Subdivision Map Act Extension Bill (AB 333) Provides Relief from Map Deadlines
Beware other changes that can affect your project
In recognition of the difficulty developers are having in obtaining construction financing for entitled projects, Gov. Schwarzenegger signed an urgency measure (AB 333) that will extend the life of tentative maps and vesting tentative maps that had not expired by July 15, 2009.
Specifically, AB 333 automatically extends by 2 years the life of vesting tentative and tentative maps in California that would otherwise have expired before January 1, 2012. This 2-year extension is in addition to any other extension such maps may be entitled to under the Subdivision Map Act (Cal. Govt. Code § 66410 et seq) or other laws. AB 333 provides much needed relief from map deadlines that could have otherwise killed projects (or required them to be re-entitlement) prior to the start of construction.
It is important to note that the legislation only affects unexpired vesting tentative and tentative maps. It does affect the validity or duration of other entitlements that may also have been obtained for the same project as the tentative map. This means that conditional use approvals, building permits and design review approvals remain subject to applicable local regulation. It is worthwhile to check with the local agencies that issued those approvals to see if, like the State of California, they may have adopted regulations that extend the deadlines for starting or completing work. If not, it is important to start early to obtain discretionary extensions.
Be aware that AB 333 also made other changes that may have potentially negative consequences for your project. First, AB 333 amended the period that a final map is protected from the imposition of new conditions (e.g., on building permits) from 5 years to 3 years after recordation. Second, AB 333 also clarified that the now 3-year prohibition on new conditions does not prevent cities and counties from imposing new impact fees any time after a map is approved.
Given these changes to the term of entitlements, it is worthwhile to assess how your project is affected by the additional extensions provided by AB 333 as well as the increased exposure to additional conditions.