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Legislature Responds to Economic Downturn by Extending the Lives of Tentative Subdivision Maps for Two Years

In response to the economic downturn, the Legislature adopted Assembly Bill (AB) 333, which extends the lives of approved tentative subdivision maps by two years.

In order to qualify for the extension, tentative maps must have been valid on July 15, 2009 and must otherwise have expired by January 1, 2012. AB 333 is an emergency bill and is applicable immediately. The extension provided by AB 333 may be added on to all previous extensions under the Subdivision Map Act and local ordinances. For example, a map that qualified for the 12-month extension provided by SB 1185, adopted in July 2008, may be extended for an additional two years if the requirements of AB 333 are met.

AB 333 also makes two other changes to the law. First, it extends all state legislative, administrative and other project approvals related to the map for two years. However, it does not extend local project approvals. It is therefore important to review the expiration of local approvals related to the map and seek any available extension from local agencies to keep these approvals from expiring before the map expires. Second, AB 333 revises the existing protections for recorded final and parcel maps against later imposition of conditions under Government Code section 65961. Section 65961 protects final maps from new conditions for five years from the date of recordation. However, maps that qualify for the AB 333 two-year extension are protected from new conditions for a shorter period of time—three years instead of five. AB 333 also allows a city or county to impose a new fee or condition for the issuance of a building permit for projects under the extended maps.

It is important to note the difference between the life of the map and the duration of any vested rights associated with such map. Extending the life of a vesting tentative map does not necessarily extend the duration of the vested rights associated with the map, which are set by local ordinance or state law. AB 333 is silent as to whether the map extension also extends the vested rights associated with the map. So, vesting tentative map approvals should be reviewed to confirm when the vested rights under the map expire.

Meyers Nave attorneys regularly advise clients on land use processes to help ensure compliance with the State Planning and Zoning Law, the California Environmental Quality Act, the Coastal Act and other land use and environmental laws. Our expertise includes planned unit developments, variances, conditional use permits, subdivision maps, subdivision improvement and encroachment agreements.

For more information about AB 333 or other subdivision law matters, please contact Adam Lindgren or Erin Burg Hupp.