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AB-1486 California Environmental Quality Act: housing.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 04/21/2021 09:00 PM
AB1486:v96#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 21, 2021
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 07, 2021
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 18, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1486


Introduced by Assembly Member Carrillo

February 19, 2021


An act to add Section 21083.3.1 to, and to add and repeal Section 21080.52 of, Section 21168.10 to the Public Resources Code, relating to environmental quality.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1486, as amended, Carrillo. California Environmental Quality Act: housing.
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.

This bill would, until January 1, 2025, exempt from CEQA the adoption of a housing element, revisions of a housing element, and amendments to other general plan elements to ensure consistency with the housing element or comply with legal requirements triggered by a housing element revision, amendment, or update.

CEQA limits the environmental review of the approval of any subdivision map or other project that is consistent with a zoning or community plan if certain conditions are met, as provided. CEQA limits the environmental review of a development project if the development is consistent with the general plan and an EIR was certified for the general plan, as provided.

This bill would limit the environmental review of a housing element implementation project, as defined, if an EIR was certified within the last 8 years for the adoption or revision of the housing element and the project meets certain requirements, as provided. The bill would exempt from the requirements of CEQA a housing element implementation project if applicable development policies or standards adopted by a city, county, or the lead agency apply to the project and substantially mitigate significant effects of the project, as determined by the lead agency. By requiring a lead agency to determine the applicability of these provisions, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

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.

CEQA establishes a procedure by which a person may seek judicial review of a decision of the lead agency made pursuant to CEQA. If an action or proceeding is brought seeking judicial review, CEQA establishes a procedure for the preparation of the record of proceedings upon the filing of an action or proceeding and requires the lead agency to prepare and certify the record of proceedings, but authorizes the plaintiff or petitioner to elect to prepare the record of proceedings.
This bill, in an action or proceeding seeking judicial review under CEQA of certain actions taken by a city with a certain population or by a city and county before January 1, 2025, defined as a “housing element update project,” would prohibit a court from enjoining, invalidating, voiding, setting aside, or issuing an order to suspend, invalidate, rescind, void, or set aside the decision for the housing element update project, except to the extent the court finds it necessary to avoid an imminent threat to public health and safety. The bill would require the lead agency to prepare the record of proceedings and would authorize the concurrent preparation of the record of proceedings.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YESNO   Local Program: YESNO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 21168.10 is added to the Public Resources Code, immediately following Section 21186.9, to read:

21168.10.
 (a) For purposes of this section, “housing element update project” means any of the following actions taken by a city with a population of 3,500,000 or more people or by a city and county before January 1, 2025:
(1) Revisions to a housing element pursuant to Section 65588 of the Government Code.
(2) Amendments or revisions to a safety element prepared to comply with any state law that mandates the update to all or a portion of a safety element upon the revision of a housing element.
(3) Amendments to a general plan element adopted for purposes of ensuring consistency with any revision to a housing element.
(b) (1) Notwithstanding any other law and except as provided in paragraph (2), in granting relief in an action or proceeding brought pursuant to this division challenging a lead agency’s decision for a housing element update project, the court shall not enjoin, invalidate, void, set aside, or issue an order to suspend, invalidate, rescind, void, or set aside the decision for the housing element update project.
(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the court may issue an injunction on a housing element update project to the extent the court finds it necessary to avoid an imminent threat to public health and safety.
(c) This section does not limit the court’s authority in an order to mandate that an environmental determination or environmental finding be voided or mandate that the public agency take specific action as may be necessary to bring the environmental determination or environmental findings into compliance with this division. The order shall be limited to mandates that are necessary to achieve compliance with this division consistent with subdivision (b) of Section 21168.9.
(d) Notwithstanding paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 21167.6, the lead agency shall prepare the record of proceedings pursuant to this division and may prepare the record of proceedings concurrently with the environmental review conducted pursuant to this division of a housing element update project.

SECTION 1.Section 21080.52 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:
21080.52.

(a)This division does not apply to the adoption of a housing element, as described in subdivision (c) of Section 65302 of the Government Code, revisions of a housing element pursuant to Section 65588 of the Government Code, and amendments to other general plan elements to ensure consistency with the housing element or comply with legal requirements triggered by a housing element revision, amendment, or update.

(b)This section does not exempt from this division any action to implement a policy or program of an adopted housing element, including the approval of any development project.

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

SEC. 2.Section 21083.3.1 is added to the Public Resources Code, to read:
21083.3.1.

(a)For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:

(1)“Housing element implementation project” means a project that the lead agency has determined based upon substantial evidence meets all of the following criteria:

(A)The project is an action in furtherance of implementing a program in a housing element adopted pursuant to subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 65583 of the Government Code to rezone property to accommodate low-income housing needs.

(B)The project is located within an urban area.

(C)The project is consistent with the goals 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.

(2)“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.

(b)(1)Except as provided in paragraph (2), if an environmental impact report was certified within the last eight years for the adoption or revision of a housing element, as described in subdivision (c) of Section 65302 of the Government Code, the application of this division to the approval of a housing element implementation project shall be limited to the effects on the environment that (A) were not analyzed in the environmental impact report or (B) new information that was not known and could not have been known at the time of the certification of the environmental impact report shows the effects will be more severe significant effects than described in the environmental impact report.

(2)This division does not apply to a housing element implementation project if an environmental impact report was certified for the adoption or revision of a housing element and 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 that the uniformly applicable development policies or standards will substantially mitigate those significant effects described in paragraph (1).

(3)A lead agency determination pursuant to this subdivision shall be supported by substantial evidence.

(c)If a housing element implementation project would result in significant effects described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) and the project is not otherwise exempt under paragraph (2) of subdivision (b), 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 need not consider either of the following:

(1)Alternative locations, densities, and building intensities to the project.

(2)Growth-inducing impacts of the project.

SEC. 3.

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.