Code Section

Public Resources Code - PRC

DIVISION 13. ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY [21000 - 21189.70.10]

  ( Division 13 added by Stats. 1970, Ch. 1433. )

CHAPTER 2.7. Modernization of Transportation Analysis for Transit-Oriented Infill Projects [21099- 21099.]
  ( Chapter 2.7 added by Stats. 2013, Ch. 386, Sec. 5. )


(a) For purposes of this section, the following terms mean the following:

(1) “Employment center project” means a project located on property zoned for commercial uses with a floor area ratio of no less than 0.75 and that is located within a transit priority area.

(2) “Floor area ratio” means the ratio of gross building area of the development, excluding structured parking areas, proposed for the project divided by the net lot area.

(3) “Gross building area” means the sum of all finished areas of all floors of a building included within the outside faces of its exterior walls.

(4) “Infill site” means a lot located within an urban area 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.

(5) “Lot” means all parcels utilized by the project.

(6) “Net lot area” means the area of a lot, excluding publicly dedicated land and private streets that meet local standards, and other public use areas as determined by the local land use authority.

(7) “Transit priority area” means an area within one-half mile of a major transit stop that is existing or planned, if the planned stop is scheduled to be completed within the planning horizon included in a Transportation Improvement Program or applicable regional transportation plan.

(b) (1) The Office of Planning and Research shall prepare, develop, and transmit to the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency for certification and adoption proposed revisions to the guidelines adopted pursuant to Section 21083 establishing criteria for determining the significance of transportation impacts of projects within transit priority areas. Those criteria shall promote the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the development of multimodal transportation networks, and a diversity of land uses. In developing the criteria, the office shall recommend potential metrics to measure transportation impacts that may include, but are not limited to, vehicle miles traveled, vehicle miles traveled per capita, automobile trip generation rates, or automobile trips generated. The office may also establish criteria for models used to analyze transportation impacts to ensure the models are accurate, reliable, and consistent with the intent of this section.

(2) Upon certification of the guidelines by the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency pursuant to this section, automobile delay, as described solely by level of service or similar measures of vehicular capacity or traffic congestion, shall not be considered a significant impact on the environment pursuant to this division, except in locations specifically identified in the guidelines, if any.

(3) This subdivision does not relieve a public agency of the requirement to analyze a project’s potentially significant transportation impacts related to air quality, noise, safety, or any other impact associated with transportation. The methodology established by these guidelines shall not create a presumption that a project will not result in significant impacts related to air quality, noise, safety, or any other impact associated with transportation. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the adequacy of parking for a project shall not support a finding of significance pursuant to this section.

(4) This subdivision does not preclude the application of local general plan policies, zoning codes, conditions of approval, thresholds, or any other planning requirements pursuant to the police power or any other authority.

(5) On or before July 1, 2014, the Office of Planning and Research shall circulate a draft revision prepared pursuant to paragraph (1).

(c)  (1) The Office of Planning and Research may adopt guidelines pursuant to Section 21083 establishing alternative metrics to the metrics used for traffic levels of service for transportation impacts outside transit priority areas. The alternative metrics may include the retention of traffic levels of service, where appropriate and as determined by the office.

(2) This subdivision shall not affect the standard of review that would apply to the new guidelines adopted pursuant to this section.

(d) (1) Aesthetic and parking impacts of a residential, mixed-use residential, or employment center project on an infill site within a transit priority area shall not be considered significant impacts on the environment.

(2) (A) This subdivision does not affect, change, or modify the authority of a lead agency to consider aesthetic impacts pursuant to local design review ordinances or other discretionary powers provided by other laws or policies.

(B) For the purposes of this subdivision, aesthetic impacts do not include impacts on historical or cultural resources.

(e) This section does not affect the authority of a public agency to establish or adopt thresholds of significance that are more protective of the environment.

(Amended by Stats. 2019, Ch. 466, Sec. 5. (AB 1824) Effective January 1, 2020.)