August 2009

Legislature Extends Lives of Tentative Subdivision Maps for Two Years

In response to the economic downturn, the Legislature adopted Assembly Bill (AB) 333, which extends the lives of approved tentative subdivision maps by two years. In order to qualify for the extension, tentative maps must have been valid on July 15, 2009 and must otherwise have expired by January 1, 2012. AB 333 is an emergency bill and is applicable immediately. The extension provided by AB 333 may be added on to all previous extensions under the Subdivision Map Act and local ordinances. For example, a map that qualified for the 12-month extension provided by SB 1185, adopted in July 2008, may be extended for an additional two years if the requirements of AB 333 are met. Read More.

Ninth Circuit Decision May Impact Cities’ Regulation of Street Performers and Street Speakers

The Ninth Circuit’s June 2009 en banc decision in Berger v. City of Seattle, 569 F.3d 1029 (9th Cir. 2009) found some of the City of Seattle’s regulations pertaining to street performers and others engaged in expressive conduct to be unconstitutional, including some regulations that it had previously concluded, in 2008, to have passed constitutional muster. This latest decision highlights the fluidity of First Amendment case law and the attendant need for cities to periodically review, and update as necessary, regulations impacting free speech. Read More.

Pooled Funding Program Established for Local Agencies From Whom Property Taxes Were Borrowed by the State

As anticipated, the California Statewide Communities Development Authority (CSCDA) is proceeding with the establishment of a pooled financing program (the "Proposition 1A Securitization Program") for the securitization of State reimbursement obligations to local agencies (cities, counties and special districts) from whom property tax revenues are being "borrowed" by the State as part of it's 2009-2010 budget package. As with the similar 2005 CSCDA program respecting the State's borrowing of VLF moneys from local agencies, participants in this program will be able to receive a significant percentage of the property tax revenues in question (net of pro-rata program costs) from proceeds of sale of CSCDA bonds which will be repaid by the State reimbursement. Read More.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Accepting Applications for Brownfield Grants

This week the EPA announced that it is accepting proposals for Brownfield grants. Agencies may apply for the Brownfields Assessment, Cleanup, and Revolving Loan Fund programs. Grant money may go towards brownfields contaminated by petroleum, other contaminants and/or hazardous substances. The EPA also announced new guidelines for this proposal process, which may be found here. Note that applicants must now own the site at the time they submit the grant proposal, which is different from previous requirements.

The deadline for proposals is Oct. 16, 2009.