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Bill would allow state say in local land-use decisions

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Posted: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 6:13 am, Wed Sep 28, 2011.

A bill sitting on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk could allow the government to weigh in on local land development projects, but cities such as Galt are not in support of such oversight.

Galt is currently in partnership with Walmart to build a new store on Twin Cities Road. The project would not only help keep revenue within city limits, it would also create job opportunities for Galt residents.

But while the plans for the project have already been approved, the state is looking to add a stake in future building projects that cities like Galt may want to undertake.

The bill, dubbed SB469, requires stores over 100,000 square feet in size to conduct other analyses that normally are not required.

These analyses would include things such as an economic impact analysis and a revenue impact analysis — or an examination of how other businesses and smaller stores would fare against big businesses like Walmart.

Galt city manager Jason Behrmann said that by signing the bill into law, it sets a bad precedent for the state government meddling in local land-use decisions.

“What the state is trying to do is to have every city in state conduct the same analysis, whereas in the past it has been left up to local jurisdiction,” Behrmann said. “We ... know what should be analyzed and it should be up to us to determine that, and not the state coming down and telling us what should be done.”

If the bill is passed into law, it should not impact the current Walmart project, Behrmann said, though it could change the way projects are approved in the future.

State Assemblywoman Alyson Huber, D-El Dorado Hills, opposed the bill, saying that it adds an additional layer of red tape to the local government planning process.

“The state should not impose additional barriers on cities or counties as they determine what projects are appropriate for their communities,” she said in a press release. “We should be completely focused on implementing policies that help create jobs, improve the business climate and make the regulatory process more efficient.”

The bill, which was passed by the Assembly on Sept. 1, now sits on Brown’s desk. He has until Sept. 30 to sign or veto the legislation, or the bill becomes law without his signature.

Contact reporter Katie Nelson at katien@lodinews.com.

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