BILL ANALYSIS SENATE LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE Senator Dave Cox, Chair BILL NO: AB 1962 HEARING: 6/9/10 AUTHOR: Chesbro FISCAL: No VERSION: 6/7/10 CONSULTANT: Detwiler REGIONAL OPEN SPACE DISTRICTS' PROPERTY Background and Existing Law Regional park and open space districts have broad statutory authority to acquire real and personal property, including property interests such as easements. These districts usually need majority-voter approval before they can convey interests in real property that's dedicated for parks or open space. When cities and counties approve proposed development projects, they can impose conditions, including the dedication of land or the payment of impact fees. Developers often need years to fulfill these conditions. Sometimes cities and counties require property owners to donate land or easements to regional park and open space districts. Some districts wait until it's certain that a project will succeed before they accept a developer's offer to dedicate land or easements. Governed ex officio by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District asks property owners to follow an existing law for offering dedications to cities and counties. With the city or county's consent, the property owner may make an irrevocable offer to dedicate real property. The city or county can accept the dedication any time after the property owner formally records the irrevocable offer. The city or county can abandon the offer if it follows prescribed statutory procedures. In Sonoma County, the property owner irrevocably offers the dedication of an easement to the County of Sonoma and later the Board of Supervisors accepts the offer. The County then transfers the easement to the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District. Officials want to streamline this process by having the property owners make their irrevocable offers directly to the District. AB 1962 -- 6/7/10 -- Page 2 Proposed Law Assembly Bill 1962 allows property owners to make irrevocable offers of dedication of real property or interests in real property to a regional park and open-space district, with the consent of the district's board of directors. The property owner must formally record the offer in the same manner as a real property conveyance. Once recorded, the offer is irrevocable and the district's board may accept it at any time. AB 1962 allows a district's board of directors to terminate an offer of dedication by majority vote only if the board makes two findings: The offer was never accepted and, therefore, the offer's termination does not constitute a conveyance of an interest in real property dedicated for park and open space purposes. Now or in the future, the district cannot effectively use the real property or interest in real property for park or open space purposes. The bill declares that its procedures are an alternative to other laws. Comment Direct action . To streamline the development process, AB 1962 allows property owners to make irrevocable offers of dedication directly to regional park and open space districts, avoiding the complication of going through county governments. Patterned after the statutory procedures that are available to cities and counties, the bill avoids unnecessary bureaucratic maneuvers. These procedures protect both private property rights and the public interest. Assembly Actions Assembly Local Government Committee: 9-0 AB 1962 -- 6/7/10 -- Page 3 Assembly Floor: 76-0 Support and Opposition (6/3/10) Support : Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, California Coalition of Land Trusts, Cities of Cloverdale, Cotati, Healdsburg, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, Sonoma, Windsor. Opposition : Unknown.