A.B. 710 Sails Through Committee, No Date Yet for Full Assembly Hearing

Earlier today, A.B. 710, the Infill Development and Sustainable Community Act of 2011, sailed through a hearing of the California State Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development. If adopted, A.B. 710 would drop minimum parking requirements for infill development in “transit intensive areas” down to one car per residential unit or per 1,000 square feet of retail space.  Infill development is any new project that is built on a currently unoccupied space.

The Oakland Uptown Project is often used as an example of progressive infill development in Northern California.

The only Assembly Member to speak on the legislation was Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), who authored the legislation. Also testifying in favor were Meea Kang, from the California Infill Developers Association, Mark Christian from the American Institute of Architects, Ethan Elkind, a researcher with UCLA and Cal-Berkley, and Christine Minnehan representing both the Western Center for Law and Poverty and California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation.  The NRDC, Policy in Motion, Creative Housing Associates and California Infill Builder’s Association also voiced support for the proposal.

Kang commented that reducing the parking requirements will make it easier and less expensive for developers to invest in transit oriented communities.   Another developer testified that he spends “90% of his time” figuring out the parking for new development and 10% on the other community benefits.

While Minnehan recognized the importance of reforming the state’s parking requirements, she expressed the same concerns that Public Counsel expressed to Streetsblog last week.  First, A.B. 710, as written, undermines existing legislation that encourages developers to include a 5% set-aside for affordable housing in exchange for reduced parking minimums in some circumstances.  Second, Minnehan worried that by making it less expensive to develop near transit that many rent-controlled units in urban areas would be demolished to make way for more expensive development.

Skinner touted her record supporting affordable housing and vowed to make sure her legislation doesn’t have any unintended consequences.  Earlier this week, she accepted an amendment that limits the scope of A.B. 71 by narrowly defining “transit intensive area.”

“transit intensive area” means  an area that is within one-half mile of a major transit stop or  high-quality transit corridor included in a regional transportation  plan. A major transit stop is as defined in Section 21064.3 of the  Public Resources Code, except that, for purposes of this section, it also includes major transit stops that are included in the applicable  regional transportation plan. For purposes of this section, a  high-quality transit corridor means a corridor with fixed route bus  service with service intervals no longer than 15 minutes during peak  commute hours. A project shall be considered to be within one-half  mile of a major transit stop or high-quality transit corridor if all  parcels within the project have no more than 25 percent of their area  farther than one-half mile from the stop or corridor and if not more  than 10 percent of the residential units or 100 units, whichever is  less, in the project are farther than one-half mile from the stop or  corridor.

All four Committee members present, Chair Norma J. Torres, Vice Chair Toni Atkins and Members Steven Bradford and Ben Hueso voted to advance the legislation.


Finally, a 710 Worthy of Support: State Considers Restricting Parking in Transit Oriented Districts (Updated Below)

A.B. 710, the Infill Development and Sustainable Community Act of 2011 introduced by Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) would mandate that automobile parking minimums in Transit Oriented Developments would be capped to one car per residential unit or per 1,000 square feet of retail space.  The Assembly Housing & Community Development Committee is scheduled to hear […]

As Leg. Season Closes for Now, a Review of the Season

While most California cyclists are thrilled that the Senate and Assembly agree that car drivers should give cyclists a three foot berth when speeding past them, the legislative session in Sacramento was mostly positive, but still somewhat mixed.  As the Senate and Assembly prepare to go into recess, here’s where many important pieces of legislation […]

Wait ‘Til Next Year: Parking Reform Bill Pulled from Assembly Committee

With the clock ticking, a state bill that would have banned parking minimums near transit nodes in certain circumstances was pulled from the July 3 California Senate Governance and Finance Committee agenda, shooting down major statewide parking reform efforts for at least another year. A.B. 904, a bill which waspraised by parking policy guru and UCLA professor Donald Shoup, appears to be dead […]

SGC Awards Grants to Boost Smarter Urban Planning in CA Cities

The Strategic Growth Council, a state committee made up of representatives from six California agencies, awarded over $40 million in planning grants last week for projects large and small that are aimed at reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. One of the grants went to the Los Angeles City Planning Department to help quantify the GHG emission reductions […]

Transportation Priorities Jostle for CA’s Cap-and-Trade Revenue

A series of hearings in Sacramento have been revisiting California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, Assembly Bill (A.B.) 32, which calls for a statewide reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) to 1990 levels by 2020. Two recent hearings have opened discussions of Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed spending plan for the revenue received so far from the state’s […]