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APA California Releases Legislative Update
July 13, 2018

By John Terell, AICP, Vice President Policy and Legislation; Sande George, APA California Lobbyist; and Lauren De Valencia y Sanchez, APA California Lobbyist

Remaining Hot Bills Getting Closer to the Governor’s Desk  

July 6th was the final policy committee deadline and the legislature is out for one month for its summer recess. 2018 has been  another busy year for planning-related legislation, however APA California has been able to successfully amend many of the bills by finding alternatives to the most controversial langauge. The Legislature will return on August 6thfor the final weeks of the 2018 session, which ends on August 31st.
The Governor Signs His Final Budget
On June 27th, Governor Brown signed his final state budget.  The 2018-2019 Budget will leave the state with $16 billion in reserves while still boosting state spending in many areas. Details of interest to planners include:
Saving for Uncertain Times
The state’s Rainy Day Fund, established by a vote of the people in 2014, saves money when the economy is strong for uncertain times ahead. By the end of 2018-19, the current economic expansion will have matched the longest in post-war history. This budget will grow the balance in the fund to $13.8 billion.
Counteracting the Effects of Poverty and Combatting Homelessness
The budget invests $5 billion to help address challenges with affordable housing and homelessness, including providing $500 million to assist local governments in their immediate efforts to help homeless Californians.
Strengthening Infrastructure
The budget delivers the first full year of funding under Senate Bill 1 – the state’s Road Repair and Accountability Act – with $4.6 billion in new transportation funding in 2018-19. The funding will repair neighborhood roads, state highways and bridges, fill potholes, ease congestion in busy trade and commute corridors and improve and modernize passenger rail and public transit.
Combating Climate Change
The budget includes a $1.4 billion Cap and Trade Expenditure Plan to invest in programs that further reduce carbon pollution and support climate resiliency efforts, including $210 million for forest improvement and fire prevention projects that protect the state’s forests from wildfires and $334.5 million for the California Energy Commission and the California Air Resources Board to begin the implementation of a multi-year initiative to accelerate sales of zero-emission vehicles through vehicle rebates and infrastructure investments.
How You Can Get Involved in Shaping APA California’s Legislative Positions
As bills are making their way through hearings and floor votes, APA California’s lobbying team lobbies legislators, staff and the Governor.  Part of that effort includes  sending letters to the authors and other members in support of or in opposition to their measures.  We encourage you to participate in APA California’s Legislative Review Team, whose members advise APA California on legislative positions, potential amendments and key planning policies. Information on the Review Team and sign up information are located on the APA California website legislation page. As always, we would also appreciate letters to legislators and the Governor from APA California members or their employers that are consistent with those positions. To review the letters, and for an alert on APA’s positions on all of the major planning-related bills, please go to the legislative tab on APA’s website at www.apacalifornia.com. All position letters will be posted on the APA California website “Legislation” page, which can be found here:  https://www.apacalifornia.org/legislation/legislative-review-teams/position-letters/. Position letters will continue to be posted here as they are written and updated – APA encourages you to use these as templates for your own jurisdiction/company letters. 
Hot Bills 
As noted above, the final policy committee deadline has passed (July 6). A number of bills continue to move that focus again on major changes to state laws impacting housing, including bills dealing with ADUs, Density Bonus law, RHNA allocations, fees and building permits.  As you’ll see below, APA California is now supporting twice as many housing bills than we are opposing.  We also continue to be actively engaged with legislators on those measures we oppose to address concerns and offer alternative amendments whenever possible to meet the authors’ goals while insuring the bill’s requirements are reasonable and feasible – and clear enough to be implemented. Through this process, APA California has been successful in amending a number of important bills.
Below is a list of some of the high priority bills APA California is currently lobbying. Position letters with more information on all of these bills are posted on the APA California website, as noted above.

AB 686 (Santiago)
Adds federal “affirmatively further fair housing” requirements to California law.
AB 1771 (Bloom)
Provides RHNA allocation reform.
AB 1804 (Berman)
Provides a CEQA infill exemption for counties.
AB 1905 (Grayson)
Prohibits staying or enjoining transportation projects under CEQA that are included in an SCS.
AB 2162 (Chiu)
Provides a “by right” process and expedited review for supportive housing.
AB 2263 (Friedman)
Limits parking requirements for historical reuse projects.
AB 2341 (Mathis) Eliminates consideration of aesthetic effects of projects in CEQA.
AB 2372 (Gloria)
Authorizes a floor area ratio bonus in lieu of a density bonus.
AB 2631 (Allen) Provides for a new “by right” process for housing separate from SB 35.
AB 2753 (Friedman) 
Requires new notification of density bonus status to applicant when application is deemed complete.
AB 2797 (Bloom) Requires density bonus, waivers and concessions to be permitted in a manner that is consistent with that law and the California Coastal Act.
AB 2856 (Melendez) 
Prohibits a court in a CEQA challenge related to housing project from staying the siting, construction or operation of the project.
AB 2890 (Ting)
One of three bills this year that make another round of major ADU changes. The bills have some similar and many conflicting provisions.
AB 2913 (Wood)
Extends the original life of a building permit from 6 months to one year for housing projects statewide.
AB 2923 (Chiu) 
Requires zoning around specified BART stations to be consistent with BART zoning plan, granting BART land use authority.
AB 3037 (Chiu)
Reinstates the redevelopment process for housing and infrastructure projects.
AB 3147 (Caballero) 
Freezes mitigation and other impact fees for 2 years for housing projects from date application is deemed “substantially complete”.
AB 3171 (Ting)
Provides funding for local homelessness programs.
AB 3194 (Daly) 
Provides that a proposed project is not inconsistent with applicable zoning standards and criteria, and shall not require a rezoning, if the proposed project is consistent with objective general plan standards and criteria but the local agency’s adopted zoning for the project site is inconsistent with the general plan.
SB 827 (Wiener) 
Overrides local zoning authority near transit.
SB 828 (Wiener)
Requires RHNA allocation reform and states intent that cities and counties should take reasonable actions to ensure that future housing production meet at a minimum their RHNA allocation.
SB 831 (Wieckowski) One of three bills this year that make another round of major ADU changes. The bills have some similar and many conflicting provisions.
SB 912 (Beall) 
Provides funding for homeless and affordable housing.
SB 1035 (Jackson) 
Clarifies the update requirements for flood, fire and climate adaptation assessments in the safety element. 
SB 1260 (Jackson) 
Provides for fire prevention and planning through prescribed burns.
SB 1469 (Skinner) 
One of three bills this year that make another round of major ADU changes. The bills have some similar and many conflicting provisions.
All Hot Bills
To view the full list of hot planning bills, copies of the measures, up-to-the minute status and APA California letters and positions, please continue to visit the legislative page on APA California’s website at www.apacalifornia.org.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact Lauren De Valencia y Sanchez at lauren@stefangeorge.com.

HCD Announcement: Updated List of Cities/Counties Subject to Streamlined Housing Development and New, Online Map
July 13, 2018
Link to HCD Announcement
Easy point-and-click reveals detailed data showing how jurisdictions are performing in meeting their housing need and reporting requirements
SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has released an updated list showing which California cities and counties are subject to streamlined approvals for certain housing projects under Senate Bill 35.
SB 35 is an integral piece of California’s historic 15-bill housing package that was signed into law by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. in September 2017. The law, which took effect January 1, is intended to help address housing affordability by expediting approvals for some types of new housing projects in
jurisdictions that are not meeting their housing needs.
The updated list reflects the latest data submitted to HCD by jurisdictions in their housing element annual progress reports, which show the number of housing permits issued relative to each jurisdiction's housing need. Each April, all 539 jurisdictions in California must submit their annual
progress reports, covering the prior calendar year’s activities.
"Although it's still early, because SB 35 just became law six months ago, we are definitely seeing an increase in the number of annual progress reports submitted to HCD compared to this point in previous years," said Ben Metcalf, Director of HCD. "I'm hopeful that we will not only continue to see higher compliance in report submissions, but, more importantly, that the reports will begin to show that cities and counties are catching up and keeping pace with their housing goals."
Accompanying the updated list is a new, online interactive map that allows users to quickly view detailed data for each jurisdiction, including whether or not the city or county:
  • Has an HCD-approved housing element (a jurisdiction’s plan for housing).
  • Is subject to streamlined housing approvals.
  • Has been submitting its annual progress reports.

The map also shows the number of housing permits issued to build homes affordable to people in each income category and how those permits stack up against the city/county's housing need.


On July 12, 2018, HCD will host a webinar showing how to use the more-advanced features of the interactive map. To receive email notifications about the webinar, SB 35, or other elements of the housing package, sign up to receive HCD email and select “California's 2017 Housing Package.” More information, including frequently asked questions and milestones for each bill's implementation can be found on HCD's 2017 Housing Package webpage.

SB 35 Background: Each region’s housing need is determined every five to eight years through the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) process. Once the need is determined, cities and counties must show they have zoned enough land for housing to accommodate families and individuals at all income levels. These plans, known as housing elements, must be submitted to HCD for approval and incorporated into the city’s or county’s general plan. SB 35 looks beyond planning to see if cities/counties are on track to permit sufficient housing to meet their need. When they have not, they are subject to SB 35 streamlined approval requirements.

In order for a proposed development to qualify for expedited approval in a city or county that is subject to SB 35 streamlining, it must, among other things:

  • Be located on an infill site.
  • Follow residential and mixed-use zoning laws.
  • Dedicate at least 10 percent of housing units for lower-income residents if the city/county has not made sufficient progress toward their above-moderate income housing need, or at least 50 percent of housing units for lower-income residents if the city/county has not made sufficient progress toward their very-low and low-income housing need.

The California Department of Housing and Community Development is dedicated to the preservation and expansion of safe and affordable housing, so more Californians have a place to call home. Our team works to ensure an adequate supply of housing for Californians and promotes the growth of strong communities through its leadership, policy and program development. For more information, please visit www.hcd.ca.gov.

PDF icon 2018-06-27_SB-35-Update_Press-Release_FINAL.pdf
Save the Date for Emerging Planning Professionals in Ventura County
July 13, 2018 to September 30, 2018

Hike with the Ventura County Emerging Planning Professional’s Group

Dates: August & September weekends, dates TBD

What: A summer hiking series, with 4 planned hikes at different locations around Ventura County. 2 guided hikes led by local nature lovers and 2 fun hikes. Social hour hosted by APA EPP after each hike. 

Contact Kristina Boero at kristina.boero@ventura.org for further details. Check out our Facebook page at APA CA Central Coast Section Ventura County Subsection Emerging Planning Professionals



APA California State Conference Update
June 18, 2018
EPP | Spring/Summer Joint Mixer in SLO
June 18, 2018 to August 1, 2018

On May 23, 2018, Central Coast Section's Emerging Planning Professionals hosted a joint APA/AEP mixer at Spike's in San Luis Obispo. Sub-Section Director Rachel Raynor said that the mixer was a success and thanked the local San Luis Obispo Association of Environmental Professionals for joining APA for the event. "We kicked off the summer with a successful mixer at the newly renovated outdoor patio at Spikes Pub in San Luis Obispo!" said Raynor. The event was a great networking opportunity, and a portion of the nights's proceeds will be directed towards future local APA events. 

Planners Awarded with Success in San Luis Obispo
April 29, 2018

With just over forty people in attendance, the Central Coast Section of the American Planning Association convened another successful Planning Awards event in San Luis Obispo on April 29, 2018 to honor and recognize the outstanding planning efforts throughout the Central Coast area and to enjoy catching up with colleagues.

The event coincided the 50th anniversary of Cal Poly’s City and Regional Planning (CRP) Program. CRP faculty member Ray Hashimoto was the event’s opening speaker and called attention to the change and growth that the program has undergone in its fifty years of “Learning by Doing” and the many successful alumni that have gone on to make changes in the world as a result of the program. One of the year’s recipients was even a group of students from Cal Poly’s CRP Program, emphasizing the success of up and coming students from Cal Poly.

Nominations were evaluated for the award category in which they were submitted. Awards of Excellence are eligible to participate in the State APACA Awards Competition. This year’s judges provided the following awards to the following projects and organizations from throughout the Central Coast:


Economic Planning and Development Award: “Harbor Terrace Pre-Development Services” awarded to Port San Luis Harbor District and Lisa Wise Consulting, Inc.

Transportation Planning Award: “Ventura County Regional Bicycle Wayfinding Project” awarded to the Ventura County Transportation Commission and Alta Planning + Design

Academic Award: “Old Town Urban Design Concept Plan for City of Newark” awarded to the Department of City and Regional Planning, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Dr. Hemalata C. Dandekar and the City of Newark Community Development Department


Comprehensive Plan Implementation – Small Jurisdiction: “Shell Beach Design Standards Guidelines” awarded to the City of Pismo Beach and RRM Design Group





















APA California State Conference - Stay Informed
May 4, 2018 to October 10, 2018

The 2018 APA California state conference will be in San Diego on October 7 - 10, 2018. You can stay up to speed with conference announcements in a variety of online locations:

Did you know? Balboa Park represents one San Diego’s historic gems. Balboa Park housed both the 1915 Panama-California and 1935-1936 California Pacific International Expositions. Today, the Park is home to many museums exhibiting artwork, local cultural heritage, scientific discovery and the World-Famous San Diego Zoo. The Park demonstrates the San Diego’s walkability, as well as biking and hiking trails.

NPC19 | Call for Reviewers and Sessions
May 4, 2018 to June 25, 2018

APA National Conference 2019

NPC19 | San Francisco | April 13-16, 2019

Be an important part of the conference by peer-reviewing proposed education sessions. APA will select only the highest-rated proposals for the NPC19 education program. As a session reviewer, you can earn up to six volunteer CM hours. Hurry! The deadline to apply to be a reviewer is this Friday, May 4th Learn more.


Looking to submit a NPC19 session? Start preparing your content now — The submission window is June 1 – June 25, 2018.

Recommended Reading | Where Population Declines but the Economy Grows
March 23, 2018

Where Population Declines but the Economy Grows

While the scale of Detroit's population loss is well known, the lesser known that the city's economy has grown steadily in recent decades. It's not alone.

March 17, 2018, 11am PDT | James Brasuell, published at StatChat


The presumption that population decline indicates a larger problem than it does is relevant in many parts of the country—like most of Virginia and cities like Buffalo and Pittsburgh. "Over the past ten years, both the Buffalo and Pittsburgh Metro areas experienced population decline while their per capita income levels rose more than some metro areas with the fastest growing populations in the country, including Orlando and Phoenix," explains Hamilton.


After digging deeper into the statistics of population decline end economic growth in counties around Virginia, Hamilton also suggests why it's important for communities with declining population to make a more honest assessment of their economy.

full article: http://statchatva.org/2018/03/13/is-population-decline-bad/

Leg News | Important Ballot Initiatives Regarding Local Government Revenue
March 23, 2018

Important Ballot Initiatives Regarding Local Government Revenue

There are currently two statewide ballot initiatives proposed by business organizations that may be of major interest to APA California members. The initiatives would make it even more difficult to enact new fees and taxes at the local level – both are in the signature gathering process. Below are the summaries, including the link to the initiative language. APA will be watching these closely if/when they qualify for the ballot. Signature collection must be completed and sent to the Secretary of State’s office by May 11th, 2018 to qualify. The League of California Cities is assembling a coalition of organizations to likely oppose the initiatives and the APA California Board will be considering whether to sign onto that coalition should the initiative qualify. Please contact Lauren De Valencia y Sanchez at lauren@stefangeorge.com if you have any questions or comments.

Expands Requirement for Supermajority Approval to Enact New Revenue Measures.

  • Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

  • Summary Date: 01/26/18

  • Circulation Deadline: 07/25/18

  • Signatures Required: 585,407

  • Proponents: Robert Lapsley c/o Kurt Oneto (916) 446-6752

  • For new revenue measures, broadens definition of state taxes that would require approval by two-thirds supermajority vote of Legislature. For local governments, requires two-thirds approval of electorate to raise new taxes or governing body to raise new fees. Requires that state and local laws enacting new taxes specify how revenues can be spent. Heightens legal threshold for state and local governments to prove that fees passed without two-thirds approval are not taxes. Invalidates local taxes imposed in 2018, unless taxes meet criteria adopted by this measure. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Likely minor decrease in annual state revenues and potentially substantial decrease in annual local revenues, depending upon future actions of the Legislature, local governing bodies, voters, and the courts. Link to language: 17-0050.


Expands Requirement for Supermajority Approval to Enact New Local Government Revenue Measures

  • Initiative Constitutional Amendment

  • Summary Date: 01/26/18

  • Circulation Deadline: 07/25/18

  • Signatures Required: 585,407

  • Proponents: Robert Lapsley c/o Kurt Oneto (916) 446-6752

For local governments, requires two-thirds approval of electorate to raise new taxes or governing body to raise new fees. Requires that local laws enacting new taxes specify how revenues can be spent. Heightens legal threshold for local governments to prove that fees passed without two-thirds voter approval are not taxes. Invalidates local taxes imposed in 2018, unless taxes meet criteria adopted by this measure. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Potentially substantial decrease in annual local revenues, depending upon future actions of local governing bodies, voters, and the courts. Link to language 17-0051.

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