By William W. Abbott
On February 15, 2013, OPR released its Technical Advisory on Senate Bill 244, a thoughtful discussion on how cities, counties and LAFCos can implement Senate Bill 244 (Wolk) of 2011. The purpose of this legislation is to recognize and facilitate improvements to disadvantaged communities. As with general plans, it is one thing to recognize a challenge, it is another to actually fix it. OPR's Advisory provides a useful summary and links to state funding programs, the proceeds of which undoubtedly will be subject to a very competitive process. Where the Advisory could stand more disclosure is in its treatment of local funding mechanisms. "Principal funding sources for local government infrastructure include taxes, benefit assessments, bonds and exactions (including impact fees)." (Advisory, p. 11) On a theoretical level, the statement is completely accurate. On a practical level, it is not, as most local officials know. Getting local voters to assess or tax themselves has been an uphill battle following passage of Propositions 13, 218 and 62. Local officials are also well aware that new development cannot be required to cure existing facility deficiencies. Rohn v. City of Visailia (1989) 214 Cal.App.3d 1463; Bixel Associates v. City of Los Angeles (1989) 216 Cal.App.3d 1208. So exactly how, in the real world, is local government going to generate local revenues?
I am confident that local government will take OPR's Advisory to heart. Lets hope that the Legislature does as well, and that it steps up to the plate on funding these necessary endeavors.
William W. Abbott is a partner at Abbott & Kindermann, LLP. For questions relating to this article or any other California land use, real estate, environmental and/or planning issues contact Abbott & Kindermann, LLP at (916) 456-9595.
The information presented in this article should not be construed to be formal legal advice by Abbott & Kindermann, LLP, nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Because of the changing nature of this area of the law and the importance of individual facts, readers are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.