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AB-3023 California Environmental Quality Act.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 03/19/2018 09:00 PM
AB3023:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  March 19, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 3023


Introduced by Assembly Member Medina

February 16, 2018


An act to amend Section 65000 of the Government Code, relating to land use. An act to amend Sections 21091, 21092.2, and 21177 of, and to add Section 21091.2 to, the Public Resources Code, relating to environmental quality.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 3023, as amended, Medina. Land use: planning and zoning. California Environmental Quality Act.
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 (EIR) 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. CEQA also requires a lead agency to prepare a mitigated negative declaration for a project that may have a significant effect on the environment if revisions in the project would avoid or mitigate that effect and there is no substantial evidence that the project, as revised, would have a significant effect on the environment. CEQA requires lead agencies to provide various notices regarding the environmental review of a project. CEQA requires lead agencies to submit certain notices and certain environmental review documents to the State Clearinghouse within the Office of Planning and Research. CEQA requires the office to establish and maintain a database for the collection, storage, retrieval, and dissemination of environmental review documents and required notices that are provided to the office and requires the office to make the database available to the public through the Internet.
This bill would require lead agencies to post the notices required by CEQA and any environmental review document for a project on their Internet Web sites, if any, or to submit those notices and environmental review documents to the State Clearinghouse for inclusion in the database described above. Because this bill would impose additional duties on lead agencies, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
CEQA requires the office to prepare and develop, and the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency to certify and adopt, guidelines to assist lead agencies in implementing CEQA. The guidelines require a public agency to prepare an addendum to a previously certified EIR and authorize the public agency to prepare an addendum to a previously adopted negative declaration under specified circumstances. The guidelines specify that the addendum need not be circulated for public review.
This bill would codify the above provision and would require lead agencies to provide public notice of the availability of the addendum and a public review period of not less than 20 days. Because this bill would impose additional duties on lead agencies, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
CEQA requires an action or proceeding alleging noncompliance with certain requirements to be based on grounds that were presented to the public agency orally or in writing during the public comment period or prior to the close of the public hearing on the project before the issuance of the notice of determination. CEQA prohibits a person from maintaining an action or proceeding unless the person objected to the approval of the project orally or in writing during the public comment period provided under the act or prior to the close of the public hearing on the project before the issuance of the notice of determination. CEQA authorizes an organization formed after the approval of a project to maintain an action or proceeding if a member of the organization objected to the approval of the project.
This bill would require alleged grounds for noncompliance presented prior to the close of the public hearing on the project before the issuance of the notice of determination to be those that were not known or could not have been known with the exercise of reasonable diligence during the public comment period unless no public comment period was provided by CEQA. The bill would prohibit a person who objected to the approval of a project prior to the close of the public hearing on the project from maintaining an action or proceeding unless no public comment period was provided under CEQA. The bill would require members of an organization, formed after the approval of a project that is maintaining an action or proceeding, to have either directly presented the alleged grounds for noncompliance or submitted comments agreeing with, or supporting, the alleged grounds presented in the comments of another person.
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.

The Planning and Zoning Law, among other things, requires the legislative body of each county and city to adopt a comprehensive, long-term general plan for the physical development of the county or city and of any land outside its boundaries that relates to its planning, and provides for the adoption and administration of zoning laws, ordinances, rules, and regulations by counties and cities.

This bill would make nonsubstantive changes to those provisions.

Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NOYES   Local Program: NOYES  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 21091 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

21091.
 (a) The public review period for a draft environmental impact report shall not be less than 30 days. If the draft environmental impact report is submitted to the State Clearinghouse for review, the review period shall be at least 45 days, and the lead agency shall provide a sufficient number of copies of the document, in either a hard-copy or electronic form as required by the Office of Planning and Research, to the State Clearinghouse for review and comment by state agencies.
(b) The public review period for a proposed negative declaration or proposed mitigated negative declaration shall not be less than 20 days. If the proposed negative declaration or proposed mitigated negative declaration is submitted to the State Clearinghouse for review, the review period shall be at least 30 days, and the lead agency shall provide a sufficient number of copies of the document, in either a hard-copy or electronic form as required by the Office of Planning and Research, to the State Clearinghouse for review and comment by state agencies.
(c) (1) Notwithstanding subdivisions (a) and (b), if a draft environmental impact report, proposed negative declaration, or proposed mitigated negative declaration is submitted to the State Clearinghouse for review and the period of review by the State Clearinghouse is longer than the public review period established pursuant to subdivision (a) or (b), whichever is applicable, the public review period shall be at least as long as the period of review and comment by state agencies as established by the State Clearinghouse.
(2) The public review period and the state agency review period may, but are not required to, begin and end at the same time. Day one of the state agency review period shall be the date that the State Clearinghouse distributes the CEQA document to state agencies.
(3) If the submittal of a CEQA document is determined by the State Clearinghouse to be complete, the State Clearinghouse shall distribute the document within three working days from the date of receipt. The State Clearinghouse shall specify the information that will be required in order to determine the completeness of the submittal of a CEQA document.
(4) (A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B), the lead agency shall post any environmental review documents, such as a draft environmental impact report, proposed negative declaration, proposed mitigated negative declaration, or addendum to an environmental review document, along with any appendices and documents incorporated by reference, on its Internet Web site, if any, from the commencement of the public comment period to the date on which the project is approved or disapproved.
(B) Subparagraph (A) does not apply if the lead agency submits the environmental review document to the State Clearinghouse for inclusion in the database established and maintained pursuant to Section 21159.9.
(C) This paragraph shall not be construed in any manner that results in the invalidation of an action if there has been substantial compliance with the requirements of this section.
(d) (1) The lead agency shall consider comments it receives on a draft environmental impact report, proposed negative declaration, or proposed mitigated negative declaration if those comments are received within the public review period.
(2) (A) With respect to the consideration of comments received on a draft environmental impact report, the lead agency shall evaluate comments on environmental issues that are received from persons who have reviewed the draft and shall prepare a written response pursuant to subparagraph (B). The lead agency may also respond to comments that are received after the close of the public review period.
(B) The written response shall describe the disposition of each significant environmental issue that is raised by commenters. The responses shall be prepared consistent with Section 15088 of Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations.
(3) (A) With respect to the consideration of comments received on a draft environmental impact report, proposed negative declaration, proposed mitigated negative declaration, or notice pursuant to Section 21080.4, the lead agency shall accept comments via electronic mail and shall treat electronic-mail comments as equivalent to written comments.
(B) Any law or regulation relating to written comments received on a draft environmental impact report, proposed negative declaration, proposed mitigated negative declaration, or notice received pursuant to Section 21080.4 shall also apply to electronic-mail comments received for those reasons.
(e) (1) Criteria for shorter review periods by the State Clearinghouse for documents that must be submitted to the State Clearinghouse shall be set forth in the written guidelines issued by the Office of Planning and Research and made available to the public.
(2) Those shortened review periods may not be less than 30 days for a draft environmental impact report and 20 days for a negative declaration.
(3) A request for a shortened review period shall only be made in writing by the decisionmaking body of the lead agency to the Office of Planning and Research. The decisionmaking body may designate by resolution or ordinance a person authorized to request a shortened review period. A designated person shall notify the decisionmaking body of this request.
(4) A request approved by the State Clearinghouse shall be consistent with the criteria set forth in the written guidelines of the Office of Planning and Research.
(5) A shortened review period may not be approved by the Office of Planning and Research for a proposed project of statewide, regional, or areawide environmental significance as determined pursuant to Section 21083.
(6) An approval of a shortened review period shall be given prior to, and reflected in, the public notice required pursuant to Section 21092.
(f) Prior to carrying out or approving a project for which a negative declaration has been adopted, the lead agency shall consider the negative declaration together with comments that were received and considered pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (d).

SEC. 2.

 Section 21091.2 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

21091.2.
 (a) (1) The lead agency or responsible agency shall prepare an addendum to a previously certified environmental impact report if some changes or additions are necessary but none of the conditions described in Section 15162 of Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations, or a successor regulation, calling for the preparation of a subsequent environmental impact report have occurred.
(2) The lead agency or responsible agency may prepare an addendum to an adopted negative declaration if only minor technical changes or additions are necessary or none of the conditions described in Section 15162 of Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations, as amended from time to time, calling for the preparation of a subsequent environmental impact report or negative declaration have occurred.
(b) If an addendum is prepared pursuant to subdivision (a), the public agency shall provide public notice of the availability of the addendum and a public review period of not less than 20 days. The public agency is not required to respond to any comments received regarding the addendum.
(c) The decision-making body of the public agency shall consider the addendum with the final environmental impact report or adopted negative declaration prior to making a decision on the project.
(d) A brief explanation of the decision not to prepare a subsequent environmental impact report pursuant to Section 15162 of Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations shall be included in an addendum to an environmental impact report, the lead agency’s required findings on the project, or elsewhere in the record of proceedings. The explanation shall be supported by substantial evidence.

SEC. 3.

 Section 21092.2 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

21092.2.
 (a) The notices required pursuant to Sections 21080.4, 21083.9, 21092, 21108, 21152, and 21161 shall be mailed to every person who has filed a written request for notices with either the clerk of the governing body or, if there is no governing body, the director of the agency. If the agency offers to provide the notices by email, upon filing a written request for notices, a person may request that the notices be provided to him or her by email. The request may also be filed with any other person designated by the governing body or director to receive these requests. The agency may require requests for notices to be annually renewed. The public agency may charge a fee, except to other public agencies, that is reasonably related to the costs of providing this service.
(b) Subdivision (a) shall not be construed in any manner that results in the invalidation of an action because of the failure of a person to receive a requested notice, if there has been substantial compliance with the requirements of this section.
(c) The notices required pursuant to Sections 21080.4 and 21161 shall be provided by the State Clearinghouse to any legislator in whose district the project has an environmental impact, if the legislator requests the notice and the State Clearinghouse has received it.
(d) (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), the lead agency shall post the notices described in subdivision (a) on its Internet Web site, if any.
(2) Paragraph (1) does not apply if the lead agency submits the notices described in subdivision (a) to the State Clearinghouse for inclusion in the database established and maintained pursuant to Section 21159.9.

SEC. 4.

 Section 21177 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

21177.
 (a) (1) An action or proceeding shall not be brought pursuant to Section 21167 unless the either of the following applies:
(A) The alleged grounds for noncompliance with this division were presented to the public agency orally or in writing by any person during the public comment period provided by this division or division.
(B) If the alleged grounds for noncompliance were not known or could not have been known with the exercise of reasonable diligence during the public comment period, or if no public comment period was provided pursuant to this division, the alleged grounds of noncompliance were presented to the public agency orally or in writing by any person prior to the close of the public hearing on the project before the issuance of the notice of determination.
(2) (A) Paragraph (1) applies to projects approved after January 1, 2019.
(B) For projects approved on or before January 1, 2019, subdivision (a) of this section, as it read before January 1, 2019, applies.
(b) A person shall not maintain an action or proceeding unless that either of the following applies:
(1) The person objected to the approval of the project orally or in writing during the public comment period provided by this division or division.
(2) If no public comment period was provided by this division, the person objected to the approval of the project orally or in writing prior to the close of the public hearing on the project before the filing of notice of determination pursuant to Sections 21108 and 21152.
(c) This section does not preclude any organization formed after the approval of a project from maintaining an action pursuant to Section 21167 if a member of that organization has complied with subdivision subdivisions (a) and (b). The alleged grounds for noncompliance may be presented directly by a member of the organization or by a member agreeing with, or supporting, the alleged grounds for noncompliance presented in the comments of another person.
(d) This section does not apply to the Attorney General.
(e) This section does not apply to any alleged grounds for noncompliance with this division for which there was no public hearing or other opportunity for members of the public to raise those objections orally or in writing prior to the approval of the project, or if the public agency failed to give the notice required by law.

(f)This section shall become operative on January 1, 2016.

SEC. 5.

 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.
SECTION 1.Section 65000 of the Government Code is amended to read:
65000.

This title shall be known, and may be cited, as the Planning and Zoning Law.