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SB-621 California Environmental Quality Act: expedited judicial review: affordable housing projects: reports.(2019-2020)



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SB621:v95#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  June 17, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  April 30, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  April 11, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  March 28, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 621


Introduced by Senators Glazer and Caballero
(Coauthor: Senator Bates)
(Coauthor: Assembly Member Melendez)

February 22, 2019


An act to add and repeal Sections 21168.10, 21176, and 21176.5 of the Public Resources Code, relating to environmental quality.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 621, as amended, Glazer. California Environmental Quality Act: court actions or proceedings: expedited judicial review: affordable housing projects. projects: reports.
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. 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 authorizes a court, in an action or proceeding brought challenging the decision of a public agency on the ground of noncompliance with CEQA, to enter an order to suspend any specific project activity if the court finds that the activity will prejudice the consideration and implementation of particular mitigation measures or alternatives to the project. CEQA provides that, except as otherwise specified, it is not intended to limit the equitable powers of the courts.
This bill would require the Judicial Council, by July 1, 2020, to adopt a rule of court applicable to an action or proceeding brought to attack, review, set aside, void, or annul the certification of an environmental impact report for an affordable housing project, as defined, or the granting of an approval of an affordable housing project that requires the action or proceeding, including any potential appeals therefrom, to be resolved, to the extent feasible, within 270 days of the filing of the certified record of proceeding with the court. The bill would provide that these provisions do not apply to an affordable housing project if it is in certain locations. The bill would repeal these provisions on January 1, 2025.
This bill would require the Judicial Council, in coordination with the Office of Planning and Research, on or before specified dates, to report to the Legislature specified information relating to actions or proceedings brought pursuant to CEQA. The bill would repeal these provisions on January 1, 2025.
This bill would state the intent of the Legislature to enact subsequent legislation that would provide additional funding to the courts to enable the courts to adjudicate, in an expeditious manner, actions or proceedings filed pursuant to CEQA.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 21168.10 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

21168.10.
 (a) For purposes of this section, “affordable housing project” means a housing project that meets all of the following:
(1) The housing project receives Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.
(2) The housing project contains only residential units. If the housing project is mixed use, at least two-thirds of the square footage of the development is designated for residential use.
(3) At least 30 percent of the housing units of the project are affordable to individuals or households with an income level that is at or below 80 percent of the area median income and the developer of the housing project provides sufficient legal commitments to the appropriate local agency to ensure the continued availability and use of the residential units at that rate for a period of at least 30 years.
(4) The housing project consists of no more than 200 residential units.
(5) The housing project site is not more than five acres in area.
(6) The housing project site is on an infill site in close proximity to a major transit stop.
(7) If the housing project includes as part of its construction the demolition of existing affordable housing units, then the housing project also includes as part of its design and project description the replacement of those units, meaning that it will provide at least the same number of units containing at least the same total number of bedrooms as the units being replaced, to be made available at affordable housing cost to, and occupied by, persons and families in the same or lower income category as those households in occupancy. If the income category of the household in occupancy is not known, it shall be rebuttably presumed that lower income households occupied the demolished units in the same proportion as lower income households bear to all households within the jurisdiction, as determined by the most recently available data from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy database. All replacement calculations resulting in fractional units shall be rounded up to the next whole number.
(b) The Judicial Council, by July 1, 2020, shall adopt a rule of court applying to any action or proceeding brought to attack, review, set aside, void, or annul the certification of an environmental impact report for an affordable housing project or the granting of an approval of an affordable housing project that requires the action or proceeding, including any potential appeals therefrom, to be resolved, to the extent feasible, within 270 days of the filing of the certified record of proceeding with the court.
(c) This section does not apply if the affordable housing project is on a parcel that is in a The expedited judicial review provided under subdivision (b) shall not apply to affordable housing projects in areas identified as very high fire hazard severity zone, zones, as determined by the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection pursuant to Section 51178 of the Government Code, or within a in areas classified as high or very high fire hazard severity zone as indicated on maps adopted by the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection zones pursuant to Section 4202. A parcel An affordable housing project is not ineligible for expedited judicial review within the meaning of this subdivision if it is either of the following: it is on a site that has adopted fire hazard mitigation measures pursuant to existing building standards or if state fire mitigation measures are applicable to the development.

(1)A site excluded from the specified fire hazard severity zones by a local agency, pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 51179 of the Government Code.

(2)A site that has adopted fire hazard mitigation measures pursuant to existing building standards or state fire mitigation measures applicable to the development.

(d) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2025, and as of that date is repealed.

SEC. 2.

 Section 21176 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

21176.
 (a) The Judicial Council, in coordination with the Office of Planning and Research, shall, on or before July 1, 2024, report to the Legislature both of the following:
(1) A comparison of the litigation timelines for actions or proceedings brought pursuant to this division that are subject to expedited judicial review to the litigation timelines for those actions or proceedings brought pursuant to this division that are not subject to expedited judicial review.
(2) The extent, if any, to which those actions or proceedings brought pursuant to this division that are subject to expedited judicial review have delayed the adjudication of other civil litigation.
(b) A report to be submitted pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.
(c) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2025, and as of that date is repealed.

SEC. 3.

 Section 21176.5 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:

21176.5.
 (a) The Judicial Council, in coordination with the Office of Planning and Research, shall, on or before January 1, 2021, and annually thereafter, report to the Legislature on the number of actions or proceedings brought pursuant to this division that involve a development project compared to the total number of development projects undertaken in the prior fiscal year.
(b) A report to be submitted pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.
(c) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2025, and as of that date is repealed.

SEC. 4.

 It is the intent of the Legislature to enact subsequent legislation that would provide additional funding to the courts to enable the courts to adjudicate, in an expeditious manner, actions or proceedings filed pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (Division 13 (commencing with Section 21000) of the Public Resources Code).