BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                SB 743

                              Senator Jerry Hill, Chair
                              2013-2014 Regular Session
           BILL NO:    SB 743
           AUTHOR:     Steinberg
           AMENDED:    September 12, 2013
           FISCAL:     Yes               HEARING DATE:  Sept. 12, 2013
           URGENCY:    No                CONSULTANT:       Joanne Roy
                          KINGS ARENA

            SUMMARY  :    
            Existing law  :

           1) Under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA):

              a)    Requires lead agencies with the principal  
                 responsibility for carrying out or approving a proposed  
                 discretionary project to prepare a negative declaration,  
                 mitigated declaration, or environmental impact report  
                 (EIR) for this action, unless the project is exempt from  
                 CEQA (CEQA includes various statutory exemptions, as  
                 well as categorical exemptions in the CEQA guidelines).   
                 (Public Resources Code 21000 et seq.).  If there is  
                 substantial evidence, in light of the whole record  
                 before a lead agency, that a project may have a  
                 significant effect on the environment, the lead agency  
                 must prepare a draft EIR.  (CEQA Guidelines  
                 15064(a)(1), (f)(1)).

              b)    Sets requirements relating to the preparation,  
                 review, comment, approval and certification of  
                 environmental documents, as well as procedures relating  
                 to an action or proceeding to attack, review, set aside,  
                 void, or annul various actions of a public agency on the  
                 grounds of noncompliance with CEQA.

              c)    Requires courts to give CEQA-related actions or  
                 proceedings preference over all other civil actions so  
                 that the action or proceeding is quickly heard and  


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                 determined.  (Public Resources Code 21167.1).

           2) Under the Jobs and Economic Improvement Through  
              Environmental Leadership Act of 2011 (AB 900 (Padilla),  
              Chapter 354, Statutes of 2011) (AB 900), which is part of  
              CEQA, establishes CEQA administrative and judicial review  
              procedures for an "environmental leadership development  
              project" (ELDP).  Among the provisions of AB 900:

              a)    Sets procedures that apply to any judicial action or  
                 proceeding alleging that a public agency has approved or  
                 is undertaking an ELDP certified by the Governor in  
                 violation of CEQA (21185), which among other things: i)  
                 require the action or proceeding to be filed in the  
                 Court of Appeal with geographic jurisdiction over the  
                 project; ii) require the Court to issue its decision in  
                 the case within 175 days of filing of the petition.

              b)    Sunsets provisions of AB 900 January 1, 2015.  

            This bill, as approved by the Senate  , revised the California  
           Public Utilities Commission's (CPUC) authority to increase  
           electricity rates under the California Alternatives Rates for  
           Energy program.

            Assembly amendments (September 12, 2013 version of the bill)  
           and the basis for referral back to the Committee on  
           Environmental Quality pursuant to Senate Rule 29.10  , delete  
           the provisions related to electricity rates, and instead do  
           the following:

           1)Establish findings related to the arena project.

           2)Establish definitions for purposes of the bill, including:

                a)     "Downtown arena" means an arena that will be  
                  certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design  
                  (LEED) Gold within one year of the first National  
                  Basketball Association (NBA) season and will minimize  
                  traffic and air quality impacts through project design  
                  or mitigation measures that will do all of the  


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                      i.          Reduce to at least zero the net  
                       greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from private  
                       automobile trips to the arena as compared to the  
                       baseline (existing arena), as verified by the  
                       Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management  

                      ii.         Achieve per attendee reduction in GHG  
                       emissions from automobiles and light trucks,  
                       compared to existing arena during 2012-13 NBA  
                       season, that will exceed the GHG emission  
                       reduction targets for 2020 and 2035 adopted for  
                       the Sacramento region pursuant to SB 375.

                      iii.        Achieve and maintain vehicle-miles  
                       traveled per attendee for NBA events that is no  
                       more than 85% of the baseline (i.e., 15% less than  
                       existing arena).

                b)     "Entertainment and sports center project" means a  
                  project that substantially conforms to the project  
                  description set forth in the City's notice of  
                  preparation (NOP).  (According to the City's NOP, the  
                  proposed project would be located on the Downtown Plaza  
                  property and on other property that may transferred to  
                  applicant and would include demolition of portions of  
                  the existing buildings, the construction and operation  
                  of an approximately 18,500 seat arena, and up to  
                  1,500,000 square feet of office, retail, housing and  
                  hotel uses at the project site.  The arena would serve  
                  as the home for the Sacramento Kings, as well as a  
                  venue for other sports, entertainment, civic and  
                  cultural events.)

           3)Authorize the City to prosecute an eminent domain action  
             associated with the downtown arena prior to completing CEQA  
             review for the project.  Limits the application of the  
             eminent domain provision to 545 and 600 K Street and  
             surrounding publicly accessible areas and rights-of-way  
             within 200 feet of 600 K Street (i.e., Men's Macy's  
             property), and provides that the provision shall not apply  
             to any other eminent domain actions prosecuted by the City  
             of Sacramento or to eminent domain actions based on a  


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             finding of blight.

           4)Establish special procedures applicable to an action or  
             proceeding brought to attack, review, set aside, void, or  
             annul the certification of the EIR for the project or the  
             granting of any project approvals, including requiring  
             Judicial Council to adopt a rule of court, by July 1, 2014,  
             requiring lawsuits and any appeals to be resolved, to the  
             extent feasible, within 270 days of certification of the  
             record of proceedings (which must occur within five days of  
             the lead agency filing the notice of determination on the  

           5)Establish special procedures for public participation in  
             CEQA review of the project:

                a)     Require the project EIR to include a specified  
                  notice that the EIR is subject to the provisions of the  
                  section added by this bill.

                b)     Require the lead agency to conduct an  
                  informational workshop within 10 days of release of the  
                  Draft EIR and hold a public hearing within 10 days  
                  before close of the public comment period.

                c)     Require the lead agency and applicant to  
                  participate in nonbinding mediation with any party who  
                  submitted comments on the Draft EIR and requested  
                  mediation within five days of the close of the public  
                  comment period, with the cost to be paid by the  
                  applicant.  Requires mediation to end within 35 days of  
                  the close of the public comment period.

                d)     Require the lead agency to adopt any measures  
                  agreed upon in mediation.  Prohibits a commenter from  
                  raising an issue addressed by that measure in a  

                e)     Permit the lead agency to ignore written comments  
                  submitted after the close of the public comment period,  
                  with specified exceptions for materials addressing new  
                  information released after the close of the public  
                  comment period.


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                f)     Require the lead agency to provide all EIR  
                  documents and comments in an electronic format (with  
                  the exception of certain copyright-protected  
                  documents), certify the record within five days of  
                  filing the notice of determination, provide the record  
                  to a party upon written request, and provide the record  
                  to the superior court within 10 days of the filing of a  
                  petition for review.

           6)Require the lead agency, as a condition of approval of the  
             project, to require the applicant to implement mitigation  
             measures required by CEQA by the end of the first NBA season  
             during which an NBA team has played at the arena.  

           7)Require the lead agency to consider, and implement if  
             feasible and necessary to achieve the GHG and traffic  
             reduction objectives specified in the bill, the following  
             mitigation measures as a condition of project approval:

                a)     Temporarily expanding the capacity of a public  
                  transit line, as needed, to serve downtown arena  

                b)     Providing private charter buses or other similar  
                  services, as needed, to serve downtown arena events.

                c)     Paying its fair share of the cost of measures that  
                  expand the capacity of a public fixed or light rail  
                  station that is used by spectators attending downtown  
                  arena events.

           8)Require the lead agency to place highest priority on  
             feasible emission reduction measures on the arena site and  
             downtown area.  Require use of offset credits only after  
             feasible local measures have been implemented, and require  
             that the applicant place the highest priority on the  
             purchase of offset credits that produce emission reductions  
             within the city or the boundaries of the Sacramento  
             Metropolitan Air Quality Management District.

           9)Prohibit, generally, a court, in granting relief, from  
             staying or enjoining the construction or operation of the  


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             arena and provides that a court may only enjoin those  
             specific activities associated with the arena that present  
             an imminent threat to public health and safety or that  
             materially, permanently, and adversely affect unforeseen  
             important Native American artifacts or unforeseen important  
             historical, archaeological, or ecological values.

           10)Provide that the provisions of the bill related to the  
             arena (Section 2) are severable, and do not apply if the  
             applicant fails to notify the lead agency prior to release  
             of the Draft EIR that the applicant is electing to proceed  
             pursuant to the provisions of the bill.

           11)Revise AB 900 (Buchanan and Gordon), which establishes  
             procedures for expedited judicial review by the Court of  
             Appeal for "environmental leadership" projects certified by  
             the Governor and meeting specified conditions, including  
             LEED silver-certified infill site projects, clean renewable  
             energy projects, and clean energy manufacturing projects, as  

                a)     Repeal provision that gives original jurisdiction  
                  to the Court of Appeal and requires the court to issue  
                  its decision within 175 days.

                b)     Instead require Judicial Council to adopt a rule  
                  of court, by July 1, 2014, mandating lawsuits and any  
                  appeals to be resolved within 270 days.

                c)     Define "prevailing wages" for purposes of AB 900's  
                  requirement that environmental leadership projects pay  
                  prevailing wages.

                d)     Extend the deadline for certification of projects  
                  under AB 900 from June 1, 2014, to January 1, 2016.

                e)     Extend AB 900's sunset from January 1, 2015, to  
                  January 1, 2017.

           12)Amend the Congestion Management Act (Government Code  
             Section 65088, et seq.) to expand the definition of "infill  
             opportunity zone" to include areas within one-half mile of  
             an existing or planned major transit stop (to be consistent  


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             with the definition of "transit priority area" in this  
             bill), and authorizes a city or county to designate an  
             infill opportunity zone (currently subject to a December 31,  
             2009, sunset and other limiting conditions), for the purpose  
             of obtaining an exemption from the application of "level of  
             service standards" (LOS, a threshold that defines a  
             deficiency on the congestion management program highway and  
             roadway system which requires the preparation of a  
             deficiency plan).  The effect of these provisions is to  
             reinstate prior law allowing local governments to opt out of  
             LOS requirements in infill areas.

           13)Require OPR to propose revisions to the CEQA Guidelines to  
             establish new, non-LOS criteria for determining the  
             significance of transportation impacts of projects within  
             "transit priority areas." 

                a)     Define "transit priority area" as an area within  
                  one-half mile of a major transit stop (i.e., rail  
                  transit station, a ferry terminal served by either a  
                  bus or rail transit service, or the intersection of two  
                  or more major bus routes) that is either existing or  
                  planned, if the planned stop is scheduled to be  
                  completed within the planning horizon of a specified  
                  federal transportation plan.

                b)     Define "employment center project" as a project  
                  located on property zoned for commercial uses, with a  
                  floor area ratio of no less than 0.75, located within  
                  one-half mile of a major transit stop or high-quality  
                  transit corridor included in a regional transportation  

                c)     Require the criteria to promote the reduction of  
                  GHG emissions, the development of multi-modal  
                  transportation networks, and a diversity of land uses.

                d)     Require OPR to recommend potential metrics to  
                  measure transportation impacts, including vehicle miles  
                  traveled, vehicle miles traveled per capita, automobile  
                  trip generation rates, or automobile trips generated.

                e)     Authorize OPR to establish criteria for models  


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                  used to analyze transportation impacts to ensure the  
                  models are accurate, reliable, and consistent with the  
                  intent of this section. 

                f)     Provide that automobile delay, as described solely  
                  by LOS or similar measures of capacity or congestion,  
                  shall not support a finding of significance pursuant to  
                  CEQA,   except in locations specifically identified in  
                  the guidelines, if any, once these guidelines are  
                  certified by the Secretary of the Natural Resources  

                g)     Provide that aesthetic and parking impacts of  
                  residential, mixed-use, and employment center projects  
                  on infill sites shall not be considered significant  
                  impacts on the environment for purposes of CEQA, while  
                  also stating that the authority of a lead agency to  
                  consider aesthetic impacts pursuant to local design  
                  review ordinances or other discretionary powers is not  

           14)Authorize OPR to adopt CEQA Guidelines establishing metrics  
             for analysis of transportation impacts that are alternatives  
             to LOS to be used outside transit priority areas.

           15)Establish a new CEQA exemption for a residential,  
             mixed-use, and employment center project, including any  
             subdivision or zoning change, that meets the following  

                a)     The project is located within a transit priority  

                b)     The project is undertaken to implement and is  
                  consistent with a specific plan for which an EIR has  
                  been certified.

                c)     The project 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  
                  alternative planning strategy adopted pursuant to SB  


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                d)     Requires further environmental review only if any  
                  of the following events have occurred:

                      i.          Substantial changes are proposed in the  
                       project which will require major revisions of the  

                      ii.         Substantial changes occur with respect  
                       to the circumstances under which the project is  
                       being undertaken which will require major  
                       revisions in the EIR.

                      iii.        New information, which was not known  
                       and could not have been known at the time the EIR  
                       was certified as complete, becomes available.

            COMMENTS  :

            1) Purpose of Bill  .  Proponents of SB 743 provide the  
              following reasons why this bill is necessary and urgent: 

                      The team was required to meet a construction  
                  deadline of September 2016 since the competing city was  
                  nearly a year ahead in the construction process.

                      The EIR certification is anticipated in April of  
                  2014.  Without relief from construction injunction  
                  before the date, the project will not meet a demolition  
                  deadline of August 2014.

                      If the team misses any deadline, penalties in the  
                  amount of $1 million or more will result.

                      Multiple missed deadlines could result in  
                  forfeiture of the team.

              In order to meet the deadlines for completing construction  
              of the arena, this bill establishes special administrative  
              and judicial review procedural requirements under CEQA for  
              this project.  

            1) Sacramento Entertainment and Sports Center (ESC)  .  The City  


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              of Sacramento is the lead agency for the Sacramento Kings  
              arena project.  The project's location includes cross  
              streets of J, K and L Streets between 3rd and 7th Streets  
              in downtown Sacramento.  The City provides the following  
              project description in the NOP:
                 Construction and operation of an entertainment and sports  
                center on approximately 18.5 acres.  The proposed ESC  
                Project would be located on the Downtown Plaza property  
                and on other property which may be transferred to  
                Applicant and would include demolition of portions of the  
                existing buildings, and the construction and operation of  
                an approximately 18,500 seat entertainment and sports  
                center and up to 1,500,000 square feet of office, retail,  
                housing and hotel uses at the ESC Project Site.  The ESC  
                would serve as the home for the Sacramento Kings, a  
                National Basketball Association team, as well as a venue  
                for other sports, entertainment, and civic and cultural  

              The lead agency commenced the environmental review in April  
              2013 and the final notice of determination is expected to  
              be filed in April 2014.  The goal of the project proponent  
              is to have the arena construction completed in the fall of  
              2016 in time for the NBA basketball season.

            2) Eminent Domain Prior To EIR Certification  .  SB 743  
              authorizes the City of Sacramento to prosecute eminent  
              domain proceedings on 545 and 600 K Street in Sacramento,  
              and surrounding publicly accessible areas and rights-of-way  
              within 200 feet of 600 K Street prior to certification of  
              the ESC project EIR.

               a)    Eminent Domain  :  "Eminent domain" is the power of the  
                 government to seize private property without the  
                 property owner's consent.  Kelo v. City of New London,  
                 545 U.S. 469 (2005) is a case decided by the U.S.  
                 Supreme Court involving the use of eminent domain for  
                 property to be transferred to a private owner for the  
                 purpose of economic development.  The Court found that  
                 if an economic project creates new jobs, increases tax  
                 and other city revenues, and revitalizes a depressed or  
                 blighted urban area, then it qualifies as a public use  


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                 within the meaning of the Takings Clause of the Fifth  
                 Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  The Fifth Amendment  
                 forbids the confiscation of private property for public  
                 use "without just compensation", so that anyone whose  
                 property is acquired does receive some compensation.   
                 This is decided not by direct negotiation between  
                 prospective developer and current owner but by the  
                 government agency prosecuting the eminent domain  

              b)    Sequence of events for CEQA review  :   The  
                 environmental review process is currently underway for  
                 the Kings Arena and expected to be completed in April  
                 2014.  As noted above, SB 743 allows for the City of  
                 Sacramento to prosecute an eminent domain proceeding for  
                 specified properties associated with the arena prior to  
                 the certification of the EIR.  

              CEQA requires a lead agency to prepare an EIR on a project  
                 that the agency proposes to carry out or approve if that  
                                   project may cause a significant environmental impact.   
                 The degree to which a lead agency commits to a proposed  
                 project may determine how early in the process CEQA  
                 compliance should occur.  

              In Save Tara v. City of West Hollywood (2008) 45 Cal.4th  
                 116, the California Supreme Court addressed the question  
                 whether and under what circumstances an agency's  
                 agreement allowing private development, conditioned on  
                 future compliance with CEQA, constitutes approval of the  
                 project within the meanings of PRC 21100 and 21151.   
                 The Court stated, "When an agency has not only expressed  
                 its inclination to favor a project, but has increased  
                 the political stakes by publically defending it over  
                 objections, putting its official weight behind it,  
                 devoting substantial public resources to it, and  
                 announcing a detailed agreement to go forward with the  
                 project, the agency will not be easily deterred from  
                 taking whatever steps remain toward the project's final  
                 approval."  (Save Tara v. City of West Hollywood (2008)  
                 45 Cal.4th 116, 135).  The Court concluded that under  
                 some circumstances, such an agreement does amount to  
                 approval and must be preceded by preparation of an EIR.   


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              A difficult challenge caused by public-private negotiations  
              for a complex project, like the construction of an NBA  
              basketball arena, is that the endeavor requires intense  
              negotiation and cooperation between private parties and  
              public agencies, which is likely to occur prior to an  
              environmental review.  However, it may not be prudent to  
              allow the internal momentum of the approval process to  
              become so strong that the eventual environmental review  
              simply becomes a "rubber stamp."  It would seem consistent  
              with the holding in Save Tara that an eminent domain  
              proceeding be prosecuted after completion of the  
              environmental review.  This bill allows the City of  
              Sacramento to prosecute an eminent domain proceeding prior  
              to certification of the EIR.

            3) Sports Venues and CEQA  .  Several sports venues built in  
              California have been subject to CEQA.  Two proposed sports  
              venues have been granted a statutory CEQA exemption or  
              fast-tracking provisions: 

                  Farmers Field in downtown Los Angeles:  SB 292  
                (Padilla), Chapter 353, Statutes of 2011, established  
                expedited judicial review procedures and required  
                implementation of specified traffic and air quality  
                mitigation measures under CEQA for a proposed new sports  
                arena and convention center, Anschutz Entertainment  
                Group's (AEG's) Farmers Field, in downtown Los Angeles.   
                It is questionable whether the Farmers Field stadium will  
                actually be built.  In late March 2013, Los Angeles  
                officials agreed to pursue a parallel track for  
                redeveloping the city's convention Center in the event  
                that AEG and National Football League (NFL) fail to reach  
                agreement on the Farmers Field stadium downtown.  AEG has  
                until October 2014 to find a team before its project  
                agreement with the city expires.  

                  NFL football stadium in City of Industry:  ABx3 81  
                (Hall), Chapter 30, Statutes of 2009, waived  
                environmental review and land use planning requirements  
                as they applied to a proposed NFL football stadium  
                project in the City of Industry.  Proponents contended  


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                that absent the bill, the project would be delayed  
                needlessly and would jeopardize the project's financing  
                and postpone the project's economic benefits.  Four years  
                later, the project has yet to break ground.

              However, there are a number of major sports venues that  
              have been built, or currently under construction, and that  
              have complied with CEQA, including:  

                  Levi Stadium, Santa Clara (Under construction, opening  
                planned for July 2014).
                  San Jose Earthquakes Stadium, Santa Clara (Under  
                construction, opening planned for mid-2014).
                  Petco Park in San Diego (Opened 2004).
                  StubHub Center, formerly Home Depot Center, Carson  
                (Opened 2003).
                  AT&T Park, San Francisco (Opened in 2000).  *
                  Staples Center and the LA Live complex, Los Angeles  
                (Opened 1999).
                  The Honda Center in Anaheim (Opened in 1993).
                  Sleep Train Arena, originally ARCO Arena, Sacramento  
                (Opened 1988).

                * Some people mistakenly believe that the San Francisco  
                Giants' baseball park was exempted from CEQA.  SB 181  
                (Kopp), Chapter 4, Statutes of 1997, exempted from CEQA  
                the relocation of occupants or uses from real property  
                pursuant to the Relocation Assistance Act on property  
                consisting of the site on which the San Francisco Giants  
                Ballpark is located.  It should be noted that SB 181  
                specified that the exemption could not affect the  
                application of CEQA to any discretionary action by a  
                public agency not otherwise exempted by this provision,  
                including the ballpark construction.  Also, SB 181  
                prohibited the exemption from restricting the ability or  
                rights of relocated occupants to challenge or appeal the  
                relocation options.

            1) Fixing An Issue in AB 900  .  One of the benefits provided by  
              AB 900 for an ELDP was that any CEQA challenge will proceed  
              directly to the Court of Appeal, bypassing the superior  
              court, which would reduce the potential for long, drawn-out  
              litigation and help major construction projects break  


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              ground more quickly.  In April 2012, the Planning and  
              Conservation League filed a lawsuit in Alameda Superior  
              Court (Conservation League v. State of California, Alameda  
              Sup. Ct. Case No. RG1262904) challenging the  
              constitutionality of this component of AB 900, contending  
              that AB 900 violates Article VI, Section 10 of the  
              California Constitution, which provides that "[t]he Supreme  
              Court, courts of appeal, superior court, and their  
              judges?have original jurisdiction in proceedings for  
              extraordinary relief in the nature of mandamus, certiorari,  
              and prohibition."  In March 2013, the Alameda County  
              Superior Court struck down this provision as  
              unconstitutional for being "inconsistent with the  
              constitutional mandates of where writs of mandate can be  

           This bill addresses the constitutional issue raised in the  
              Alameda Superior Court case by repealing the provision  
              granting original jurisdiction to the Court of Appeal and  
              requiring the court to issue its decision within 175 days,  
              and instead requires Judicial Council to adopt a rule of  
              court, by July 1, 2014, requiring lawsuits and any appeals  
              to be resolved within 270 days.

            2) Court Calendar Preference and Guaranteed Time Frames  .   
              Current law requires the courts to give CEQA-related cases  
              preference over "all other civil actions? so that the  
              action or proceeding shall be quickly heard and  
              determined."  (PRC 21167.1).  In addition to this existing  
              mandate, SB 743 provides that the courts must complete the  
              judicial review process in a given time frame for certain  
              CEQA-related actions or proceedings when specified criteria  
              are met.  As a consequence, such mandates on a court delay  
              access for other, unknown cases such as medical malpractice  
              suits, wrongful death suits, or contract disputes, as well  
              as potentially exacerbating a court's backlog on civil  
              documents such as filing a new civil complaint, processing  
              answers and cross complaints, or processing a demurrer or  
              summary judgment.  This bill requires a court to make room  
              on its calendar, potentially pushing other cases aside, to  
              ensure that specified time frames are met on certain CEQA  
              cases.  Calendar preferences and guaranteed time frames  
              create additional demands and burden on our courts that  


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              have very limited resources and a never-ending supply of  
              cases to hear.  

           In addition, Judicial Council notes, "expedited judicial  
              review for select projects covered by SB 743 while other  
              cases proceed under the usual civil procedure rules and  
              timelines, in the council's view, undermines equal access  
              to justice.  The courts are charged with dispensing equal  
              access to justice for each and every case on their dockets.  
               Singling out these special categories of cases for such  
              preferential treatment appears at odds with how our justice  
              system has historically functioned."

            3) Traffic Level of Service (LOS)  .  LOS is a measure used by  
              traffic engineers to determine the effectiveness of  
              elements of transportation infrastructure.  LOS measures  
              how quickly cars can move through a street.  LOS is most  
              commonly used to analyze highways by categorizing traffic  
              flow with corresponding safe driving conditions and can  
              also be applied to intersections, transit, potable water,  
              sanitary sewer service, solid waste removal, drainage, and  
              public open space and recreation facilities.  Some contend  
              that LOS is outdated and does not consider person delay and  
              neglects transit, pedestrian crossings, and bicycles, and  
              believe that an over-reliance on LOS considerations by  
              planners has traditionally led to widening intersections  
              and roadways to move automobile traffic faster at the  
              expense of other modes of transportation.  The bill  
              authorizes OPR to update the standard for analyzing  
              transportation impacts of projects to replace LOS in  
              transit priority areas and as an alternative to LOS in  
              locations outside of transit priority areas, to the extent  
              authorized by the Congestion Management Act.  

            4) Parking  .  In San Franciscans Upholding the Downtown Plan v.  
              City and County of San Francisco (1st Dist. 2002) 102  
              Cal.App.4th 656, the Court found that the fact that an  
              urban development project does not "self-park" is not a  
              CEQA impact in and of itself, but any environmental impacts  
              foreseeably caused by a project's deficiency of "on-site"  
              parking should be analyzed and mitigated.  This holding is  
              consistent with environmentally beneficial infill policies  
              that discourage on-site parking and automobile use and  


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              promotes mass transit and alternative forms of  
              transportation.  Since the San Francisco case,  
              consideration of parking issues in CEQA has been limited to  
              questions about whether there might be environmental  
              impacts from a lack of parking, such as increased traffic  
              congestion at intersections and air quality impacts caused  
              by that congestion.  This bill provides that the parking  
              impact of a residential, mixed-use residential, or  
              employment center project on an infill site within a  
              transit priority area is not to be considered a significant  
              impact on the environment.

            5) Aesthetics  .  The purpose of analyzing aesthetics in CEQA is  
              to identify and evaluate key visual resources in a project  
              area, and to determine the degree of visual impact that  
              would be attributable to a proposed project.  Aesthetics  
              refers to visual considerations, including scenic  
              resources, scenic vistas, changes in visual character,  
              lighting or glare.  This bill provides that aesthetic  
              impacts of a residential, mixed-use residential, or  
              employment center project on an infill site within a  
              transit priority area are not to be considered significant  
              impacts on the environment.

            6) Past Legislation  .  SB 226 (Simitian), Chapter 469, Statutes  
              of 2011, establishes abbreviated CEQA review procedures for  
              specified infill projects, where only specific or more  
              significant effects on the environment which were not  
              addressed in a prior planning-level EIR need be addressed.   
              An EIR for such a project need not consider alternative  
              locations, densities, and building intensities or  
              growth-inducing impacts.  Infill projects may include  
              residential, retail, commercial, transit station, school,  
              or public office building projects located within an urban  
              area.  Requires OPR to develop CEQA guidelines, including  
              statewide standards to promote smart growth, reduction of  
              greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, reduction in water use,  
              energy efficiency improvements and protection of public  

           SB 375 (Steinberg), Chapter 728, Statutes of 2008, requires  
              metropolitan planning organizations to include a  
              sustainable communities strategy (SCS), as defined, in  


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              their regional transportation plans, or an alternative  
              planning strategy (APS), for the purpose of reducing GHG  
              emissions, aligns planning for transportation and housing,  
              and creates specified incentives for the implementation of  
              the strategies, including CEQA exemption or abbreviated  
              review for eligible residential projects.    

           SB 1925 (Sher), Chapter 1039, Statutes of 2002, exempts from  
              CEQA specified residential housing projects which meet  
              criteria established to ensure the project does not have a  
              significant effect on the environment, including urban  
              infill housing projects not more than 100 units on a site  
              not more than four acres in size which is within one-half  
              mile of a major transit stop.  

            SOURCE  :        Author  

           SUPPORT :       Sacramento Kings
           Infill Builders Federation
           OPPOSITION  :    Judicial Council of California