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AB-1804 California Environmental Quality Act: exemption: residential or mixed-use housing projects.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 09/24/2018 09:00 PM
AB1804:v95#DOCUMENT

Assembly Bill No. 1804
CHAPTER 670

An act to add and repeal Section 21159.25 of the Public Resources Code, relating to environmental quality.

[ Approved by Governor  September 22, 2018. Filed with Secretary of State  September 22, 2018. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1804, Berman. California Environmental Quality Act: exemption: residential or mixed-use housing projects.
(1) The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires a lead agency, as defined, to prepare, or cause to be prepared, and certify the completion of an environmental impact report on a project that it proposes to carry out or approve that may have a significant effect on the environment or to adopt a negative declaration if it finds that the project will not have that effect.
This bill would, until January 1, 2025, exempt from CEQA residential or mixed-use housing projects, as defined, located in unincorporated areas of a county meeting certain requirements. The bill would require a lead agency, if the lead agency determines that a residential or mixed-use housing project is exempt from CEQA, to file a notice of exemption with the Office of Planning and Research and the county clerk in the county in which the project is located. Because a lead agency would be required to determine the applicability of this exemption and to file a notice with the office and the county clerk, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
(2) The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 21159.25 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

21159.25.
 (a) For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:
(1) “Residential or mixed-use housing project” means a project consisting of multifamily residential uses only or a mix of multifamily residential and nonresidential uses, with at least two-thirds of the square footage of the development designated for residential use.
(2) “Substantially surrounded” means at least 75 percent of the perimeter of the project site adjoins, or is separated only by an improved public right-of-way from, parcels that are developed with qualified urban uses. The remainder of the perimeter of the site adjoins, or is separated only by an improved public right-of-way from, parcels that have been designated for qualified urban uses in a zoning, community plan, or general plan for which an environmental impact report was certified.
(b) Without limiting any other statutory exemption or categorical exemption, this division does not apply to a residential or mixed-use housing project if all of the following conditions described in this section are met:
(1) The project is consistent with the applicable general plan designation and all applicable general plan policies as well as with applicable zoning designation and regulations.
(2) (A) The public agency approving or carrying out the project determines, based upon substantial evidence, that the density of the residential portion of the project is not less than the greater of the following:
(i) The average density of the residential properties that adjoin, or are separated only by an improved public right-of-way from, the perimeter of the project site, if any.
(ii) The average density of the residential properties within 1,500 feet of the project site.
(iii) Six dwelling units per acre.
(B) The residential portion of the project is a multifamily housing development that contains six or more residential units.
(3) The proposed development occurs within an unincorporated area of a county on a project site of no more than five acres substantially surrounded by qualified urban uses.
(4) The project site has no value as habitat for endangered, rare, or threatened species.
(5) Approval of the project would not result in any significant effects relating to transportation, noise, air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, or water quality.
(6) The site can be adequately served by all required utilities and public services.
(7) The project is located on a site that is a legal parcel or parcels wholly within the boundaries of an urbanized area or urban cluster, as designated by the United States Census Bureau.
(c) Subdivision (b) does not apply to a residential or mixed-use housing project if any of the following conditions exist:
(1) The cumulative impact of successive projects of the same type in the same place, over time is significant.
(2) There is a reasonable possibility that the project will have a significant effect on the environment due to unusual circumstances.
(3) The project may result in damage to scenic resources, including, but not limited to, trees, historic buildings, rock outcroppings, or similar resources, within a highway officially designated as a state scenic highway.
(4) The project is located on a site which is included on any list compiled pursuant to Section 65962.5 of the Government Code.
(5) The project may cause a substantial adverse change in the significance of a historical resource.
(d) If the lead agency determines that a project is not subject to this division pursuant to this section and it determines to approve or carry out the project, the lead agency shall file a notice with the Office of Planning and Research and with the county clerk in the county in which the project will be located in the manner specified in subdivisions (b) and (c) of Section 21152.
(e) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2025, and as of that date is repealed.

SEC. 2.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because a local agency or school district has the authority to levy service charges, fees, or assessments sufficient to pay for the program or level of service mandated by this act, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code.