakson). Expands from 75 acres to 150 acres the size of county islands that are eligible for expedited annexation by cities. The land cannot be prime farmland and must be designated for urban growth by the annexing city. Signed by governor.

SB 1607 (Machado). Would prohibit LAFCOs from placing territory located within the Delta’s primary protection zone into the sphere of influence or boundary of a city or special district that provides urban infrastructure. Failed.

AB 2306 (Richman). Bars the Ventura County LAFCO from requiring the City of Simi Valley to annex county islands as part of a city expansion into undeveloped territory on its south side. Passed.

Natural Resources

AB 496 (Correa). Proposed the creation of a Santa Ana River Conservancy. Failed.

AB 1983 (Wolk). Would have expanded the powers of the state Reclamation Board to include environmental protection and restoration, rather than only flood control.Failed.

AB 2476 (Wolk). Expands the duties of the Delta Protection Commission, requires the Commission to update its existing resource management plan and authorizes the agency to facilitate combination flood control-wildlife habitat-farmland enhancement projects. Passed.

AB 2600 (Leslie and Laird). Creates the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. Passed.

SB 86 (Machado). Creates the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy Program within the state Coastal Conservancy, with the intent of restoring, preserving and enhancing agricultural, natural and recreational resources in the Delta. Passed.

SB 754 (Perata). The Heritage Tree Preservation Act would have prohibited the logging of trees that were alive in 1850. Failed.

SB 1319 (Burton). Creates the Ocean Protection Council, which, among other things, may examine activities occurring on land that affect the ocean’s health. Passed.

SB 1447 (Kuehl). Would have required the state to regulate the dredging or filling of any wetlands, stream or pond not regulated by the federal Clean Water Act. Failed.

SB 1477 (Sher). Attempted to expand the jurisdiction of the State Water Resources Control Board to isolated lakes and streams, wetlands and riparian areas that may no longer be protected by federal agencies. Failed.


AB 269 (Mullin). Permits redevelopment agencies in San Mateo County to participate in a joint powers authority for the purpose of pooling low- and moderate-income housing funds. The bill lets agencies transfer up to 25% of their low/mod funds to the JPA, which is authorized to develop housing within a half-mile of the Caltrain right-of-way. Passed.

AB 1358 (Simitian). Would have permitted small cities in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties to spend low/mod housing funds anywhere within five miles of a project area. Failed.

AB 2805 (Ridley-Thomas). Allows Los Angeles to extend the life of a redevelopment project area around the Memorial Coliseum by 10 years. But the bill requires the city to get approval of the I- Bank for new projects. The bill is part of an effort to attract a professional football team to the Coliseum. Passed.

SB 1404 (Soto). Permits the creation of multi-family improvement districts, similar to business improvement districts. With approval of two-thirds of property owners, the district could levy assessments to fund services and capital improvements to aid a struggling neighborhood. Passed.

SB 1592 (Torlakson). Would have required cities and counties to adopt infill ordinances, identify potential infill development sites and provide at least five incentives for infill housing projects. Failed.


AJR 63 (Maze). Requests that the president and Congress designate Highway 99 as an interstate freeway so that it is eligible for more federal funding. Passed.

AB 2366 (Dutra). A stop-gap measure intended to keep the over-budget Bay Bridge seismic replacement project moving forward. The 11th-hour bill would have moved some administrative and financial oversight from Caltrans to the Bay Area Toll Authority. Failed.


AB 1015 (Laird). Would have required that land use elements explain the source of existing and future water supplies. Failed.

AB 2279 (Dymally). Proposed the repeal of a state law requirement that irrigation district board members be landowners. Failed.

AB 2572 (Kehoe). Requires cities, water districts and other providers with at least 3,000 connections to install water meters by 2025. Passed.


AB 955 (Wiggins). A bill backed by local governments and schools to reform the school siting process was gutted late in the session.

AB 1903 (Maddox). Would have required cities and counties to use a “no-less-favorable” standard when considering proposals affecting religious institutions. Failed.

AB 1936 (Berg). Would have created a process for consolidating Del Norte County and Crescent City into a city-county. The bill died when the city withdrew its support.Failed.

AB 2042 (Lowenthal). Prohibits the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles from exceeding current levels of air pollution. Passed.

SBs 701, 702, 703, 706 and 707 (Florez). The second-half of a 10-bill package that addressed Central Valley air quality went nowhere this year, after half of the bills passed last year.

SB 1369 (Kuehl). Requires property owners in state fire prevention and suppression areas or in severe fire hazard zones to create a 100-foot firebreak around structures. The bill follows up last year’s AB 1216 (Vargas), which prescribed more stringent building standards for structures in severe fire hazards zones. Passed.

SB 1462 (Kuehl). Mandates that cities and counties notify the military of proposed development projects within 1,000 feet of a low-level flight path or military base. After earlier provisions to modify CEQA were removed, a number of development industry groups and local officials endorsed the bill. Passed.

SBs 1750-1756 and SB 1758 (Battin and Denham). A package of bills that sought better inventories of state land, creation of a Commission on Asset Review and Divestiture and expedited disposal of certain properties. The only bills that passed were SB 1754, which tinkers with the administrative process for relocating state offices, and SB 1752, the annual surplus property bill. All other measures failed.