Press Releases

Senate approves bill to curb suburban sprawl

The Associated Press
Wednesday May 29, 2002

SACRAMENTO — A bill that could give state government significant new power over how and where its cities grow has cleared the Senate. 

The measure would create a state growth blueprint within two years. The plan would reward cities and counties that conserve open space and develop more efficiently. 

The bill, authored by Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, would concentrate growth in urban areas. It would encourage local governments to build in existing cities, mix housing with offices and shops and build housing close to public transportation. 

Local governments that adopt such “smart growth” will be given preference when applying for state competitive grants used for transit, infrastructure and parks. 

The bill, SB 1521, is being pushed by Gov. Gray Davis. It cleared the Senate on a 22-12 vote and will go through the Assembly committees on Local Government and Appropriations before going to the Assembly floor. 

“This will hopefully help with better land use planning and bring housing closer to jobs,” Kuehl said before the Senate vote. “I prefer smart growth to dumb growth.” 

Builders, local municipalities and the real estate industry have barraged the bill with attacks, saying it would take control away from cities and counties. 

“This is called extortion and at best it’s bribery,” said opponent Sen. Ray Haynes, R-Riverside. “Smart growth is just another word for no growth or slow grow. It will just make it less affordable.”