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AB-239 California Environmental Quality Act: urbanized areas.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 01/30/2017 09:00 PM
AB239:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 239


Introduced by Assembly Member Ridley-Thomas

January 30, 2017


An act to amend Sections 21071 and 21094.5 of the Public Resources Code, relating to environmental quality.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 239, as introduced, Ridley-Thomas. California Environmental Quality Act: urbanized areas.
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 defines the terms “urban area” and “urbanized area” to mean, among other things, an unincorporated area that is completely surrounded by one or more incorporated cities and the population density of the unincorporated area at least equals the population density of the surrounding city or cities.
This bill would instead specify that the population density of the unincorporated area be at least 1,000 persons per square mile.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 21071 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

21071.
 “Urbanized area” means either of the following:
(a) An incorporated city that meets either of the following criteria:
(1) Has a population of at least 100,000 persons.
(2) Has a population of less than 100,000 persons if the population of that city and not more than two contiguous incorporated cities combined equals at least 100,000 persons.
(b) An unincorporated area that satisfies the criteria in both paragraph paragraphs (1) and (2) of the following criteria: (2):
(1) Is either of the following:
(A) Completely surrounded by one or more incorporated cities, and both of the following criteria are met:
(i) The population of the unincorporated area and the population of the surrounding incorporated city or cities equals not less than 100,000 persons.
(ii) The population density of the unincorporated area at least equals the population density of the surrounding city or cities. 1,000 person per square mile.
(B) Located within an urban growth boundary and has an existing residential population of at least 5,000 persons per square mile. For purposes of this subparagraph, an “urban growth boundary” means a provision of a locally adopted general plan that allows urban uses on one side of the boundary and prohibits urban uses on the other side.
(2) The board of supervisors with jurisdiction over the unincorporated area has previously taken both of the following actions:
(A) Issued a finding that the general plan, zoning ordinance, and related policies and programs applicable to the unincorporated area are consistent with principles that encourage compact development in a manner that does both of the following:
(i) Promotes efficient transportation systems, economic growth, affordable housing, energy efficiency, and an appropriate balance of jobs and housing.
(ii) Protects the environment, open space, and agricultural areas.
(B) Submitted a draft finding to the Office of Planning and Research at least 30 days prior to issuing a final finding, and allowed the office 30 days to submit comments on the draft findings to the board of supervisors.

SEC. 2.

 Section 21094.5 of the Public Resources Code is amended to read:

21094.5.
 (a) (1) If an environmental impact report was certified for a planning level decision of a city or county, the application of this division to the approval of an infill project shall be limited to the effects on the environment that (A) are specific to the project or to the project site and were not addressed as significant effects in the prior environmental impact report or (B) substantial new information shows the effects will be more significant than described in the prior environmental impact report. A lead agency’s determination pursuant to this section shall be supported by substantial evidence.
(2) An effect of a project upon the environment shall not be considered a specific effect of the project or a significant effect that was not considered significant in a prior environmental impact report, or an effect that is more significant than was described in the prior environmental impact report if uniformly applicable development policies or standards adopted by the city, county, or the lead agency, would apply to the project and the lead agency makes a finding, based upon substantial evidence, that the development policies or standards will substantially mitigate that effect.
(b) If an infill project would result in significant effects that are specific to the project or the project site, or if the significant effects of the infill project were not addressed in the prior environmental impact report, or are more significant than the effects addressed in the prior environmental impact report, and if a mitigated negative declaration or a sustainable communities environmental assessment could not be otherwise adopted, an environmental impact report prepared for the project analyzing those effects shall be limited as follows:
(1) Alternative locations, densities, and building intensities to the project need not be considered.
(2) Growth inducing impacts of the project need not be considered.
(c) This section applies to an infill project that satisfies both of the following:
(1) The project satisfies any of the following:
(A) Is consistent with the general use designation, density, building intensity, and applicable policies specified for the project area in either a sustainable communities strategy or an alternative planning strategy for which the State Air Resources Board, pursuant to subparagraph (H) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 65080 of the Government Code, has accepted a metropolitan planning organization’s determination that the sustainable communities strategy or the alternative planning strategy would, if implemented, achieve the greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.
(B) Consists of a small walkable community project located in an area designated by a city for that purpose.
(C) Is located within the boundaries of a metropolitan planning organization that has not yet adopted a sustainable communities strategy or alternative planning strategy, and the project has a residential density of at least 20 units per acre or a floor area ratio of at least 0.75.
(2) Satisfies all applicable statewide performance standards contained in the guidelines adopted pursuant to Section 21094.5.5.
(d) This section applies after the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency adopts and certifies the guidelines establishing statewide standards pursuant to Section 21094.5.5.
(e) For the purposes of this section, the following terms mean the following:
(1) “Infill project” means a project that meets the following conditions:
(A) Consists of any one, or combination, of the following uses:
(i) Residential.
(ii) Retail or commercial, where no more than one-half of the project area is used for parking.
(iii) A transit station.
(iv) A school.
(v) A public office building.
(B) Is located within an urban area on a site that has been previously developed, or on a vacant site where at least 75 percent of the perimeter of the site adjoins, or is separated only by an improved public right-of-way from, parcels that are developed with qualified urban uses.
(2) “Planning level decision” means the enactment or amendment of a general plan, community plan, specific plan, or zoning code.
(3) “Prior environmental impact report” means the environmental impact report certified for a planning level decision, as supplemented by any subsequent or supplemental environmental impact reports, negative declarations, or addenda to those documents.
(4) “Small walkable community project” means a project that is in an incorporated city, which is not within the boundary of a metropolitan planning organization and that satisfies the following requirements:
(A) Has a project area of approximately one-quarter mile diameter of contiguous land completely within the existing incorporated boundaries of the city.
(B) Has a project area that includes a residential area adjacent to a retail downtown area.
(C) The project has a density of at least eight dwelling units per acre or a floor area ratio for retail or commercial use of not less than 0.50.
(5) “Urban area” includes either an incorporated city or an unincorporated area that is completely surrounded by one or more incorporated cities that meets both of the following criteria:
(A) The population of the unincorporated area and the population of the surrounding incorporated cities equal a population of 100,000 or more.
(B) The population density of the unincorporated area is equal to, or greater than, the population density of the surrounding cities. 1,000 persons per square mile.