Signed by Governor Brown on September 27, 2013, Senate Bill (SB) 743 includes streamlining provisions to help expedite judicial review of the proposed downtown Sacramento Kings arena. The bill also affects judicial review of environmental leadership projects and procedural requirements for certain infill projects.
The bill lays out requirements for the proposed arena such as carbon-neutral operation which, if met, subject any CEQA challenges to a 270-day resolution timeframe and new rules of court. Snags may arise if the new court rules are not adopted by July 1, 2014, or if litigation precedes that date.
“Environmental leadership projects,” which are projects satisfying particular requirements related to state investment, job creation, and greenhouse gas emissions, qualify for the same 270-day resolution under the bill. SB 743 also extends by six months the period in which to obtain certification for one of these projects, so more projects may receive certification by the new deadline of December 30, 2015.
With SB 743, infill projects in transit priority areas – those near rail stations and other transportation terminals – will no longer have to account for aesthetic and parking impacts under CEQA when undergoing review, since such impacts are no longer considered significant, although any relevant local policies would still need to be considered. The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research is tasked with creating guidelines for assessing transportation impacts within priority areas.