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Recommended Reading | Where Population Declines but the Economy Grows
March 23, 2018

Where Population Declines but the Economy Grows

While the scale of Detroit's population loss is well known, the lesser known that the city's economy has grown steadily in recent decades. It's not alone.

March 17, 2018, 11am PDT | James Brasuell, published at StatChat

 

The presumption that population decline indicates a larger problem than it does is relevant in many parts of the country—like most of Virginia and cities like Buffalo and Pittsburgh. "Over the past ten years, both the Buffalo and Pittsburgh Metro areas experienced population decline while their per capita income levels rose more than some metro areas with the fastest growing populations in the country, including Orlando and Phoenix," explains Hamilton.

 

After digging deeper into the statistics of population decline end economic growth in counties around Virginia, Hamilton also suggests why it's important for communities with declining population to make a more honest assessment of their economy.

full article: http://statchatva.org/2018/03/13/is-population-decline-bad/

Leg News | Important Ballot Initiatives Regarding Local Government Revenue
March 23, 2018

APA California NEWS (02.28.2018) - LOCAL GOVERNMENT REVENUE
Important Ballot Initiatives Regarding Local Government Revenue

There are currently two statewide ballot initiatives proposed by business organizations that may be of major interest to APA California members. The initiatives would make it even more difficult to enact new fees and taxes at the local level – both are in the signature gathering process. Below are the summaries, including the link to the initiative language. APA will be watching these closely if/when they qualify for the ballot. Signature collection must be completed and sent to the Secretary of State’s office by May 11th, 2018 to qualify. The League of California Cities is assembling a coalition of organizations to likely oppose the initiatives and the APA California Board will be considering whether to sign onto that coalition should the initiative qualify. Please contact Lauren De Valencia y Sanchez at lauren@stefangeorge.com if you have any questions or comments.

Expands Requirement for Supermajority Approval to Enact New Revenue Measures.

  • Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

  • Summary Date: 01/26/18

  • Circulation Deadline: 07/25/18

  • Signatures Required: 585,407

  • Proponents: Robert Lapsley c/o Kurt Oneto (916) 446-6752

  • For new revenue measures, broadens definition of state taxes that would require approval by two-thirds supermajority vote of Legislature. For local governments, requires two-thirds approval of electorate to raise new taxes or governing body to raise new fees. Requires that state and local laws enacting new taxes specify how revenues can be spent. Heightens legal threshold for state and local governments to prove that fees passed without two-thirds approval are not taxes. Invalidates local taxes imposed in 2018, unless taxes meet criteria adopted by this measure. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Likely minor decrease in annual state revenues and potentially substantial decrease in annual local revenues, depending upon future actions of the Legislature, local governing bodies, voters, and the courts. Link to language: 17-0050.

 

Expands Requirement for Supermajority Approval to Enact New Local Government Revenue Measures

  • Initiative Constitutional Amendment

  • Summary Date: 01/26/18

  • Circulation Deadline: 07/25/18

  • Signatures Required: 585,407

  • Proponents: Robert Lapsley c/o Kurt Oneto (916) 446-6752

For local governments, requires two-thirds approval of electorate to raise new taxes or governing body to raise new fees. Requires that local laws enacting new taxes specify how revenues can be spent. Heightens legal threshold for local governments to prove that fees passed without two-thirds voter approval are not taxes. Invalidates local taxes imposed in 2018, unless taxes meet criteria adopted by this measure. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Potentially substantial decrease in annual local revenues, depending upon future actions of local governing bodies, voters, and the courts. Link to language 17-0051.

2018 California Planning Foundation Scholarship Application Available!
March 23, 2018
2018 California Planning Foundation Scholarship Application is now available!  This year, over $60,000 in scholarships will be distributed to outstanding planning students in California.
 
Please share this announcement widely through your contacts and planning networks, and be sure to highlight that the deadline for students to apply is 11:59 PM on April 30, 2018! More information is available at https://californiaplanningfoundation.org/scholarships/
 
Los Angeles Section CPF Liaison Cheryl Croshere will be hosting a FREE webinar on Tuesday, April 3rd at 5:30 PM for students to discuss the CPF scholarship application process and to answer questions. Registration to attend the webinar is required at: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/4236848600079014657
Cal Poly SLO's City and Regional Planning Department Marks its 50th Anniversary
February 24, 2018 to April 29, 2018

Written by Ray Hashimoto, AICP

The Department of City and Regional Planning (CRP) at Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo was established in the fall of 1968. The first home for the CRP Department classes and labs was Engineering West-Second floor, prime real estate on the Cal Poly campus nestled in among the School of Architecture, Business School and Engineering School buildings. This location is telling as it reflects how city planners must bridge the gap between many disciplines not only in the design world but also the business world outside academia. After a series of relocations on campus over the 50 years, CRP now resides back in Engineering West as it was in the beginning and is still fostering the relationships between the built environment and business. 

The first graduating class was comprised of 20 students, 19 men and 2 women; six faculty members supported the first CRP students. In comparison, there are now 39 undergrad students in this year's graduating class as well as 22 masters candidates. 29 female students and 32 male students which seem to mirror the rise of women in the profession of city and regional planning. Currently, the Department's staff and faculty has grown to 15. The City and Regional Planning Department has over 1,500 alumni that are practicing land use planning in the public and private sectors throughout California and the rest of the country.

Of course, the Cal Poly mantra "Learn by Doing" is very prevalent in the CRP curriculum. Urban design studio work, preparation of Master/Specific Plans, General Plans, Transportation and Sustainability and CEQA studies have always been front and center piece with this program. The City and Regional Program consistently ranks near the top of planning programs nationally ever year.

As a member of the Advisory Council for the CRP Department and a proud member of the class of 1981, I would like to invite all alums of our program to take part in the 50th Anniversary Celebration that will be held at the San Luis Obispo/Cal Poly Campus on April 27th and 28th 2018. Please visit the CRP Department websit at planning.calpoly.edu for further information on scheduled events, sponsorships and networking opportunities.

Cal Poly 50th 

PDF icon Cal Poly 50th Anniversary
Call for Nominations for 2018 APA Central Coast Awards
January 13, 2018 to February 23, 2018

The Central Coast Section of APACA is requesting planning award nominations for the 2018 Central Coast Planning Awards!  The deadline for nominations is close of business day on February 23, 2018. Submit a planning award nomination by reviewing and following the instruction on the Planning Awards 2018 Nomination Form.  

Categories and policies may be obtained at the APACA website at apacalifornia.org/events/awards-program where you will find more information on types of categories and projects the APACA and the Central Coast Section are looking for.  Projects should be located within the tri-county section and/or the firm or agency should be located within the tri-county area.  Projects receiving Excellence recognition are eligible to compete in the APACA State Awards program. 

Contact Hollee L. King, AICP, at holle@sitespacificplanning.com or 805-901-2261 for more information on the Central Coast Section’s Awards Program or to submit your nomination.

 Awards Nomination and Submission Details:

  • Nominations will be evaluated for the award category in which they were submitted. However, the Central Coast Section Award Jury may, upon majority vote, move a nomination to a different category, if appropriate.
  • Nominations are eligible to receive an Award of Excellence or an Award of Merit. Only one winner for each type of award per category. An Award of Excellence award is eligible to participate in the State APACA Awards Competition.
  • Award Winners will be notified. The level of award will not be announced until the Awards Program. Anyone not receiving an award will be notified as well.

Final Deadline For Submissions: February 23, 2018 

California Legislative Update - December 2017
January 1, 2018

2018 Legislative Predictions

The Legislative Session will resume on January 3rd, 2018. While 2017 was a very active year for housing and many other planning-related bills, we expect 2018 to be another busy year for APA California.  APA California is aware of various proposals that will be of interest to members – potential legislation is already being discussed on the following issues: impact fee reductions, clean up legislation for the housing package bills that were signed into law this year, further restrictions on accessory dwelling unit requirements, further limitations on parking minimums for housing developments, and a possible return of the small cell permitting bill. There are also a number of two-year bills (listed below) that will likely be moving again next year. 

Housing Package Implementation Webinar

APA California recently hosted a webinar to assist members in implementing the bills included in the Governor’s Housing Package. The PowerPoint slides are available online at the APA California website and the video recording is available at: https://www.gotostage.com/channel/075a5c61776c4057a6cd60732adf6db0/recording/beb9bd0bf5b24f64a3506c06eb883de1/watch

OPR Guidelines on CEQA

The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) recently released updated CEQA Guidelines (sent to APA members by a previous e-blast).  Among other things, the updated Guidelines include proposed amendments related to analyzing transportation impacts pursuant to SB 743 -- moving to vehicle miles traveled from level of service -- and proposed updates to the analysis of greenhouse gas emissions. Under the SB 743 changes in the Guidelines, the focus of transportation analysis will shift from driver delay to reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, creation of multimodal networks and promotion of a mix of land uses.


 

The following guidance documents related to the Guidelines are also now available:

  • A “Thematic Responses to Comments” document explaining some of the major themes in the comments that OPR received on this package and the thematic responses to those concerns, and all of the public comments received during the public review process.
  • A “Frequently Asked Questions” document answering some specific questions that OPR commonly received during the public review process.
  • A technical advisory on evaluating transportation impacts.
  • The technical research supporting the proposal. 

All of these documents and additional information are available on OPR’s website at http://opr.ca.gov/ceqa/updates/guidelines/.  Specific information about SB 743 is available at http://opr.ca.gov/ceqa/updates/sb-743/.

According to OPR, the next steps will be the start of the formal administrative rulemaking process by the Natural Resources agency under the Administrative Procedure Act. That rulemaking process will entail additional public review, and may lead to further revisions. After completing the rulemaking process, the Secretary for the Natural Resources Agency may adopt the changes. Changes would only go into effect after the Office of Administrative Law reviews and approves the changes.

Notice of future activity on the CEQA Guidelines will be posted on OPR’s website and distributed through the CEQA Guidelines List Serve. The Natural Resources Agency will also post updated information about the rulemaking process on its website.


 

How You Can Get Involved in Shaping APA California’s Legislative Positions

Next year, as bills are making their way through hearings and floor votes, APA California will be lobbying and sending letters to the authors and other members in support of or opposition to their measures.  We encourage you to participate in APA California’s Legislative Review Teams, whose members advise APA on legislative positions, potential amendments and key planning policies. Information on the Review Teams and sign up information are located on the APA California website legislation page. As always, we would also appreciate letters to legislators and the Governor from APA California members or their employers that are consistent with those positions. To review the letters, and for an alert on APA’s positions on all of the major planning-related bills, please go to the legislative tab on APA’s website at www.apacalifornia.com. All position letters will be posted on the APA California website “Legislation” page, which can be found here:  https://www.apacalifornia.org/legislation/legislative-review-teams/position-letters/. Position letters will continue to be posted here as they are written and updated – APA encourages you to use these as templates for your own jurisdiction/company letters. 

 

2017 TWO-YEAR BILLS EXPECTED TO MOVE IN 2018

AB 565 – Alternative building standards for artists

Position: Watch

 

AB 686 – California “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” law

Position: Support if amended

 

AB 865 – Amnesty for non-compliant live/work buildings

Position: Oppose

 

AB 1250 – County services contract restrictions

Position: Oppose

 

AB 1404 – CEQA infill exemption for counties

Position: Support

 

SB 431 – Accessory dwelling code compliance for permitting 

Position: Concerns 

 

SB 697 – Development impact fee reporting and restrictions

Position: Opposed

 

All Hot Bills

To view the full list of hot planning bills, copies of the measures, up-to-the minute status and APA California letters and positions, please continue to visit the legislative page on APA California’s website at www.apacalifornia.org.

"Young Planners Group" Changes Name to "Emerging Professional Planners"
November 5, 2017

Extra, Extra, Read All About It…. The Young Planners Group has a New Name!

The Central Coast Section of the American Planning Association recently changed the name of their Young Planners Group (YPG) to the Emerging Planning Professionals (EPP) Group!  The EPP experience is aimed at fostering professional development through an exchange of professional ideas, networking, and guidance between experienced planners and young planning professionals. Planning professionals who are new to the field, whether you have just finished your education or have made a career change, are welcome! The EPP includes Ventura County, Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County. Interested in joining the EPP? Contact your local EPP Coordinator!

VENTURA COUNTY EPP COORDINATOR

Kristina Roodsari Boero

kristina.boero@ventura.org

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY EPP COORDINATOR

Sara Kopp Tistaert, AICP

skopp@rinconconsultants.com

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY EPP COORDINATOR

Rachel Raynor

rcraynor@rrmdesign.com

Integrating Quantified Safety Evaluations in Project Planning hosted by Kettelson & Associates and SLOCOG
October 1, 2017 to November 3, 2017
Join safety experts from Kittelson & Associates, Inc. and SLOCOG staff for a three-part presentation on contemporary transportation safety evaluation practices.
 
  • What: Integrating Quantified Safety Evaluations in Project Planning
  • When: Wednesday, November 1st, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm (Lunch provided!!!)
  • Where: Caltrans District 5 Offices; Sand Conference Room; 2885 S. Higuera Street
  • RSVP and Reservation: Jeff Brubaker, SLOCOG,  jbrubaker@slocog.org. See flyer for details!
  • CM credits pending
PDF icon Transportation Safety Seminar - Nov 1 - FLYER
Central Coast Section Calls for Board Candidates!
October 30, 2017 to November 20, 2017
Lead the future of planning in our Central Coast communities! The Central Coast Section of the American Planning Association, California Chapter (APACA) is soliciting candidates from within its membership to run for positions on the Section's Executive Board of Directors.
Members of our Executive Board of Directors oversee exciting professional development activities throughout Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties, throughout the State of California, and nationally. Getting involved is a great way to connect with other professionals in your field and contribute to the quality of your profession.
Five open voting Executive Board of Directors positions with terms commencing in January 2017 will be elected by the membership in the coming months including: 
  • San Luis Obispo County Sub-Section Director
  • Santa Barbara County Sub-Section Director
  • Ventura County Sub-Section Director
  • Legislative Officer
  • Inclusion Officer
Learn more about the Central Coast Section's Planning Academy at centralcoastapa.org/central-coast-section-election or submit your candidate information now with the Candidate Statement Form.
California Legislative Update
October 17, 2017

APA California Legislative Update

October 2017

By John Terell, AICP, Vice President Policy and Legislation; Sande George, APA California Lobbyist; and Lauren De Valencia y Sanchez, APA California Lobbyist

Lots of Legislative Action in 2017

The 2017 Legislative Session ended on September 15th after a very busy year! APA California tracked over 250 planning-related bills and lobbied on many important bills, including the 15 measures in the Governor’s Housing Package and the “small cells” by right permitting bill. Many of these bills were reviewed in the Legislative Update session at the recent APA California Conference in Sacramento.  It’s important to note that many bills that APA California opposed earlier in the year became two-year bills but we expect them to move again next year.

 

Housing Package Implementation Webinar – Save the Date for November 9th

APA California will be offering a webinar to assist members in implementing the bills included in the Governor’s Housing Package. All the housing package bills were signed by the Governor - see housing package bills in red below for more information on these measures. The webinar has been scheduled from 10 am to noon on Thursday, November 9th. Speakers will include: John Terell, VP of Policy and Legislation for APA California, Barb Kautz, Goldfarb and Lipman LLP, Eric Phillips, Goldfarb and Lipman LLP and Sande George, APA California Executive Director and Lobbyist. Stay tuned for an e-blast announcement for more details.

 

How You Can Get Involved

As bills are making their way through hearings and floor votes, APA California has been sending letters to the authors and other members in support of or opposition to their measures.  As always, we would appreciate letters from members or their employers that are consistent with those positions. To review the letters, and for an alert on APA’s position on all of the major planning-related bills, please go to the legislative tab on APA’s website at www.apacalifornia.com. All position letters will be posted on the APA California website “Legislation” page, which can be found here:  https://www.apacalifornia.org/legislation/legislative-review-teams/position-letters/. Position letters will continue to be posted here as they are written and updated – APA encourages you to use these as templates for your own jurisdiction/company letters. 

 

UPDATES ON MAJOR HOT BILLS

Note: The 15 bills in the Housing Package are highlighted in red.

 

AB 72 – Housing Law Enforcement and Finding of Noncompliance by HCD

Position: Support if Amended – Part of the Housing Package

Location: Signed by the Governor

This bill provides the Attorney General with the authority to enforce housing statutes, and allows HCD to find a jurisdiction in non-compliance with Housing Element Law after initially finding the housing element in compliance. APA supports increased enforcement of housing element laws and other targeted housing statutes, and many of APA’s amendments were inserted into the bill.  But, the bill still needs amendments to allow more time to cure and to apply due process and curing requirements to AG enforcement actions similar to those added for HCD at APA’s request.

 

AB 686 – CA Affirmatively Further Fair Housing Law

Position: Support if Amended to Mirror Federal Regs – Two-Year Bill

Location: Senate Transportation & Housing Committee

This bill would have required a public agency, including cities, counties and regional agencies, to administer its programs and activities relating to housing and community development in a manner to affirmatively further fair housing, and to not take any action that is inconsistent with this obligation. Unfortunately, the requirements in the bill went way beyond federal regulations though that was the goal of the bill in case federal law in this area is eliminated.  APA submitted amendments to pare back the bill to include only the federal regulations in California law. The bill is now a two-year bill, and will move again in January.

 

AB 678/SB 167 – New Housing Accountability Act Enforcement Provisions

Position: Neutral on HAA portions of bills/Oppose amendments inserted as part of the Governor’s Housing Package 

Location: Signed by the Governor  

These bills make a number of changes to the Housing Accountability Act (HAA). Originally, both bills (which are identical) included requirements that local governments would not have been able to meet and would have imposed automatic fines for HAA violations without the ability to cure those violations.  As signed into law, the bill is in better shape. Due to all of the amendments taken by the authors, APA was ready to remove its opposition to the HAA portion of these bills.  Unfortunately, as part of the Governor’s Housing Package, new amendments were inserted that APA opposes and need amendment to clarify a new definition of “lower density”, and to remove new authority given to the judge to increase fines if a city or county fails to make “progress in meeting its target RHNA” since that is not a legal requirement.

 

AB 879 – New Housing Element Mandates

Position: Oppose Unless Amended – Part of the Governor’s Housing Package

Location: Signed by the Governor

Late amendments to AB 879 moved APA’s position from support to oppose.  The amendments: require mitigation fees to be substantially reduced through a new HCD review without providing other funding for services and infrastructure to serve new development; add substantial analysis to the housing element by requiring the analysis of governmental constraints in the housing element to include any ordinances that directly impact the cost and supply of residential development; and impose an unfunded mandate to be paid by fees imposed on new housing projects.

 

AB 1397 – Restrictions on Adequate Sites in Housing Element

Position: Oppose Unless Amended – Part of the Governor’s Housing Package

Location: Signed by the Governor

This bill places restrictions on the ability of cities and counties to designate non-vacant sites as suitable for housing development and would require all designated sites to have water, sewer, and utilities available and accessible to support housing development during the planning period.  Many of the most onerous requirements for these sites in the original versions of the bill were removed. However, many remain and would make finding adequate sites extremely difficult in future planning periods particularly for built-out cities.  Late amendments also require cities and counties to demonstrate local efforts to remove “non-governmental constraints” over which they have no control, including the cost of land or rental rates.

 

AB 1505 – Restoration of Inclusionary Housing Authority for Rental Units

Position: Support – Part of the Governor’s Housing Package

Location: Signed by the Governor

These bills clarify the Legislature’s intent to supersede the holding in the Palmer/Sixth Street Properties L.P. v. City of Los Angeles decision, to the extent that the decision conflicts with a local jurisdiction’s authority to impose inclusionary housing ordinances on rental projects. As inclusionary requirements are one of the few options cities and counties have to increase affordable rental housing, this is an important clarification. The Governor also added provisions specifying that the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has the authority to review an ordinance adopted or amended by a city or county after September 15, 2017, that requires as a condition of the development of residential rental units that more than 15% of the total number of units rented in a development be affordable to, and occupied by, households at 80% or less of the area median income if either of the following apply: a) The city or county has failed to meet at least 75% of its share of the regional housing need, as applicable for the above-moderate income category, prorated based on the length of time within the planning period pursuant to existing law, over at least a five-year period.  This determination shall be made based on the annual housing element report submitted to HCD, as specified; or, b) HCD finds that the jurisdiction has not submitted the annual housing report for at least two consecutive years.

 

AB 1515 – Deemed Consistent Standard for General Plan and Zoning Determinations in HAA

Position: Oppose – Part of the Governor’s Housing Package

Location: Signed by the Governor  

This bill specifies that a housing development project or emergency shelter is “deemed consistent, compliant, and in conformity with an applicable plan, program, policy, ordinance, standard, requirement, or other similar provision” if there is substantial evidence that would allow a reasonable person to conclude that the housing development project or emergency shelter is consistent, compliant, or in conformity, pursuant to the HAA.  APA has no problem with the “reasonable person” portion of this new standard.  However, the “deemed consistent” automatic approval should have been deleted - it goes too far and upends the accountability for local land use decision-making. AB 1515 will allow the applicant, rather than the local agency or a judge, to determine consistency of a development with the General Plan and zoning by allowing the applicant to provide contrary reasons why the project is consistent.  As a result, the issue will be whether a “reasonable person” could conclude that the project is consistent – not whether the city or county had substantial evidence to back up its conclusion.

 

SB 2 – Permanent Source of Affordable Housing Funding and Funding for Planning through Document Fee on Non-Housing Real Estate

Position: Support – Part of the Funding Portion of the Governor’s Housing Package

Location: Signed by the Governor

This bill provides a permanent source of funding of about $250 million per year for affordable housing, a portion of which will be available to use for local planning to accelerate housing production.

 

SB 3 – Housing Bond for Affordable Housing

Position: Support – Part of the Funding Portion of the Governor’s Housing Package

Location: Signed by the Governor

This measure authorizes a $4 billion general obligation bond for housing, which would go to voters for approval in 2018.

 

SB 35 – Developer Option for Ministerial Streamlining of Some Housing Projects

Position: Support if Amended - Part of the Governor’s Housing Package

Location: Signed by Governor

This bill requires cities and counties to offer to developers of some housing projects a new ministerial approval process if the projects meet a long list of conditions, including meeting “objective” planning standards.  It applies if a local agency does not “meet” its RHNA by income level.  It is triggered based on building permits issued, not entitled projects.It does allow the developer to choose any locally-adopted ministerial process, instead of the SB 35 process and requirements. To be eligible for streamlined approval, the project must be in an urban area; be zoned or have a general plan designation for residential use; not have contained housing occupied by tenants within 10 years; meet a long list of other physical specifications; provide specified levels of affordable housing and commit to paying prevailing wages or use a “skilled and trained workforce”. SB 35 also speeds up design review and other approval determination timelines for streamlined projects under the bill. Late amendments added to the bill before it was signed, that will need clean up next year, appear to override local zoning.

 

SB 166 – Expansion of No-Net Loss to Loss of Affordability

Position: Support if Amended - Part of the Governor’s Housing Package

Location: Signed by the Governor

This bill would mandate that cities and counties implement a rolling adequate sites and rezoning requirement by income level, rather than total units, by changing the existing “no net loss” provisions in state law. “No net loss” currently does not allow cities or counties to downzone sites or approve projects at less DENSITY than shown in the housing element unless enough sites remain to meet the regional housing need. SB 166 requires similar findings be made if sites are not developed for the INCOME category shown in the housing element. If there are not enough sites, the bill requires new sites to be rezoned within 180 days. It also extends the mandate to charter cities. Although APA agrees that no jurisdiction should be left with only a few or no sites that can accommodate affordable housing by the end of the housing element planning period, the remedy of numerous rezonings is an extremely onerous requirement for cities and counties -- there aren’t enough subsidies to build on 100% of sites designated for affordable housing and the HAA prevents jurisdictions from denying a market-rate housing project proposed on a site that is designated for affordable housing – a Catch 22. Additionally, the bill does not allow adequate time should a rezoning require CEQA.

 

SB 649 – By Right Small Cell Wireless Infrastructure Permitting and Mandatory Leasing

Position: Oppose 

Location: Vetoed by the Governor 

This bill would have eliminated public input and full local environmental and design review of small cells, mandated the leasing of publicly owned property for small cell infrastructure, and eliminated the ability for local governments to negotiate leases or any public benefits for the installation of small cell equipment on taxpayer funded property.  Specifics of the vetoed bill are as follows:  

  • Discretionary approval of small cell permits would have only been allowed in the coastal zone and in historic districts. All other areas would have had to process these permits through either a building or encroachment permit.
  • The bill would have provided extremely limited authority to apply design standards for property in the right of way, and those provisions in the bill were conflicting and difficult to interpret.
  • Small cell dimensions were defined in the bill but the definitions would have allowed very large cell infrastructure, and didn’t include all associated equipment needed to support the small cells. 
  • Cities and counties would have been mandated to lease public property at prescribed fees to private small cell companies. Fees for leasing of public property would have been set by using a formula for attachments to PUC poles, plus an additional $250 for the time to set up the fee structure.  After applying the formula, those fees would likely have barely covered maintenance costs.

 APA California also believes SB 649 would have set a dangerous precedent for other private industries to seek similar treatment. APA California, along with the League of California Cities, the California Association of Counties, the Rural County Representatives of California, the Urban Counties of California, as well as many individual cities/counties and associations strongly opposed this measure and worked very hard to ensure the Governor vetoed the bill. The Department of Finance also took an oppose position and the bill was heavily covered by the press, with nearly every major editorial board coming out in opposition to the bill. 

The Governor’s veto message can be found here: https://www.gov.ca.gov/docs/Sb_649_Veto_Message_2017.pdf

Though the bill was vetoed, there is a strong chance the industry will try again. Similar bills have been signed or introduced in many other states throughout the country and this issue is also being considered at the Federal level. And while the Governor’s veto message doesn’t shut the door on a chance to bring back more “balanced” legislation, based on their actions this year it is unlikely that a “balanced” approach would achieve industry’s goals. It is possible the wireless companies may wait to introduce a bill similar to SB 649 until after Governor Brown’s term ends next year.  As a result, APA California would advise jurisdictions to either adopt or update ordinances on permitting for wireless technology beyond macro towers and be prepared for these types of small cell permit applications. Given the industry’s claim that the newer small cells require denser and closer proximity to their customers, cities and counties can expect the see a major change in how communities will permit this new infrastructure. It will be important to be prepared for this change if or when similar one-sided legislation returns. 

But for now, APA California views the veto as a major victory for local government!

 

Other Important Hot Bills:

AB 73 – New Housing Sustainability Districts

Position: Support - Part of the Governor’s Housing Package

Location:  Signed by the Governor

 

AB 352 – Efficiency unit requirements

Position: Support

Location: Signed by the Governor

 

AB 494 – Accessory dwelling unit clean up

Position: Watching for substantive amendments

Location: Signed by the Governor

 

 

AB 565 – Alternative building standards for artists

Position: Watch

Location: Two-Year Bill 

 

AB 571 – Tax Credits for Farmworker Housing

Position: Support - Part of the Governor’s Housing Package

Location: Signed by Governor

 

AB 865 – Amnesty for non-compliant live/work buildings

Position: Oppose

Location: Two-Year Bill 

 

AB 1250 – County Personal Services Contracts Restrictions

Position: Oppose

Location: Two-Year Bill 

 

AB 1404 – CEQA infill exemption

Position: Support

Location: Two-Year Bill 

 

AB 1414 - Solar energy system permitting

Position: Oppose

Location:  Signed by the Governor

 

AB 1521- Notice of Loss of Assisted Housing Developments

Position: Support - Part of the Governor’s Housing Package

Location: Signed by the Governor  

 

AB 1568 – New sales tax option and streamlining for Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts

Position: Support

Location: Signed by the Governor

 

SB 80 – CEQA Notices

Position: Watch

Location: Vetoed by the Governor

 

SB 229 – Accessory dwelling unit clean up

Position: Watching for substantive amendments

Location: Signed by the Governor

 

SB 431 – Accessory dwelling code compliance for permitting 

Position: Concerns 

Location: Two-Year Bill

 

SB 540 – Workforce Housing Opportunity Zones

Position: Support - Part of the Governor’s Housing Package

Location: Signed by the Governor

 

SB 697 – Development impact fee reporting and restrictions

Position: Opposed

Location: Two-Year Bill 

 

All Hot Bills

To view the full list of hot planning bills, copies of the measures, up-to-the minute status and APA California letters and positions, please continue to visit the legislative page on APA California’s website at www.apacalifornia.org.

PDF icon APACA Legislitive Update 2017

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