AB 2 is the third bill introduced in this effort. It is a reintroduction of Assembly Member Alejo’s AB 2280 from 2014; an earlier version of the measure was AB 1080 (Alejo) of 2013. The measure will be heard on Tuesday, April 14 in the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development.
AB 2 authorizes the creation of a Community Revitalization Investment Authority (CRIA) at the local level. This agency would be empowered to invest the property tax increment of consenting local agencies (other than schools) and use other available funding to improve conditions leading to increased employment opportunities, including reducing high crime rates, repairing deteriorated and inadequate infrastructure, and developing affordable housing. Its powers and responsibilities would mirror those of former redevelopment agencies, but have been tightened in several ways including adding rigorous accountability criteria and increasing the traditional affordable housing set-aside to 25 percent.
While last year’s effort was vetoed, a significant opening occurred when the author was informed by Gov. Jerry Brown’s office that the Governor would consider signing the measure if it was not drafted within the context of former redevelopment statutes. Therefore, the League worked with Assembly Member Alejo’s office to redraft the bill in another area of law to reflect the Governor’s request. Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) is also now joint-author for the measure.
AB 2 would provide communities with additional options. While recently-enacted infrastructure finance districts can be helpful in some areas, they are still unproven and not as focused on the challenges of urban renewal. Urban development is tough. In downtowns and older neighborhoods there is old infrastructure, odd-shaped lots, and environmental conditions that must be remediated. Private developers will avoid the additional risks and costs associated with such parcels. Absent new tools and resources, these areas will deteriorate further.
AB 2 fills a void by offering a tool that can be used in the state’s rural, disadvantaged poorer areas and neighborhoods, which was the original focus of redevelopment. Thus, this tool can be offered to communities, not to the exclusion of other ideas, but to expand the choices available to fit unique local circumstances.
Supporters for the bill include the California Chamber of Commerce, Housing California and the California Business Properties Association.
Cities are encouraged to send support letters for this measure. Copies of the League’s letter, a sample city letter and the most recent coalition support letter can be found on the League’s website