Summary of 2010-2011 New California Land Use Legislation

January 11, 2012

The 2010-2011 Legislative Session has now come to a close and a number of bills related to land use have been signed into law or vetoed by the Governor, including bills that impact primary land use areas such as the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), California Coastal Act and Subdivision Map Act, as well as issues such as air quality, greenhouse gas emissions and water, housing and redevelopment reform.  The following is a list of the various land use-related bills that we have been tracking throughout the course of the past year and that were eventually approved by the Legislature.

Unless otherwise noted, each of the laws signed by the Governor went into effect on January 1, 2011.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND QUALITY

AB 320 (Hill) – This bill amends the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to require that the named recipient of an approval being challenged under CEQA be the same as identified by the public agency in its notice of determination or notice of
Exemption, and requires that a petition or complaint be subject to dismissal if a petitioner or plaintiff fails to serve any recipient of an approval within the statute of limitations period.

AB 320 was approved by the Governor on October 8, 2011, and chaptered by the Secretary of State at Chapter 570, Statutes of 2011.

AB 768 (Gatto) – This bill requires the the State Air Resources Board to allow a regulated entity subject to a low-carbon fuel standard to meet its low-carbon fuel standard obligations by purchasing credits credited by the sale of biomethane renewable gas produced out of state, but distributed to consumers in the state through displacement trade contracts.

AB 768 was approved by the Governor on October 2, 2011, and chaptered by the Secretary of State at Chapter 398, Statutes of 2011.

AB 1152 (Chesbro) – This bill amends existing law that requires the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to identify the extent of monitoring groundwater elevations and would require the DWR to contact all well owners within the unmonitored part of a particular groundwater basin or subbasin.  This bill would also make the local county and other specified entities that are contacted by the DWR ineligible for a water grant or loan awarded or administered by the State.

AB 1152 was approved by the Governor on September 7, 2011, and chaptered by the Secretary of State at Chapter 280, Statutes of 2011.

SB 226 (Simitian) – The California Enviromental Quality Act (CEQA) requires a lead agency to call a scoping meeting for a project of statewide, regional, or area-wide significance, and requires the lead agency to provide notice of at least one of those scoping meetings to specified entities, including a county or city that borders on a county or city within which the project is located.  This bill amends these provisions of CEQA to authorize the referral of a proposed action to adopt or substantially amend a general plan to a city or county within or abutting the area covered by the proposal by a planning agency prior to action by a legislative body to adopt or amend the general plan to be conducted concurrently with a scoping meeting.

SB 226 was approved by the Governor on October 4, 2011, and chaptered by the Secretary of State at Chapter 469, Statutes of 2011.

SB 310 (Hancock) – This bill expresses the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would require cities and counties to adopt permitting procedures for transit village green pathways developments.

SB 310 was approved by the Governor on October 3, 2011, and chaptered by the Secretary of State at Chapter 446, Statutes of 2011.

SB 328 (Kehoe) – This bill revises the Eminent Domain Law to establish requirements for acquisition of property subject to a conservation easement.  The bill requires, among other things, that:  (1) the person seeking to acquire the property to give the holder of the conservation easement a notice containing specified information and an opportunity to comment on the acquisition; and (2) the holder of the conservation easement to provide notice, under certain circumstances and as specified, of the proposed acquisition to each public entity that helped fund the purchase of the conservation easement or that imposed conditions on approval or permitting of a project that were satisfied, in whole or in part, by the conservation easement, and other information.

SB 328 was approved by the Governor on October 8, 2011, and chaptered by the Secretary of State at Chapter 589, Statutes of 2011.

HOUSING / REDEVELOPMENT

AB 147 (Dickinson) – This bill amends the provisions of the Subdivision Map Act authorizing a local agency to require the payment of a fee as a condition of approval of a final map or as a condition of issuing a building permit for purposes of defraying the actual or estimated cost of constructing bridges or major thoroughfares to allow the fee to additionally be used for defraying the actual or estimated cost of other transportation facilities.

AB 147 was approved by the Governor on September 6, 2011, and chaptered by the Secretary of State at Chapter 228, Statutes of 2011.

AB 208 (Fuentes) – This bill 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 the bill and that will otherwise expire prior to January 1, 2014.  This bill further provides that a tentative map extended pursuant to Government Code sections Section 66452.22 or 66452.23 is also subject to the truncated 3-year extension period and that the local agency is not prohibited from levying a fee, or imposing a condition that requires the payment of a fee upon the issuance of a building permit, with respect to any underlying units.

AB 208 was approved by the Governor on July 15, 2011, and chaptered by the Secretary of State at Chapter 28, Statutes of 2011.

AB 261 (Dickinson) – This bill provides that easements of any kind, including prescriptive easements, are included within specified exceptions to the conveyance of title free of encumbrances for tax-defaulted property, and that a sale of such property can only be commenced by recorded interest holders and their successors in interest in the real property.

AB 261 was approved by the Governor on September 21, 2011, and chaptered by the Secretary of State at Chapter 288, Statutes of 2011.

AB 551 (Campos) – This bill amends existing law to increase the maximum and minimum monetary penalties for prevailing wage violations from $50 and $10 per day to $100 and $40, respectively, for each calendar day.  This bill also increases the penalty assessed to contractors and subcontractors with prior violations from $20 to $80, and from $30 to $120 for willful violations.

AB 551 was approved by the Governor on October 9, 2011, and chaptered by the Secretary of State at Chapter 677, Statutes of 2011.

AB 818 (Blumenfield) – This bill enacts the Renters' Right to Recycle Act requiring an owner of a multifamily dwelling, defined as a residential facility that consists of 5 or more living units, to arrange for recycling services that are appropriate and available for the multifamily dwelling, consistent with state or local laws or requirements applicable to the collection, handling, or recycling of solid waste.

AB 818 was approved by the Governor on September 7, 2011, and chaptered by the Secretary of State at Chapter 279, Statutes of 2011.

AB 849 (Gatto) – This bill states the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation to encourage the installation and implementation of residential and commercial water use efficiency measures, including, but not limited to, graywater and storm retention systems, to reduce or eliminate regulatory barriers for water use and efficiency, and if feasible to provide incentives to increase investment in and use of graywater systems.

AB 849 was approved by the Governor on October 8, 2011, and chaptered by the Secretary of State at Chapter 577, Statutes of 2011.

PUBLIC AGENCIES

AB 912 (Gordon) – This bill authorizes a local agency formation commission, where the commission is considering a change of organization that consists of the dissolution of a district with zero sphere of influence, to immediately order the dissolution if the dissolution was initiated by the district board, or to hold at least one noticed public hearing in certain circumstances.

AB 912 was approved by the Governor on July 25, 2011, and chaptered by the Secretary of State at Chapter 109, Statutes of 2011.

ZONING AND GENERAL PLANS

SB 244 (Wolk) – This bill requires, prior to January 1, 2014, and thereafter, upon each revision of its housing element, a city or county to review and update one or more elements of its general plan, as necessary to address the presence of island, fringe, or legacy unincorporated communities, as defined, inside or near its boundaries, and also requires the updated general plan to include specified information. 

SB 244 was approved by the Governor on October 7, 2011, and chaptered by the Secretary of State at Chapter 513, Statutes of 2011.

SB 436 (Kehoe) –  This bill amends the Planning and Zoning law to 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. This bill also provides that if a state or local agency, in the development of its own project, is required to protect property to mitigate an adverse impact upon natural resources, the agency is authorized to take any action that it deems necessary to meet its mitigation obligations, including providing funds to a nonprofit organization to acquire land or easements that satisfy the agency's mitigation obligations.

SB 436 was approved by the Governor on October 8, 2011, and chaptered by the Secretary of State at Chapter 590, Statutes of 2011.

This article is excerpted with permission from a larger article which appears in the December 2011 issue of the California Land Use Law & Policy Reporter, © Copyright 2011, 2012 Argent Communications Group. All rights reserved. No further copying is permitted without the additional consent of ACG Tel: 530-852-7222 or E-mail: reporters [at] argentco.com.

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