Council committee recommends opposition to state land-use bills

Santa Clarita City Hall, as pictured on February, 26, 2020, is located on the 23900 block of Valencia Blvd. Dan Watson/The Signal

The Santa Clarita City Council Legislative Committee briefly met Thursday morning to recommend that the City Council oppose four pieces of state legislation that would expand the state’s land-use authority. 

Councilmen Cameron Smyth and Jason Gibbs voted to recommend the City Council oppose Assembly Bill 989, which would establish a state committee to hear appeals from developers whose projects were rejected by local governments. 

A developer could also appeal “infeasible” conditions of approval placed on a development by a local government, according to Masis Hagobian, the city’s intergovernmental relations analyst. 

“This clearly outlines a preemption of local land use authority,” Hagobian said, adding that a successful appeal would require the local government to reverse its decision within 30 days or potentially face litigation. 

The bill’s first committee hearing is scheduled for April 15. 

Next, the council members recommended opposition to Assembly Bill 1401, which takes away cities’ ability to mandate minimum parking requirements for residential and commercial developments within a one-half mile walking distance of public transit. 

Should the bill become law, Hagobian said, this would impact developments being built near Santa Clarita’s three Metrolink train stations and the Vista Canyon development in Canyon Country. The bill has been referred to two Assembly committees, though hearings have not been scheduled. 

Two Senate bills would disregard local rules regulating the public right of way, like sidewalks. 

Senate Bill 378 would “waive any local regulations regarding the siting of (fiber) equipment and by doing so preempting local authority in the public right of way,” according to Hagobian. 

He said the intent of the bill, which will be heard by the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee on April 19, is to expand wireless technology and high-speed internet access. 

Meanwhile, Senate Bill 556 would allow cable companies, video service providers and telephone companies to install their equipment on publicly owned light poles, traffic signal poles and supporting infrastructure without regard to local ordinances. 

Smyth and Gibbs also recommend the council support two bills from local legislators Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, and Assemblywoman Suzette Valladares, R-Santa Clarita. 

Valladares’ bill, AB 418, would create the Community Power Resiliency Program, which supports local government address issues that arise when utility companies de-energize the power grid. 

Wilk’s Senate Bill 520 provides the public with a new opportunity to comment on large mining projects like the CEMEX sand and gravel mine proposed for Soledad Canyon. The bill will be heard on the Senate floor later this month. 

The full City Council will likely consider the legislative committee’s recommendations later this month, according to Hagobian.

Related To This Story

Latest NEWS