New Year Means New Laws for Property Owners in California in 2019
Part III: Environmental Law and Land Use
In the third and final installment of our series on 2018 real estate legislation that will bring about changes in 2019, this blog will highlight some important changes in the areas of environmental law and land use regulation.
In environmental law news, California lawmakers resisted the federal rule to narrow the Clean Water Act, imposing broader jurisdiction over “wetlands”. As such, waters that are no longer protected under the federal Clean Water Act (“CWA”) roll-back will be protected in California. The State Water Resources Control Board (“State Water Board”) is adopting rulemaking to implement a more expansive definition of “wetland” than what is to be encompassed under the federal definition of “waters of the United States.” With this change, California may broadly regulate and require permits for any project proposing to dredge or fill to “water of the United States” including “wetlands” that were intentionally left out of the domain of the federal rules. Crop farmers exempt by federal law may become subject to additional requirements under the State Water Board’s proposal and developers may have additional requirements for wetland or stream losses when compensatory mitigation is required for a project. The State Water Board is expected to consider adoption of the revised rules on March 5, 2019.
In land use, both the City and the County aim to address the current housing shortage by considering eliminating multi-family parking requirements in transit areas and waiving fees for granny flats.
To incentivize the development of multi-family housing units, the City of San Diego is considering a bold proposal to eliminate minimum parking requirements for multi-family housing projects located in designated Transit Priority Areas. Under the proposal, developers would be required to provide certain transit amenities in lieu of parking spaces, but would still have the option to provide parking spaces in line with market demand. The requirement to provide transit amenities would not apply to projects located downtown or in projects which provide a certain amount of on-site affordable housing units. The San Diego City Council is expected to consider and vote on the proposal in spring of 2019.
Also addressing the region’s housing shortage, the County of San Diego adopted a proposal to waive all County permit and development impact fees for accessory dwelling units or granny flats. The programs will potentially result in savings of over $10,000 per unit and is expected to cost the County over $11 million to subsidize the loss of permit revenue. The previous cost of a permit for a granny flat was $1,222 plus $0.411 per square foot. The fee waiver program is expected to end after five years.
Contact the attorneys at Khashayar Law Group and LOKK Legal for more information.
Khashayar Law Group