By William W. Abbott
Citing the need for planning for the long term, Assemblyman Elwood Mead unveiled his new legislation promoting the planning and development of new urban centers in California, planned and financially underwritten by the State. With a tag line of “Five High and Dry”, this legislation calls for five new urban centers, located above projected climate change impact zones (“high”), developed to the highest standards of water use and reuse efficiency (“dry”). A new state commission would approve and fund these new communities unrestricted by local general plans and zoning regulations. The legislation calls for redirecting state capital investment away from areas which cannot be reasonably saved towards new communities which are truly sustainable measured against all metrics. The Assemblyman’s press release stated: “We are all talking about climate change and water conservation, but no one is really doing anything about it except writing environmental impact reports. This is an opportunity for the State to show some real leadership and innovative thinking by developing safe, sustainable communities. It is time to walk the walk and talk the talk.” A spokesperson for the Assemblyman went on to say: “This is nothing new. Around World War I, the State sponsored two agricultural communities (Delhi and Durham) and we can learn from those experiences. During the first Jerry Brown administration, the legislature passed a new cities bill which the Governor vetoed [https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2245&dat=19811001&id=fGczAAAAIBAJ&sjid=SDIHAAAAIBAJ&pg=7171,3533411&hl=en]. Given what lies in store from climate change, I think that the time has come again to revisit the concept and to prioritize the State’s investment capital. Undoubtedly local governments will be opposed, but let’s face it, it is not as if they have done such a great job.”
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.