BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                             Senator Fran Pavley, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:            SB 1172         Hearing Date:    March 29,  
          |Author:    |Hancock                |           |                 |
          |Version:   |February 18, 2016                                    |
          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:    |Yes              |
          |Consultant:|Matthew Dumlao                                       |
          |           |                                                     |
              Subject:  Tidelands and submerged lands:  City of Albany

          Since 1850, the California Legislature has periodically granted  
          public trust lands to local jurisdictions to hold and manage  
          according to various terms and conditions.  These lands remain  
          subject to the Public Trust Doctrine and the State Lands  
          Commission (commission) oversees the grants to ensure the use  
          and management of the trust lands is consistent with the Public  
          Trust Doctrine and granting statutes. 

          In 1919, the Legislature granted the City of Albany (city) three  
          parcels of submerged tidelands along the San Francisco Bay  
          waterfront (Chapter 211, Statutes of 1919).  These lands include  
          what is known as the Albany Neck and Bulb portion of the  
          waterfront. The Neck and Bulb are located at the base of  
          Buchanan Street and protrude into the bay.

          In 1977, the city adopted the Albany Waterfront Plan, which  
          reflected the city's plans at that time for  
          recreational-oriented development, including constructing a  
          small craft marina and retail complex. Later that year, the  
          Legislature amended the original trust lands grant from 1919 to  
          require that future development is consistent with the Albany  
          Waterfront Plan (Chapter 1223, Statutes of 1977). However, the  
          plan was never implemented.

          Since 1977, policy at the local, regional, and State levels has  


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          shifted away from commercial waterfront development on the  
          publically-owned portion of the Albany waterfront. The city is  
          currently in the process of developing a new plan for improving  
          the Albany Neck and Bulb area and transitioning the area to  
          become part of the McLaughlin Eastshore State Park.  The  
          McLaughlin Eastshore State Park includes tidelands and upland  
          property along 8.5 miles of shoreline extending from the City of  
          Richmond in the north to Emeryville and Oakland in the south.  
          The Albany Bulb and Neck is currently open to the public for  
          recreational uses.

          At its December 7, 2015 city council meeting, the City of Albany  
          authorized city staff to work with the commission and the State  
          Legislature to draft legislation updating the terms of the  
          tidelands grant on the city-owned portion of the Albany  
          waterfront.  This bill is the result of those efforts.

          PROPOSED LAW
          This bill would repeal the city's granting statute (Chapter 211,  
          Statutes of 1919, as amended by Chapter 1223, Statutes of 1977)  
          to eliminate the requirement that the trust lands are used in a  
          manner that is consistent with the obsolete Waterfront Plan from  
          1977. This bill would replace the outdated granting statute with  
          a new grant of public trust lands that is consistent with the  
          city's current waterfront improvement plans.  

          This bill would establish several terms and conditions.
          1.Require the city to submit a trust lands use plan to the  
            commission for approval on or before January 1, 2022.  The  
            plan must describe (1) any proposed development, preservation,  
            or other use of the trust lands; (2) the projected statewide  
            benefit; (3) the proposed method of financing any development;  
            (4) an estimated timetable for implementing each phase of the  
            plan; and (5) how the city proposes to protect the resources  
            and facilities on the trust lands, particularly from the  
            impacts of sea level rise.

          2.Require the city to submit a report to the commission on or  
            before September 30, 2022 and every five years thereafter  
            describing how the trust lands have been used.

          3.Require the city to establish an accounting system to track  
            revenue received from the trust lands and any associated  


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            assets. Any revenue received must be kept separate from other  
            city money and can only be spent in a way that is consistent  
            with this bill.

          4.Require the city to get approval from the commission before  
            spending trust revenues for any large capital improvement  
            project ($250,000 or greater).

          5.Require 20 percent of trust revenue be transmitted to the  
            commission.  Of this amount transmitted, 80 percent will be  
            put in the General Fund and the remaining 20 percent will be  
            deposited in the Land Bank Fund pursuant to Division 7  
            (commencing with Section 8600) of the Public Resources Code.   
            Money in the Land Bank Fund is used to manage the commission's  
            granted lands program. 

          6.Permit the city to lease the land under certain conditions.

          The author stated that the bill is designed to assist the "City  
          of Albany with managing and improving its waterfront."

          According to the State Lands Commission, "?the city is in the  
          process of developing a new plan to improve its waterfront and  
          transition the Neck and Bulb area to become part of the  
          McLaughlin Eastshore State Park.  The city's legislative  
          granting statute, however, is inconsistent with the city's  
          current waterfront improvement plans. SB 1172 eliminates the  
          requirement that the trust lands are used in a manner that is  
          consistent with the obsolete Waterfront Plan.  The bill requires  
          the city to submit a new land use plan and sea-level rise  
          analysis to the commission for approval.  The bill also  
          modernizes non-discrimination language in the granting statute  
          to reflect current law, aligns the city's financial reporting  
          requirements with current law, and deletes various obsolete  

          None received.

          Similar bills: From time to time, cities have sought to change  


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          existing granting statutes in order to implement new plans on  
          public trust land. For example, in 2014 the Legislature passed  
          and the Governor signed SB 1424 (Wolk) at the request of the  
          commission and the City of Martinez. SB 1424 repealed an  
          existing statute and replaced it with a new statute that added  
          an additional parcel. The terms of the grant are very similar to  
          the terms outlined in this bill, including the requirement that  
          the city submit a trust lands use plan, provide updates every  
          five years, and transfer 20 percent of trust revenue to the  
          commission. Similarly, SB 551 (DeSaulnier) was passed by the  
          Legislature and signed by the Governor in 2011 and it contained  
          similar conditions as outlined in this bill.
          Current uses of the land: The tidelands were built up over time  
          using construction debris and have been since colonized by  
          native and non-native vegetation.  It is currently used for  
          passive recreational activities, including hiking, dog walking,  
          bird watching, and sightseeing.  Visitors and local artists have  
          taken advantage of the abundant construction debris to construct  
          ephemeral works of art that include murals, sculptures,  
          installations, and graffiti. Recently, the Albany City Council  
          asked the Police Department to begin enforcing the city's no  
          camping policy on the Bulb, and existing homeless encampments  
          have been removed.

          Financial conditions follow current practices: For most past  
          public land grants, SLC has only required that excess trust  
          revenues shall be returned to the state, effectively leaving no  
          revenues to the state from granted trust lands. SB 551 of 2011  
          allows the state to receive 20% of gross revenues, ensuring the  
          state receives revenue from granted trust lands. SLC stated that  
          this revenue sharing provision would encourage grantees to  
          appropriately develop tidelands while providing income to the  
          General Fund and a revenue stream for grant oversight within  

          Potential benefits to the state and the City of Albany: In 2002,  
          State Parks adopted the General Plan for the McLaughlin  
          Eastshore State Park calling for a balance of open-space  
          recreational activities and habitat conservation efforts. The  
          Albany Neck and Bulb lands were included in the General Plan.   
          Developments proposed in the General Plan include constructing  
          restrooms and drinking fountains, and adding utilities near the  
          east end of the Albany Neck.


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          California State Lands Commission (sponsor)

          None received.

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