BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                             Senator Ricardo Lara, Chair
                            2015 - 2016  Regular  Session

          AB 2180 (Ting) - Land use:  development project review
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          |Version: March 31, 2016         |Policy Vote: GOV. & F. 5 - 0    |
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          |Urgency: No                     |Mandate: Yes                    |
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          |Hearing Date: August 1, 2016    |Consultant: Mark McKenzie       |
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          This bill meets the criteria for referral to the Suspense File.

          Summary:  AB 2180 would accelerate the timeframes by which a  
          public agency must approve or disapprove certain residential and  
          mixed-use development projects under the Permit Streamlining  

           Unknown significant Coastal Commission costs, potentially in  
            excess of $1 million, to expedite approval of projects in the  
            coastal zone for which the Commission is the responsible  
            agency.  In order to comply with the accelerated timelines for  
            project approval, the Commission would require an unknown  
            number of additional staff.  The magnitude of additional costs  
            and staffing needs would depend upon the number and complexity  
            of projects requiring a coastal development permit.  (General  


          AB 2180 (Ting)                                         Page 1 of  
           Unknown local costs to comply with accelerated project  
            approval timelines.  These costs are not state-reimbursable  
            because local agencies can charge fees to offset any increased  
            costs.  (local fee disclaimer)

          Background:  The Planning and Zoning Law requires every county and city to  
          adopt a general plan that sets out the intensity (density) and  
          location for planned uses in the area covered by the plan.   
          Local zoning laws and building codes specify where housing may  
          be built, as well as its density, quality, and style.  Housing  
          developers must obtain building permits from city and county  
          planning departments and typically must gain approval from local  
          planning commissions and city councils or county boards of  
          The 1977 Permit Streamlining Act requires public agencies to act  
          fairly and promptly on applications for development permits.   
          Public agencies generally have 30 days to determine whether  
          applications for development projects are complete and accepted  
          for filing; failure to act results in an application being  
          "deemed complete."  If additional information is required, there  
          could be time extensions before an application is deemed  
          complete.  Once a complete application has been submitted, the  
          Act requires public officials to act within a specific time  
          period after completing any environmental review documents  
          required under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).   
          Specifically, local governments that serve as lead agencies  
          under CEQA must act within: (1) 60 days after completing a  
          negative declaration or determining that a project is exempt  
          from review, or (2) 180 days after certifying an environmental  
          impact report (EIR).

          However, shorter deadlines apply to certain affordable housing  
          developments.  A lead agency must decide within 90 days of  
          certifying an EIR for a residential or mixed use development  
          that meets specified conditions, including:  residential units  
          make up at least half of the overall square footage, commercial  
          space is reserved for specified small businesses that serve  
          local residents, and at least 49% of units are available to low-  
          or very low-income households.  

          The Permit Streamlining Act also sets deadlines for responsible  
          agencies that are not the lead agency under CEQA, but have a  
          role in approving a permit or other authorization for some  


          AB 2180 (Ting)                                         Page 2 of  
          aspect of the proposed project.  Responsible agencies rely on  
          the lead agency's CEQA documentation to issue permits and make  
          decisions.  The Permit Streamlining Act requires responsible  
          agencies to approve or disapprove the development project within  
          180 days of the date that either the lead agency approved the  
          project or deemed the application complete, whichever is longer.  
           If the public agency fails to approve or disapprove the  
          application in the relevant time period, the application is  
          deemed approved and the applicant may sue to order the local  
          government to issue the permit.  Upon mutual agreement between  
          the government and the applicant, the deadlines may be extended  
          once for up to 90 days.

          Existing law, the Coastal Act, calls for the protection and  
          enhancement of public access and recreation, marine resources,  
          environmentally sensitive habitat areas, marine water quality,  
          agriculture, and scenic resources, and makes provisions for  
          coastal-dependent industrial and energy development.  New  
          development in the coastal zone requires a coastal development  
          permit either from a local government or the Coastal Commission.  
           Local governments are required to prepare a local coastal plan  
          (LCP) for the coastal zone portion of their jurisdiction.  After  
          an LCP has been reviewed and approved by the Coastal Commission  
          as being consistent with the Coastal Act, the Commission's  
          regulatory authority over most types of new development is  
          delegated to the local government, subject to limited appeals to  
          the Commission.  Approximately 83 percent of the state's coastal  
          geographic area is covered by LCPs, but there are currently 27  
          jurisdictions that do not have a certified LCP in place.  As  
          noted above, any permits for new development in these  
          jurisdictions requires approval by the Coastal Commission.

          Proposed Law:  
            AB 2180 would expedite the Permit Streamlining Act deadlines  
          for a public agency to approve or disapprove certain types of  
          development projects.  Specifically, AB 2180 would do the  
           Require a lead agency to approve or disapprove an application  
            for a residential or mixed use development within 120 days of  
            certifying the EIR (rather than 180 days), if the project  
            devotes at least half of its square footage to residential  


          AB 2180 (Ting)                                         Page 3 of  
            units and only includes small-scale commercial enterprises.
           Require a responsible agency to approve or disapprove those  
            projects within 90 days (rather than 180 days) of the date  
            that either the lead agency approved the project or deemed the  
            application complete, whichever is longer.

          Comments:  This bill would impose a state-mandated local program  
          on local agencies by increasing the duties of local officials.   
          Since local agencies have the authority to charge fees to  
          recover any increased costs associated with the bill, they are  
          not eligible for state-reimbursement of those costs.
          The Coastal Commission indicates that the bill's accelerated  
          timelines for development project approvals would hinder its  
          ability to properly review, analyze, revise, and agendize  
          residential projects in the coastal zone for which the  
          Commission is the responsible agency.  In those jurisdictional  
          segments of the coastal zone that are not covered by an approved  
          LCP, the Commission must analyze a project for Coastal Act  
          consistency, including public access, public viewsheds, sea  
          level rise, and sensitive habitats.  Although many projects are  
          non-controversial and have minimal impacts, some are exceedingly  
          complex and require extensive analysis and revisions to a  
          project's scope.  The Commission estimates that it would likely  
          require significant additional staff resources in order to  
          comply with the accelerated timelines.  In addition, the  
          Commission meets at different locations in the coastal zone each  
          month, and acceleration of timelines will make it difficult to  
          agendize significant permit actions in places that are near the  
          proposed development site.

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