Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed two planning bills by significant San Diego legislators -- AB 504 by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, which would have reined in the permitting power of Civic San Diego, the nonprofit redevelopment agency, and AB 35 by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, which would have increased the state's allocation of low-income housing tax credits by $300 million. >>read more
Only a few significant planning and development bills made to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk by the end of the legislative session on Sept. 11 -- most significantly SB 774, which requires local governments to cut parking ratios for transit-oriented development.
Several major bills did not make it out of the legislature, including: >>read more
With the year's legislative session in full gear, attempts to reform - or end-run - the California Environmental Quality Act don't seem to be doing so well. But Sen. Fran Pavley's effort to codify an 80% greenhouse gas reduction target by 2050 - which would moot some major legal challenges - appears to be sailing through. >>read more
Even with the preoccupation over the state budget--and especially the fate of redevelopment--Sacramento lawmakers have managed to advance a typically broad array of bills related to land use.
Several of those bills focus on redevelopment reform, most notably Sen. Alan Lowenthal's SB 450, which seeks to preserve funds for affordable housing, and Sen. Rod Wright's SB 286, aimed at comprehensive reform -- but not elimination -- of the state's redevelopment system. Both bills have the support of the League of California Cities and the California Redevelopment Association.
For all of the Legislature's fretting this year, the consensus in Sacramento is that among the state's overwhelming crises, land use ranked as a low priority this past legislative session. The legislative session that ended Aug. 30 included relatively few land use bills and, of those, they were of relatively minor import.
The state Capitol is one weird place. Sometimes, I'm not sure if it's even of this earth.
At the moment when you think major redevelopment "reform" is on the horizon, state lawmakers instead rewrite inconvenient laws that were getting in the way of San Diego's desire to use redevelopment financing to build a football stadium, including a law requiring increased funding for affordable housing.
I was trying to figure out a way to summarize the 2009-2010 session of the California Legislature when I found a summary upon which I could not improve.
In its September 3 edition of "Framing the Issues," the affordable housing advocacy group California Housing Law Project nailed the situation. Under the headline "No Budget … No Money … No Legacy … Failed Policy," was this:
A California Environmental Quality Act amendment that could ease Walmart's entry into new markets appears to be speeding toward approval in the state Legislature.
Assembly Bill 1581 (Torres) would exempt from CEQA review the alteration of a vacant retail structure of up to 120,000 square feet so long as the use is consistent with the applicable general plan and meets certain energy and water efficiency thresholds. The exemption would sunset on January 1, 2014.