Amended in Assembly May 5, 2015

Amended in Assembly March 26, 2015

California Legislature—2015–16 Regular Session

Assembly BillNo. 1268


Introduced by Assembly Member Steinorth

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(Principal coauthor: Assembly Member Kim)

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(Coauthors: Assembly Members Brough, Harper, Mayes, Olsen, and Wilk)

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February 27, 2015


An act to amend Section 21159.21 of the Public Resources Code, relating to the California Environmental Quality Act.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

AB 1268, as amended, Steinorth. California Environmental Quality Act: exemption for a housing project.

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) generally requires all state and local governmental lead agencies to prepare, or cause to be prepared by contract, and certify the completion of, an environmental impact report on any discretionary project that they propose to carry out or approve that may result in a significant effect on the environment, that is, a substantial, or potentially substantial, adverse change in the physical conditions that exist within the area that will be affected by the project. Under existing law, a housing project qualifies for an exemption from CEQA if certain requirements are met, including the requirement that the site is not located within the boundaries of a state conservancy.

This bill would eliminate the requirement that the site not be located within the boundaries of a state conservancy.

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: no. State-mandated local program: no.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

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SECTION 1.  

Section 21159.21 of the Public Resources Code
2 is amended to read:

3

21159.21.  

A housing project qualifies for an exemption from
4this division pursuant to Section 21159.22, 21159.23, or 21159.24
5if it meets the criteria in the applicable section and all of the
6following criteria:

7(a) The project is consistent with any applicable general plan,
8specific plan, and local coastal program, including any mitigation
9measures required by a plan or program, as that plan or program
10existed on the date that the application was deemed complete and
11with any applicable zoning ordinance, as that zoning ordinance
12existed on the date that the application was deemed complete,
13except that a project shall not be deemed to be inconsistent with
14the zoning designation for the site if that zoning designation is
15inconsistent with the general plan only because the project site has
16not been rezoned to conform with a more recently adopted general
17plan.

18(b) begin deleteCommunity-level end deletebegin insertA community-level end insertenvironmental review
19has been adopted or certified.

20(c) The project and other projects approved prior to the approval
21of the project can be adequately served by existing utilities, and
22the project applicant has paid, or has committed to pay, all
23applicable in-lieu or development fees.

24(d) The site of the project does not contain wetlands, does not
25have any value as a wildlife habitat, and the project does not harm
26any species protected by the federal Endangered Species Act of
271973 (16 U.S.C. Sec. 1531 et seq.) orbegin insert protectedend insert by the Native Plant
28Protection Act (Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 1900) of
29Division 2 of the Fish and Game Code), the California Endangered
30Species Act (Chapter 1.5 (commencing with Section 2050) of
31Division 3 of the Fish and Game Code), and the project does not
32cause the destruction or removal of any species protected by a
33local ordinance in effect at the time the application for the project
34was deemed complete. For the purposes of this subdivision,
35“wetlands” has the same meaning as in Section 328.3 of Title 33
P3    1of the Code of Federal Regulations and “wildlife habitat” means
2the ecological communities upon which wild animals, birds, plants,
3 fish, amphibians, and invertebrates depend for their conservation
4and protection.

5(e) The site of the project is not included on any list of facilities
6and sites compiled pursuant to Section 65962.5 of the Government
7Code.

8(f) The site of the project is subject to a preliminary
9endangerment assessment prepared by an environmental assessor
10to determine the existence of any release of a hazardous substance
11on the site and to determine the potential for exposure of future
12occupants to significant health hazards from any nearby property
13or activity.

14(1) If a release of a hazardous substance is found to exist on the
15site, the release shall be removed, or any significant effects of the
16release shall be mitigated to a level of insignificance in compliance
17with state and federal requirements.

18(2) If a potential for exposure to significant hazards from
19surrounding properties or activities is found to exist, the effects of
20the potential exposure shall be mitigated to a level of insignificance
21in compliance with state and federal requirements.

22(g) The project does not have a significant effect on historical
23resources pursuant to Section 21084.1.

24(h) The project site is not subject to any of the following:

25(1) A wildland fire hazard, as determined by the Department of
26Forestry and Fire Protection, unless the applicable general plan or
27zoning ordinance contains provisions to mitigate the risk of a
28wildland fire hazard.

29(2) An unusually high risk of fire or explosion from materials
30stored or used on nearby properties.

31(3) Risk of a public health exposure at a level that would exceed
32the standards established by any state or federal agency.

33(4) Within a delineated earthquake fault zone, as determined
34pursuant to Section 2622, or a seismic hazard zone, as determined
35pursuant to Section 2696, unless the applicable general plan or
36zoning ordinance contains provisions to mitigate the risk of an
37earthquake fault or seismic hazard zone.

38(5) Landslide hazard, flood plain, flood way, or restriction zone,
39unless the applicable general plan or zoning ordinance contains
40provisions to mitigate the risk of a landslide or flood.

P4    1(i) (1) The project site is not located on developed open space.

2(2) For the purposes of this subdivision, “developed open space”
3means land that meets all of the following criteria:

4(A) Is publicly owned, or financed in whole or in part by public
5funds.

6(B) Is generally open to, and available for use by, the public.

7(C) Is predominantly lacking in structural development other
8than structures associated with open spaces, including, but not
9limited to, playgrounds, swimming pools, ballfields, enclosed child
10play areas, and picnic facilities.

11(3) For the purposes of this subdivision, “developed open space”
12includes land that has been designated for acquisition by a public
13agency for developed open space, but does not include lands
14acquired by public funds dedicated to the acquisition of land for
15housing purposes.



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