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Central Coast Section News

Legislative Update - September 2017
September 11, 2017

Written by John Terrell, AICP, Vice President Policy and Legislation; Sande George, APA California Lobbyist; Lauren De Valencia y Sanchez, APA California Lobbyist

End of Session Nearing with Major Bills Still in Play: The 2017 Legislative Session will end on September 15th. APA California is continuing to actively lobby bills of concern that are still working their way towards the Governor, and supporting those that APA would like the Governor to sign. Once session ends, all bills that pass will be sent to the Governor – he must sign or veto those bills by October 15th. All other bills that don’t pass will become two-year bills and can be brought up again next year. It’s important to note that many bills that APA California opposed earlier in the year have already become two-year bills.  We expect them to move again next year. 

Because this article will be released before the end of session, please make sure to attend the annual Legislative Update Session at the APA California Conference for an update on what happened to important bills.

Housing Package Still Under Discussion: While the Governor didn’t directly include any monies in the 2017-2018 budget for affordable housing, he did ask the Legislature by the end of the year to send him bills to streamline the local approvals of housing. Over 130 housing bills were introduced in January. The Governor recently engaged on all of the major housing bills, and has been working with the Assembly and Senate Leadership and authors on a housing package of bills that will be heard on the floors and then sent quickly to the Governor any day now. APA California has weighed in on many of the big housing bills throughout the session and continue to do so. Additionally, along with our local government association partners, and a coalition of other organizations interested in housing, we have met with the Governor’s office to express concerns with various bills thought to be part of that package. While we know that SB 2, SB 3 and SB 35 (details below) are all included, there has been no confirmation on the full list of bills that will be in the final housing package that has been blessed by the Governor.

As you will see (below), the housing package does include funding for housing and planning, but the majority of the bills require substantial new requirements on local governments when approving housing development – the “streamlining” portion of the package is once again all new city and county mandates. Many of the streamlining bills are substantially less onerous than introduced, a good number as a result of APA-suggested amendments inserted in these measures.  But -- many of those bills have received last-minute amendments or continue to contain vague new requirements, new terms and processes that conflict with existing planning laws or make local housing approvals and housing element law more difficult to implement, and detailed new requirements that will not result in any new housing but will add substantially to local reporting mandates. 

Last Minute SB 35 Amendments Upend General Plan and Zoning Law: SB 35, which would provide a new developer-option for ministerial approval of housing based on RHNA “compliance”, is an example of both unbalanced and last-minute amendments that have found their way into these housing measures.  Authored by Senator Wiener from San Francisco, APA has a support if amended position on the bill.  It is currently in the Assembly Rules Committee, and is expected to be a key bill in the Governor’s streamlining portion of the housing package.  It requires cities and counties to offer to developers a new ministerial approval process for developments that meet certain conditions, including inclusionary units and prevailing wage, if a local agency does not “meet” its RHNA by income level.  The bill also adds new requirements to the annual report, including the number of units entitled. Although APA is supportive of streamlined housing approvals, the bill must be amended to allow for a fair and reasonable process. Please contact Senator Wiener’s office and your Senator and Assembly Member in support of APA’s suggested amendments below:

TRIGGER FOR MINISTERIAL REVIEW BASED ON ACTIONS BEYOND CITY OR COUNTY CONTROL: SB 35 unfortunately imposes consequences on a city or county based on actions beyond their control and that can only be completed by the developer.  The trigger for the ministerial approval process should be based on the number of entitled and approved applications, a process that local agencies control, rather than building permits, which developers will not pull until they are ready to construct a project entitled by a local government.  A local government can’t turn down a building permit except under extremely limited circumstances. This puts the consequences on the local agency even though they can’t control the reason for those consequences.

NEW AMENDMENTS OVERTURN ZONING LAW: New language added to the bill, although designed to re-state existing law, instead completely changes existing zoning law by allowing either the General Plan or zoning to apply to sites, mixing in design standards, and using terms and concepts that are vague and inconsistent with existing Housing Element and Density Bonus law, and the Housing Accountability Act. It’s one thing if the zoning is inconsistent because (for instance) it has not been updated to reflect the General Plan, in which case the General Plan does and should control – that is existing law.  But if the standards have been updated and are actively designed to implement the General Plan, this bill should not require local agencies to ignore zoning just because someone deems those zoning standards are somehow “inconsistent” or not “compliant” – a new term - with the plan. “Inconsistent” as meant in existing law does not mean “the same”. The bill must be amended to fix these sections so they are not in conflict with existing law governing zoning, density bonuses, and Housing Element site requirements, while still keeping the goals of the new language.  Those amendments are below:

  • Amend S. 65913.4 (5)(A) to be consistent with the definition of “maximum allowable residential density” in S. 65915 (o)(2) in the Density Bonus Law. (A) A development shall be deemed consistent with the objective zoning standards related to housing density, as applicable, if the density proposed is compliant with the maximum density allowed within that land use designation, notwithstanding any specified maximum unit allocation that may result in fewer units of housing being permitted. does not exceed themaximum allowable residential density.  "Maximum allowable residential density" means the density allowed under the zoning ordinance, or, if the density allowed under the zoning ordinance is inconsistent with the general plan, the general plan density applicable to the project. For the purpose of this subsection, the “general plan density applicable to the project” means the greater of the density allowed in the land use element or specified in the housing element of the general plan.
  • Amend S. 65913.4 (5)(B) to be consistent with the Housing Accountability Act S. 65589.5 (d)(5)(A) and Housing Element law. (B) In the event that objective zoning, general plan, or design review standards are mutually inconsistent, a development shall be deemed consistent with the objective zoning standards pursuant to this subdivision if the development is consistent with the standards set forth in the general plan.
  • (B) In the event that zoning for a proposed development site is not consistent with the general plan, a development shall be deemed consistent with the objective zoning standards related to housing density pursuant to this subdivision if the density of the proposed development is consistent with the density specified in the housing element, even though it is inconsistent with both the jurisdiction’s zoning ordinance and general plan land use designation.
  • Delete the addition to S. 65913.4 (C) that would allow zoning OR the General Plan designation and make language consistent with above: (C) A site that is zoned for residential use or residential mixed-use development development, or designated for residential use or residential mixed-use development in the housing element, or has a general plan designation that allows residential use or a mix of residential and nonresidential uses, with at least two-thirds of the square footage of the development designated for residential use.

How You Can Get Involved: As bills are making their way through hearings, APA California has been sending letters to the authors in support or opposition of 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 remaining major housing 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 

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

  • Position: Support if Amended – May Be Part of the Governor’s Housing Package
  • Location: On Senate Floor
  • 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 (from the short 30 days in ther bill to up to 120 days depending on the actions required), 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 most likely 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: On Senate Floor/On Assembly Floor
  • These bills make a number of changes to the Housing Accountability Act (HAA). Originally, both bills (which are now 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 now amended, the bill is in better shape. Due to all of the amendments taken by the authors, APA was ready to remove our opposition to the HAA portion of these bills.  Unfortunately, as part of the Governor’s Housing Package, new amendments have been inserted that APA opposes and need amendment:
    • The new definition of “lower density’ “includes conditions that have the same effect or impact on the ability of the project to provide housing.” This requirement isn’t clear.  Instead, it should read: “lower density” includes conditions that have the effect of lowering density.
    • The ability of a judge to increase fines if a city or county fails to make “progress in meeting its target RHNA” should be changed to instead allow increased fees based on an accounting of applications received and applications approved/entitled.  There is no requirement for a city or county to build housing to meet the RHNA. 

AB 879 – New Housing Element Mandates

  • Position: Oppose Unless Amended – May Be Part of the Governor’s Housing Package
  • Location: On Senate Floor
  • Recent amendments to AB 879 have moved our position from support to oppose.  They should be removed:
    • Requires mitigation fees to be substantially reduced through a new HCD report without providing other funding for services and infrastructure to serve new development, and undermines a US Supreme Court Decision. California’s existing Mitigation Fee Act implements the US Supreme Court’s requirement that local infrastructure fees must be based on the impact of a project and only cover the cost of the infrastructure necessary to serve the project. This bill will undermine that US Supreme Court decision. Additionally, a blanket statement for HCD to complete a report to “substantially” reduce fees – a conclusion before the report is even begun - will not fund infrastructure and services needed to serve new housing.
    • Adds 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. All ordinances could be determined to impact the cost of housing including critical ordinances like utility infrastructure such as sewer and water connection fees not under the control of local governments; drought requirements; building and fire code requirements like fire sprinklers; lighting; fencing; and, road and other infrastructure improvements.If there is something of specific concern, that should be addressed directly rather than requiring a review of every single local ordinance.
    • Imposes 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 – May Be Part of the Governor’s Housing Package
  • Location: On Senate Floor
  • This bill would place 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 have already been removed. However, many remain and would make finding adequate sites extremely difficult in future planning periods. APA is requesting the following amendments:
    • Ensure that built-out cities are able to identify adequate sites, as the bill places severe restrictions on the designation of sites to be redeveloped.
    • Clarify that utility requirements can be determined based upon the information provided to the city and county by the utility provider.
    • Eliminate a new amendment requiring 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/SB 277 – Restoration of Inclusionary Housing Authority for Rental Units

  • Position: Support – May Be Part of the Governor’s Housing Package
  • Location: On Senate Floor/On Assembly Floor
  • 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. Unfortunately, the Governor has expressed concerns that this bill could increase the cost of housing and has not yet decided if they should be included in his final housing package.

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

  • Position: Oppose – May Be Part of the Governor’s Housing Package
  • Location: On Senate Floor
  • 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 be 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: On Assembly Floor
  • This bill would provide a permanent source of funding of about $225 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: On Assembly Floor
  • This measure would authorize a $4 billion general obligation bond for housing, which would go to voters for approval in 2018.

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

  • Position: Support if Amended – May Be Part of the Governor’s Housing Package
  • Location: On Assembly Floor
  • This bill would mandate that cities and counties implement a rolling adequate sites and rezoning requirement by income level, rather than total units. 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 continuous 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. We have asked for two amendments:
    • Provide the option of less onerous alternatives to the continuous rezonings by allowing cities and counties to rezone sites designated as suitable for affordable housing just once in the planning period, in year 4, if the number of sites that can accommodate affordable housing goes below 50% of the RHNA, or require market rate multi-family housing approved on affordable sites to include an inclusionary requirement similar to that in former RDA law.
    • For rezonings that are subject to CEQA, the 180-day rezoning time limit should be extended by the number of days, if any, required by CEQA. The 180-day time period to complete the rezoning is too short to accommodate any necessary review of CEQA.

SB 649 – Small Cell Wireless Infrastructure Permitting and Mandatory Leasing

  • Position: Oppose
  • Location: On Assembly Floor  
  • This bill effectively eliminates public input and full local environmental and design review of small cells, mandates the leasing of publicly owned infrastructure for small cells infrastructure, and eliminates the ability for local governments to negotiate leases or any public benefit for the installation of “small cell” equipment on taxpayer funded property.  Specifics of the bill are as follows:  
    • Discretionary approval of small cell permits is only allowed in the coastal zone and in historic districts. All other areas must process these permits through either a building or encroachment permit.
    • There is limited ability to apply design standards for property in the right of way, and those provisions are conflicting and difficult to interpret.
    • Small cell dimensions defined in the bill are still very large and don’t include all associated equipment needed to support the small cells.
    • Mandatory leasing of public property at prescribed fees is required. Fees for leasing of public property would be 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 barely cover maintenance costs.

APA California believes SB 649 will set a dangerous precedent for other private industries to seek similar treatment. APA California, along with other local government associations and many cities/counties continue to remain opposed. While many amendments have been made to the bill since its introduction, they have not addressed issues raised by the opposition and many have been so ambiguous and vague they have raised additional concerns. This bill should be made a two-year bill to allow more time for a meaningful discussion on the issues and a fair local process.  

Some Cities have put forward proposed amendments to the bill, all of which have been refused by the sponsors of the bill. The coalition of local government opposition continues to grow, the Teamsters and the Labor Federation are now also opposed, and the list of individual cities and counties registering opposition has increased substantially in recent months. The Department of Finance recently took an oppose position on the bill and meetings have been held with the Governor and his staff to discuss the bill’s detrimental impacts. The bill has also been heavily covered by the press, with nearly every major editorial board coming out in opposition to the bill. With this substantial opposition, we are continuing to actively lobby against the bill and will be asking the Governor to veto SB 649 should it reach his desk.

OTHER IMPORTANT HOT BILLS 

AB 73 – New Housing Sustainability Districts. Position: Support. Location: Senate Floor.

AB 352 – Efficiency unit requirements. Position: Support. Location: Assembly Floor.

AB 494 – Assessory dwelling unit clean up. Position: Watching for substantive amendments. Location: Senate Floor.

AB 565 – Alternative building standards for artists. Position: Watch. Location: Two-Year Bill.

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: Senate Rules Committee.

AB 1404 – CEQA infill exemption. Position: Support. Location: Two-Year Bill.

AB 1414 - Solar energy system permitting. Position: Oppose. Location: Senate Floor.

AB 1521- Notice of Loss of Assisted Housing Developments. Position: Support. Location: Senate Floor.

AB 1568 – New sales tax option and streamlining for Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts. Position: Support. Location: Senate Floor.

SB 80 – CEQA Notices. Position: Watch. Location: Assembly Floor.

SB 229 – Assessory dwelling unit clean up. Position: Watching for substantive amendments. Location: Assembly Floor.

SB 431 – Assessory dwelling code compliance for permitting. Position: Concerns. Location: Two-Year Bill. 

SB 540 – Workforce Housing Opportunity Zones. Position: Support.. Location: Assembly Floor.

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.

Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, MSA Makes Top Ten List of Sustainable U.S. Cities
August 17, 2017

Oxnard, California.  The Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) ranked number eight on the first-ever U.S. Cities Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Index published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network – A Global Initiative for the United Nations.

“We are very pleased and excited to be a national leader in achieving sustainable development goals for our residents,” stated Mayor Tim Flynn.  “As Mayor and member of the city council, it is great to have an independent group make this assessment and provide recognition for our efforts.  I am especially proud to have Oxnard listed as number 2 in achieving the ‘Zero Hunger’ goal and number 9 in achieving the ‘Decent Work and Economic Growth’ goal.  It shows we are making great progress in helping our residents prosper.”

The 2017 U.S. Cities Sustainable Development Goals Index follows a 2016 first-ever Global SDG Index which ranked the U.S. 25th among all countries pursing the SDGs.

The U.S. Cities Sustainable Development Goals Index uses 17 SDGs, a set of goals agreed to by the U.S. and 192 other nations in 2015, as a “lens to examine progress towards sustainable development in the 100 most populous U.S. cities.”  The U.S. Cities SDG Index aims to help urban leaders address the many sustainable development challenges affecting their cities.  The index covers the 100 most populous cities (measured as MSAs) and synthesizes data available today across 49 indicators spanning 16 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that were agreed upon by all countries in September 2015.

A copy of the “Achieving A Sustainable Urban America” Report can be downloaded at http://unsdsn.org/news/2017/08/10/first-ever-u-s-cities-sdg-index-ranks-american-cities-based-on-sustainability-performance/

By Jesus Nava, City of Oxnard

 

Recap of Discussion on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) with State Senator Bob Wieckowski
September 11, 2017

Recap of Discussion on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) with State Senator Bob Wieckowski

From the American Institute of Architects, Santa Barbara Chapter.This article is a re-posting of a communication from AIA Santa Barbara

California Senate Bill No. 1069 came into effect on January 1, 2017.  This law encourages the creation of small, second dwelling units (“accessory dwelling units”, ADUs) in properties with single-family residences throughout the State of California.  Local jurisdictions statewide are currently in the process of writing zoning ordinances to comply with the state mandate. 
 
At the request of the Santa Barbara AIA (American Institute of Architects) and SBCA (Santa Barbara Contractor's Association) the bill’s author, California Senator Bob Wieckowski came to Santa Barbara to provide background on the legislation and its intent.  With him came Greg Nickless, Housing Policy Analyst with the State Housing & Community Development (HCD), the agency in charge of housing needs, planning and building standards.
 
The hall was packed with over 250 people: architects, planners, agency representatives, builders, developers, neighborhood activists but, most of all, an overwhelming number of homeowners.  Introducing Senator Wieckowski Architect Ellen Bildsten noted that the City of Santa Barbara approved a total of 16 ADUs between 2002 and 2016 but, in the seven months since SB 1069 became effective, the City received 124 applications.
 
Senator Wieckowski described the basic premise of his bill: California is in the midst of a severe housing crisis that threatens the economy of the state, exacerbated by an overzealous regulatory system that deprives homeowners of the ability to fully develop their property. SB 1069 is designed to protect a homeowner’s right to an accessory unit (“granny flat”) that has been restricted over the years by an expanding plethora of zoning requirements coupled with disproportionately high utility charges and development fees.  
 
The previous ADU state ordinance enacted in 2002 was eviscerated by the workings of “clever” local agencies that crafted ordinances with unsurmountable requirements and fees designed to kill their implementation.  Highest in this regard are parking requirements which SB 1069 greatly reduces or eliminates altogether. Ditto with the conversion of garages and other accessory structures that are “legal, non-conforming” because they encroach into setbacks. Gone are restrictions on parcel size, too. But perhaps the most sensitive issue to this audience is the classification of ADU permits as “ministerial” (no public hearing required) as opposed to “discretionary” (Single Family Design Review, Landmarks Commission, environmental analysis).
 
According to Wieckowski, ADUs are not going to resolve the housing crisis by themselves but they will be one important part of the solution.  There are eight million single family dwellings in California; if 5% of them take advantage of this program, it would create 400,000 new housing units.  This will require no new infrastructure and, given the limited size of these units, will lead to a substantial supply of affordable (or less expensive) housing with no government subsidies.
 
Several members of the audience expressed concern about the removal of design review, especially for historic structures; removal of parking requirements; affordability of ADUs; and potential to convert them to vacation rentals.  The Senator was strikingly brief, direct and unequivocal with his answers:

  • Design review:  “Trust the homeowners: They are not going to put up schlock next to their own home.  People who buy a historic home would want to protect it. Cities should be proactive and develop design guidelines that can be applied in a ministerial process. They should have designs available and check boxes to help guide the desired outcome.”
  • Not enough parking: “I don’t care! Parking is not a state priority. The location of ADUs in built-up areas minimizes car use. You need to be creative and figure out solutions.”
  • Affordability: “ADUs are small and their sheer numbers will soften the vacancy rate and balance the market –to a certain degree. And this will require no government funds!”
  • Conversion to vacation rentals: “Enforcement is a local responsibility, not the State’s.”
  • The majority of speakers expressed their frustration with required utility hook ups and fees; special district and development impact fees; long delays in the approval process; homeowners’ associations restrictions; and limitations on high fire, coastal and multi-family zones.  
  • Utility and Special District fees: “They need to be proportional to the structure. Fees cannot be levied on ADUs as a primary residence because they are accessory. Fees for hooking up to an existing septic system are not allowed.” (This was echoed by the HCD representative.)
  • Approval delays:  “The law requires an approval within 120 days; that is the timeline for the whole approval process, not 120 days for the Planning Department, another 120 days for the Building Department, and another 120 days for whatever comes next. On the 121st day, take the permit request to court.”
  • Homeowners Associations restrictions: “That is so sad! But the law does not apply to HOAs.”
  • High Fire Zones:  A community like Montecito cannot restrict ADUs completely because it is within a high fire zone. There needs to be a rationale documenting the reason for the restriction.
  • Coastal Zones:  HCD is working on the interpretation and legalities of the exclusion. This may need an amendment to the law.
  • Existing single family residences in multi-family zones:  The proposal by the City of Santa Barbara to limit ADUs to single family and duplex zoned properties ONLY is not what SB 1069 dictates. An existing, legal, single family residence in any zone qualifies for an ADU.
     

Greg Nickless indicated that HCD has received hundreds of inquiries and it will be updating its December, 2016 memorandum with additional interpretations of the ordinance.  Senator Wieckowski closed the meeting with a simple advice that sounded almost like a warning to local authorities writing their ADU ordinances:  “Embrace the law! What is a reasonable ordinance? If you do not do something that works, Sacramento will act again.”

 

APA California Legislative Update
July 30, 2017

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

July 2017

By John Terrell, AICP, Vice President Policy and Legislation, Sand George, APA California Lobbyist, and Lauren De Valencia y Sanchez, APA California Lobbyist

 

Many Important Planning-Related Bills Still in Play

APA California remains very busy working on hundreds of planning-related bills that are moving through the Legislature. With the first major deadline to pass all bills out of their house of origin behind us, many problematic bills continue to move to the other house. While APA California has been successful in negotiating amendments to several important housing-related bills, others including those related to housing and to permitting of small cell wireless infrastructure, continue to move despite substantial opposition – APA California is working very hard to put the brakes on those 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. 

2017-2018 Budget and Cap and Trade  

On June 15th, legislators and the Governor reached an agreement on the 2017-2018 budget. While there wasn’t any reference to the Cap and Trade extension in the budget deal, the Governor did later reach an agreement with the legislature on July 17th by passing AB 617, AB 398 and ACA 1 – this legislative package establishes a comprehensive, statewide program to address air pollution in neighborhoods with poor air quality. The new program will require neighborhood air monitoring and targeted community action plans that require pollution reductions from mobile and stationary sources for greenhouse gases, and criteria and toxic pollutants. The legislation also mandates that large industrial facilities upgrade their old equipment with cleaner, more modern technology by December 2023 and increases penalties for violations of emission requirements.

The other main feature of the package is the extension of the state’s cap-and-trade program to meet its SB 32 target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

 

Housing Package

While the Governor didn’t directly include any monies in the 2017-2018 budget for affordable housing, he did ask the Legislature by the end of the year to send him bills to streamline the processing of housing. Over 130 housing bills were introduced in January. The Governor recently engaged on all of the major housing bills, and has put together a list of bills he wants to see in a housing package. He intends to ask for a quick vote when the Legislature returns from its summer recess on August 21st. APA California will be working closely with other local government associations to help influence that package and continues to work with a broad housing coalition to ensure that any housing package includes a balance of funding for affordable housing, planning and infrastructure to support housing, as well as reasonable streamlining changes. PLEASE WATCH YOUR EMAILS FOR AN ALERT ON THE GOVERNOR’S HOUSING PACKAGE! The package of the Governor’s preferred bills are listed below in this article.

 

How You Can Get Involved

As bills are making their way through hearings, APA California has been sending letters to the authors in support or opposition of 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 more information on all of the housing 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 – please feel free to use these as templates for your own jurisdiction/company letters. 

 

UPDATES ON MAJOR HOT BILLS

 

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

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

Location: On Senate Floor

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, but suggested amendments now in the bill to limit the statutes that HCD can use to determine noncompliance to failure to adopt a housing element, failure to complete promised rezonings, failure to provide and maintain adequate sites, provision of SB 2 zoning for emergency shelters, transitional housing and supportive housing, adoption of a reasonable accommodation ordinance, and adoption of a density bonus ordinance. All of these are violations of clearly defined provisions of law. The bill was also amended at APA’s request require that HCD notify cities and counties of its concerns/potential violations before referring or beginning any finding of noncompliance action and to provide a chance for the city or county to cure the violation to avoid the noncompliance finding.  The bill however still needs amendments to allow more time to cure (from 30 days to up to 120 days depending on the actions required), and to apply similar due process and curing requirements to AG enforcement actions.

 

AB 686 – CA Affirmatively Further Fair Housing Law

Position: Support if Amended to Mirror Federal Regs - Part of the Governor’s Housing Package

Location: Senate Transportation & Housing Committee

This bill would require 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 go way beyond federal regulations.  APA submitted amendments to pare back the bill to include only the federal regulations in California law, but instead the bill was recently amended to state that in selecting meaningful actions to fulfill the obligation to affirmatively further fair housing, the bill does not require a public agency to select, or prohibit a public agency from selecting, any one particular action. The bill was a two-year bill, but may be resurrected as part of the Governor’s Housing Package.

 

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: On Senate Floor/Assembly Rules

These bills make a number of changes to the Housing Accountability Act (HAA). Originally, both bills (which are now 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 now amended, the bill is in better shape but still changes the HAA standard of review from substantial evidence to preponderance of the evidence – a change APA opposed but have agreed now agreed to to ensure many other provisions of the bill were corrected and reasonable. And, as of now, the majority of those other sections that APA strongly opposed have been fixed, including: removal of the ability for a judge to impose automatic fines on jurisdictions that cure a violation pursuant to a judge’s order; removal of the ability of a court to approve a project that is the subject of a challenge; and elimination of a requirement that all conditions imposed “ensure that the project remains feasible” according to the applicant; and a provision that would have allowed a developer who had agreed to a condition or requirement to ignore that condition if the developer believed it was taken under pressured from the local government.  Due to all of the amendments taken by the authors, APA will be removing its opposition to the HAA portion of these bills.  Unfortunately, as part of the Governor’s Housing Package, new amendments have been inserted that APA opposes.

 

AB 1397 – Restrictions on Adequate Sites in Housing Element

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

Location: On Senate Floor

This bill would place 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 have already been removed. However, APA continues to work with the author and sponsors on additional amendments to ensure that built-out cities can identify adequate sites, and clarify the utility requirement provisions. Unfortunately, as part of the Governor’s Housing Package, new amendments have been inserted that APA opposes unrelated to the adequate sites provisions.

 

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

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

Location: On Senate Floor

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. This “deemed consistant” standard will allow the developer to determine consistency of a development with the General Plan and zoning – APA continues to oppose this change.

 

SB 35 – New Ministerial (By Right) Approval Process for Housing

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

Location: Assembly Rules

This bill establishes a ministerial approval process for developments that meet certain conditions.  If a development meets those conditions, including inclusionary housing requirements and payment of prevailing wage, then the project will be subject only to the specified ministerial approval and design review process and cannot be subject to a conditional use permit. The bill also adds new requirements to the annual report, including the number of units entitled. Although APA supports by-right housing approvals, this bill has been loaded down with requirements, costs and restrictions on eligible sites that will make the by-right provisions unlikely to be requested by developers for many parts of the state. APA is working with the housing coalition on amendments to make sure that the trigger for the by-right process is based on entitlements that a local agency controls rather than building permits pulled by the developer..

 

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

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

Location: Assembly Rules

This bill would mandate a number of new requirements on localities to implement a rolling adequate sites and rezoning requirement by income level, making the previous no-net loss provision a production requirement by income level. 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 planning period, the continuous requirement to rezone sites so that 100% of the sites are always available will be very expensive and difficult to implement by cities and counties, alert those in the area that don’t want affordable housing, and may actually lead to fewer units, particularly multifamily units, being produced.  APA has been working with the authors and sponsors of the bill to find a more reasonable alternative to continuous rezonings that will most likely require CEQA compliance, but has had no success to date.

 

SB 649 – Small Cell Wireless Infrastructure Permitting and Mandatory Leasing

Position: Oppose

Location: Assembly Appropriations Committee

This bill is a reincarnation of AB 2788 from 2016. The bill effectively eliminates public input and full local environmental and design review, mandates the leasing of publicly owned infrastructure for small cells infrastructure, and eliminates the ability for local governments to negotiate leases or any public benefit for the installation of “small cell” equipment on taxpayer funded property.  Specifics of the bill are as follows:  

 

  •    Discretionary approval of small cell permits are only allowed in the coastal zone and in historic districts. All other areas must process these permits through either a building or encroachment permit.
  • Limited ability to apply design standards for property in the right of way, and those provisions are conflicting and difficult to interpret.
  • Small cell dimensions defined in the bill are still very large and don’t include all associated equipment needed to support the small cells.
  • Mandatory leasing of public property at prescribed fees – Fees for leasing of public property would be 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 barely cover maintenance costs.

 

APA California also believes SB 649 will set a dangerous precedent for other private industries to seek similar treatment. APA California, along with other local government associations and many cities/counties continue to remain opposed. While many amendments have been made to the bill since its introduction, they have not been in direct consolation from opposition and many have only caused further concerns with ambiguous language, requiring more amendments in subsequent committees to fix the original amendments. At the very least, APA California believes this bill should be made a two-year bill to allow more time for a meaningful discussion on the issue and a fair process.  

 

HOUSING BILLS SUPPORTED BY APA 

  • SB 2 – Permanent source of affordable housing funding and funding for planning through document fee - Part of the Governor’s Housing Package
  • SB 3 – Housing bond - Part of the Governor’s Housing Package
  • AB 1505/SB 277 – Palmer Fix to allow inclusionary zoning for rental housing
  • AB 1521 – Notice of proposed changes to assisted housing developments - Part of the Governor’s Housing Package
  • AB 1568 – New sales tax option and streamlining for Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts

 

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.

Community Planning Assistance Team Completes Strategy for Downtown Revitalization
July 23, 2017

APA California has successfully completed its first Community Planning Assistance Team (CPAT) project.  The project was conducted for the small Central Valley city of Kingsburg, which requested assistance in preparing a revitalization strategy for its downtown. The results of this project are available within the report A Strategy for Downtown Kingsberg. It is the Hope of CPAT, that other municipalities will make use of their help in the future.

 As an APA Member, or fan of APA, consider spreading the word to municipalities and community groups who are in need of pro bono planning assistance. The program description and application form are on the California CPAT portion of the APACA website. Our members can also volunteer through the website.

Content and report provided by Bob Paternoster 

PDF icon A Strategy for Downtown Kingsberg
2020 Census Local Update of Census Addresses Operation to Begin
July 3, 2017

Starting in July, governments around the country will start the process of ensuring the accuracy of their address lists through the 2020 Census Local Update of Census Addresses operation. LUCA is a voluntary, once-a-decade opportunity for governments to add, correct or delete addresses on the lists and maps used to conduct the decennial census. An accurate and complete census helps governments plan for future infrastructure, program and service needs.

 On July 14, the U.S. Census Bureau will begin mailing invitation letters and registration forms to approximately 39,000 tribal, state and local governments across the nation to encourage them to participate in LUCA. This operation is the only opportunity governments have to review and improve the Census Bureau’s residential address list before the 2020 Census.

The Census Bureau relies on a complete and accurate address list to reach every living quarter and associated population for inclusion in the 2020 Census. Participation in LUCA helps ensure an accurate decennial census count in communities across the nation.

 

LUCA Participation

All LUCA participants receive:

  • A complete census address list for their jurisdiction to review and update
  • A list that contains the Census Bureau’s count of residential addresses for each census block within their government for reference
  • Census Bureau maps

Promotional workshops are underway, and starting in October, training workshops will offer “hands-on” experience using the LUCA materials. Self-training aids and webinars will also be available through the LUCA website. Beginning in February 2018, registered participants will receive materials to review the Census Bureau’s address list for their jurisdiction, and they will have 120 days to return their updates to the Census Bureau. Other LUCA milestones and information can be found in the 2020 Census detailed LUCA Information Guide.

 

Road to the 2020 Census

The goal of the 2020 Census is to count everyone once, only once, and in the right place. The Census Bureau is using expert resources and experience in and out of the government to make the 2020 Census a success. As census operations and testing move forward, the Census Bureau will continue to improve its innovations using mobile and geospatial technology, administrative records and self-response via the internet.

PDF icon LUCA Graphic
AICP Amnesty Program
June 26, 2017 to September 30, 2017

In an effort to encourage the retention of members whose membership may have lapsed due to the economic downturn, the AICP Commission is offering a special amnesty program. The program offers eligible former AICP members whose memberships lapsed between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2012, the opportunity to reinstate AICP membership without retaking the AICP Certification Exam.  

Eligible members have until September 30th, 2017 to complete the amnesty program requirements and reinstate their AICP status. Details available at planning.org/membership

County of Ventura Invites Public to Participate in General Plan Update
June 2, 2017

A Planning Commission Work Session No. 2 will be held on Thursday, June 8, 2017 at 5:30 PM in the Hearing Room of the Board of Supervisors, County Government Center, Hall of Administration, 800 South Victoria Avenue, Ventura, CA.

The General Plan Update team and project consultant, Mintier Harnish, will facilitate a Planning Commission Work Session to present and discuss the following:

  • Results from community outreach presented in the Assets, Issues and Opportunities Summary Report
  • General Plan Update Draft Background Report 
  • Input received to date from General Plan Update Focus Groups and the public on the Draft Background Report
  • Proposed Vision and Guiding Principles for the General Plan Update
  • Planning Commission input on items presented

For more details, visit the County General Plan Update website at vc2040.org

Paul Wack, AICP, Receives Impact Award at the 2017 Central Coast APA Awards
May 31, 2017

Written by Hollee King, AICP

On April 29, 2017, Paul Wack, AICP, received an Impact Award from the Central Coast Section of the American Planning Association, California (APACA).  The Impact Award was awarded to Paul for his Dedication and Commitment to the Planning Profession as a Professor, Colleague, Professional, Mentor, Volunteer, Contributor, and Friend”.  The Impact Award is a newly created award created by the Central Coast APACA and is the inaugural award for this type of honor. The Impact Award was given to Paul at the annual Planning Awards Event held by the Central Coast Section in beautiful Santa Barbara at the Cabrillo Arts Pavilion Center in East Beach. 

Each year, the annual Awards Event is held in one of the three tri-counties of the Section; Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura, rotating each year.  The celebration to honor him marked a “retirement” from teaching – a profession he has had for nearly 40 years.  However, he has repeatedly stated that this is just a “reload” while he follows new dreams and pursues other endeavors to spend more time travelling, time with friends, and even more volunteering.  He is a strong supporter of American Planning Association and Association of Environmental Professionals as well as the California Planning Foundation which awards scholarships to students in the planning field. 

An acoustical duo, Blue Hotel Room, played Paul’s favorite tunes while guests enjoyed the cocktail hour, with the final song of the hour was John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High”, Paul’s overall favorite songwriter and song.  The tribute started after the planning awards portion of the evening and included speakers that spoke about his years of commitment and service.  Speakers spoke about his roles as a professor, mentor, colleague, volunteer, and a friend. 

Mustaches on sticks were one of the party favors to pay homage to Paul and his mustache that he has had for as long as anyone can remember.  Another party favor was a green pen to everyone attending as Paul is infamously known as using green pen to grade his papers.  Guests used those green pens to write notes to Pual, wishing him well on the adventures ahead of him. 

Paul accepted his award to a standing ovation and was visibly moved by the evening's events.  He spoke about how he got started in planning while taking a geography class… “Three days into college I found a connection between maps and planning, thanks to my geography professor. My fate was set.  I found a career with people who cared about the land, other people, and the future. And I found a profession that brought me back home to the Central Coast, and all of you here became my family.  And I still get to play with maps!”

In the future, the award will be known as the “Paul Wack Impact Award” and will be given to recipients, as warranted, that have provided an extraordinary impact to the Central Coast APACA Section.

2017 Central Coast APACA Award Winners
May 31, 2017

On April 29, 2017, the annual APACA, Central Coast, Planning Awards Event was held in beautiful Santa Barbara at the Cabrillo Arts Pavilion Center in East Beach.  Each year the event is held in one of the three tri-counties of the Section; Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura, rotating each year.  Guests enjoyed hosted cocktails, beautiful music played by Blue Motel Room (go see them every Sunday at James Joyce), while watching the sunset on the beach.  Dinner was served while friends and colleagues continued to get reacquainted.  Five jurors presented the awards; there were seven Awards of Excellence and 2 Awards of Merit.  The Awards of Excellence awards are eligible to move on to the California Planning Awards so keep an eye out for them at the California APA Conference.  This year, we honored Paul Wack with an Impact Award.  Paul Wack has been part of the Central Coast Section for over 40 years and has been a professor, mentor, and colleague that has been teaching throughout California but mostly Cal Poly SLO and UCSB (See related story).  These are the 2017 winners:

2017 AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE

 

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN – LARGE JURISDICTION

Gaviota Coast Plan

County of Santa Barbara, Planning and Development

 

INNOVATION IN GREEN COMMUNITY PLANNING

Energy and Climate Action Plan

County of Santa Barbara, Planning and Development

 

PUBLIC OUTREACH

Los Alamos Pedestrian Circulation and Parking Plan

County of Santa Barbara Planning and Development and County of Santa Barbara Public Works Department

 

BEST PRACTICES

Ventura Botanical Gardens, Master Plan

City of Ventura Community Development Department and Ventura Botanical Gardens, Inc.

 

URBAN DESIGN

City of San Luis Obispo, Skate Park

City of San Luis Obispo Parks and Recreation and RRM Design Group

 

ACADEMIC AWARD

Midtown Ventura Wellness District, Urban Design Concept Plan

2016 MCRP Studio 553, City and Regional Planning, California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo

Instructor: Vicente Del Rio

 

HARD WON VICTORIES

Portside Ventura Harbor, Mixed-Use Project

City of Ventura, Community Development Department; Ventura Port District; Sondermann Partners

 

2017 AWARDS OF MERIT

 

BEST PRACTICES

City of Lompoc, Sign Code

Lisa Wise Consulting

 

ECONOMIC PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT

Hancock Terrace Apartments

The Towbes Group

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