BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  SB 1124
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   June 29, 2010

                            Jared William Huffman, Chair
                SB 1124 (Negrete McLeod) - As Amended:  June 21, 2010

           SENATE VOTE  :   28-7
          SUBJECT  :   Land Conservation: Park Bonds: San Bernardino County

           SUMMARY  :   Authorizes San Bernardino County to exchange lands  
          purchased with state park bond funds if the county meets certain  
          requirements relating to conservation easements and deed  
          restrictions on lands retained and sold.  Specifically,  this  
          bill  :

          1)Authorizes San Bernardino County (County) to sell property it  
            owns within Chino Agricultural Preserve that was purchased  
            with grant funds from the California Wildlife, Coastal, and  
            Park Land Conservation Act of 1988 (Proposition 70) if the  
            following conditions are met:

               a)     The County conserves all lands and conservation  
                 easements acquired or dedicated in perpetuity for  
                 agricultural preservation and open space conservation  
               b)     The County, by April 1, 2011, places a deed  
                 restriction on each property it acquired with Proposition  
                 70 funds.  The deed restriction shall be for agricultural  
                 preservation and open space conservation, recorded with  
                 the county assessor, and remain in effect until either a  
                 conservation easement is recorded on the property or the  
                 county sells or exchanges the property.
               c)     The County uses all the proceeds for each sale only  
                 for acquisition of replacement land or conservation  
                 easements within the Chino Agricultural Preserve.   
                 Exceptions to this requirement may be granted only by the  
                 Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR).
               d)     The County adopts and implements a land plan that  
                 meets specified conditions.

          2)Requires the County to adopt a detailed land plan by December  
            31, 2011 that identifies each parcel acquired with Proposition  
            70 bond funds, and identifies the parcels which will be sold,  
            exchanged, purchased and retained.


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          3)Requires the detailed land plan to maximize connectivity of  
            lands to the extent feasible and practicable, to include an  
            environmental review in compliance with the California  
            Environmental Quality Act, and if the plan results in any net  
            loss of acreage or value, to identify additional land within  
            the Chino Agricultural Preserve to compensate for that loss.   
            Requires that the land plan and environmental review  
            demonstrate that there will be no net loss in acreage or  
            agricultural and open space value, and that the county acquire  
            or dedicate additional land or conservation easements within  
            the preserve if necessary to compensate for any loss by no  
            later than one year following the sale of the last property to  
            be disposed. 

          4)Requires that the plan be provided to DPR for review and  
            approval no less than 90 days prior to the county's adoption.

          5)Requires the County to hold a public hearing before the County  
            Board of Supervisors on the plan.

          6)Requires the County, by April 1, 2012, to record a  
            conservation easement for agricultural and open space purposes  
            on each property retained, and within 90 days of acquisition  
            on any property acquired.  Requires that the easements be in  
            perpetuity and approved by DPR.

          7)Requires the County prior to closing any real property  
            transaction with respect to the land plan, to submit  
            independent appraisals to DPR for concurrence with state  
            appraisal standards, and requires that the County make the  
            appraisals available to the public.

          8)Provides that if the County fails to adopt a detailed land  
            plan by December 31, 2011 as required, the County may apply to  
            DPR for an extension of time.  If the county fails to complete  
            the plan, the county shall be required to record conservation  
            easements on all lands purchased with Proposition 70 bond  
            funds within the Chino Agricultural Preserve by June 1, 2012.   

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Proposition 70, approved by the voters in 1988, authorized  
            $776 million in general obligation bond funds for various land  


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            conservation purposes, including $185.4 million to DPR for  
            grants to local agencies, of which $20 million was allocated  
            to San Bernardino County for acquisition of land primarily  
            through the use of conservation easements within Chino  
            Agricultural Preserve.  Proposition 70 required any applicant  
            for grants under Proposition 70 to agree to maintain and  
            operate the property in perpetuity.

          2)AB 2063 (Negrete McLeod), Chapter 377, Statutes of 2004,  
            authorized the County of San Bernardino to sell property  
            acquired with Proposition 70 funds if proceeds from the sale  
            were used to acquire replacement land within Chino  
            Agricultural Preserve, and the county prepares a detailed land  
            plan approved by the Board of Supervisors, there is no net  
            loss of acreage or habitat value as a result of the exchange,  
            the county holds a public hearing, and the county receives an  
            independent appraisal of the lands to be sold and acquired and  
            makes these appraisals available to the public.   

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   Unknown

           COMMENTS  :   The author indicates the purpose of this bill is to  
          ensure that $20 million in public funds awarded to San  
          Bernardino County from Proposition 70 in 1988 are protected and  
          used in the manner intended by the voters by requiring deed  
          restrictions or conservation easements on the properties  
          acquired by the county to ensure the land is protected in  
          perpetuity.  When the county was awarded the funds, it agreed to  
          place any land it obtained under an agricultural conservation  
          easement.  The county also adopted a resolution stating its  
          intent to place easements on the property.   However, nearly 20  
          years later none of the approximately 370 acres purchased is  
          under any kind of easement or other deed restriction. Five years  
          ago the County indicated it desired to pursue a plan to  
          consolidate and replace some of the properties, as the  
          properties purchased with the Proposition 70 funds are not all  
          contiguous and have created isolated parcels, some of which lack  
          public access, diminishing their public value. Then-Assembly  
          Member Negrete McLeod authored legislation (AB 2063, Chapter  
          377, Statutes of 2004), authorizing a land swap, as long as the  
          land eventually retained by the county was placed under  
          easement.  To date such a plan has not been implemented.   

          Essentially, this bill permits the county to pursue a  
          land-consolidation/land-swap strategy, as long as the following  


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          conditions are met: 1) the county, by April 1, 2011, places a  
          temporary deed restriction on each of the properties it  
          purchased with the Proposition 70 funds, 2) the county develops  
          a detailed land plan within one year, identifying those lands it  
          intends to retain, and those it intends to sell or exchange, 3)  
          the county places conservation easements on the lands it intends  
          to retain, 4) the county places conservation easements on those  
          it acquires in exchange, and 5) the county demonstrates there  
          will be no net loss in acreage or agricultural and open space  

          The County of San Bernardino opposed the introduced version of  
          this bill and argued that the existing law (AB 2063) does not  
          give the county the flexibility needed to proceed with the  
          county's conceptual plan to build a Cultural Heritage Center  
          within the preserve.  The county indicates it is now working  
          with the author and the sponsor on this bill as amended, which  
          it generally agrees with in concept, but indicates the language  
          is still under review.

          In light of the fact that it has been over 20 years since the  
          county was granted the bond funds at issue, and this bill  
          represents the second legislative extension of time for the  
          county to come into compliance, the committee may wish to  
          consider whether additional remedies should be added for the  
          state to recoup the funds should the county fail to fully comply  
          within the timeframes laid out in this bill.      


          Planning and Conservation League
          California Council of Land Trusts
          County of San Bernardino

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Diane Colborn / W., P. & W. / (916)