Gammage & Burnham has continued to watch several important bills related to the development industry make their way – or not – through the Legislature and onto the Governor’s desk. At this point, the Legislature is engaged in budget discussions (which could be resolved at any moment), and most other Legislative activity has wound down. Here is what we can tell you so far.
The Governor has signed the following bills into law.
- SB1258, COVID Permit Expiration Relief. The COVID pandemic inspired the Legislature to advance a bill that will “toll,” or delay, the expiration of permits. If a development project has been delayed because of COVID, this new law could be very helpful. The Governor signed this bill on April 9. It has an emergency clause, so it takes immediate effect.
- HB2317, Community Facilities Districts. This bill reforms Community Facilities Districts by amending the CFD board membership requirements. This bill had been initiated last year, when the Legislative session was cut short by the pandemic, so this bill moved through this year’s session quickly. The Governor signed this bill back on March 18. This bill also has an emergency clause since it was delayed last year, and it took immediate effect.
- SB1448, Agricultural Nuisance Limitations. This bill puts some modest limits on the contour of nuisance lawsuits brought against agricultural operations. The introduced version of this bill had more significant limitations which the Legislature eliminated during the deliberative process. The Governor signed this bill on April 9. This bill does not have an emergency clause, so it will not become effective until later this year.
- SB1409, Housing Cost Impact Analysis. This bill adds a requirement that municipalities must “consider” whether a proposed Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment – any proposed Text Amendment, regardless of its subject matter – will have an impact on housing costs. After sitting on the shelf for several weeks, the Legislature passed the bill on May 4, and the Governor signed it into law on May 11.
The Legislature has decided not to enact the following proposed legislation during this session.
- HB2481 and SB1379, Airbnb Regulations. Both Chambers introduced bills to regulate the short term rental industry. The Senate bill was more modest, and made it out of that Chamber and over to the House, where it died on the House floor after vigorous discussion. Some thought it went too far and some thought it did not go far enough, leaving too few House members who thought it was just right. While the issue is done for this year, we expect the Legislature to take up the issue anew next year.
- HB2716, Deemed Approved Permits. This bill proposed giving local governments seven days to approve production housing permits, or they would be deemed approved. After securing approval in the House, a Senate Committee rejected this proposal.
Although most of the Legislative action is done, two important issues remain unresolved:
- HB2562 and SB1327, Affordable Housing Tax Credits. There appears to be strong bipartisan support for some sort of State tax credit for affordable housing. However, because this credit will have a direct fiscal impact, the Legislature has swept this issue into its budget discussions. We are expecting the budget discussions to produce some form of legislation here, but the specific form of that legislation remains to be seen.
- SB1520, General Plan Amendment Reform. This bill proposes to eliminate the current requirement that local governments consider Major General Plan Amendments at a single hearing each calendar year, allowing them instead to consider Major General Plan Amendments throughout the year. That would indeed be a “Major” change, and would reverse one of the key compromises of the Growing Smarter reforms from the boom years at the start of this century. This bill has enjoyed substantial bipartisan support, but while House Committees have approved it, the House as a whole had not acted by the time we went to press.
If you have questions regarding any of these bills or how they might impact your business or development projects, Gammage & Burnham’s land use team is here to help. The Land Use & Zoning Practice Group at Gammage & Burnham includes: Manjula M. Vaz, Stephen W. Anderson, Susan E. Demmitt, Lindsay C. Schube, Grady Gammage Jr., Cameron C. Artigue, Ashley Zimmerman Marsh, and Michael T. Maerowitz.