Collectively, ballots that California voters will cast Nov. 2 encompass a representative sample of the usual land use questions that California cities and counties face on a regular basis. Local voters will decide on everything from urban growth boundaries to downtown plans to specific projects. But, however strong local passions may be, the statewide ballot also includes potential whoppers on major issues like redevelopment funding, climate change, and the survival of state parks.
Updated as of November 3 with most current results.
The entire California planning world now seems to revolve around combating climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But Proposition 23 – a long-term suspension of the state's climate-change law – is on the ballot this fall. The proposition is behind at the polls – but if it passes – will that be the end of SB 375, Sustainable Communities Strategies, greenhouse gas emissions analyses in environmental impact reports, and the whole industry that has been built up around climate change planning?
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.
This month's legislative session, which concludes August 31, includes no game changers like SB 375, but it does include a few bills related to land use and redevelopment that bear watching.
Los Angeles Stadium CEQA Exemption
Over 100 organizations have signed on to a statement circulated by the Planning and Conservation League opposing a CEQA exemption for the development of a would-be NFL football stadium in downtown Los Angeles. The concerns have arisen in part because of an exemption granted to Majestic Realty in 2009 for its proposed stadium in the City of Industry and because of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's stated desire to grant exemptions to certain projects in the name of economic development.
Legislators in Sacramento are currently considering an assembly bill that, though it originated with the City of Los Angeles in mind, proposes some significant changes in California Redevelopment Law (CRL). AB 2531, sponsored by Felipe Fuentes (D-Los Angeles) is an important step forward for the state economy for a variety of reasons.
Now that the California Air Resources Board has released its draft targets for greenhouse gas emissions reduction under SB 375, it's time to do some math. What follows is nerdy and a little dense, but it's important – and planners need to be able to follow the bouncing ball on 375.
The bottom line is that the math doesn't yet add up – and that's because what AB 32 calls for and what California's regional planning agencies think is realistic don't line up with each other.
California Environmental Quality Act lawsuits may be the next victims of the state's ongoing recession. Democratic and Republican lawmakers have introduced legislation that follows up on Gov. Schwarzenegger's call to exempt 100 projects from judicial challenge based on the environmental law. Citing the ongoing recession, both supporters and opponents of the idea say this just might be the year that lawmakers are willing to take a bold strike at CEQA.
The Schwarzenegger administration's proposed state budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year promises more of the same, as the spending plan mostly mirrors the current year's version in regards to local government funding, infrastructure and land conservation.
State lawmakers have approved a bill that would exempt a proposed football stadium in the City of Industry from having to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act, as well as state planning and zoning law. While Gov. Schwarzenegger has signed the stadium bill, he has vetoed some of the year's most significant land use bills. Among them: two fire-safety planning bills; legislation funding regional and local planning; and a bill giving local government more authority over the conversion of mobile home parks to condominiums.