Governor Vetoes Economic Impact Report Requirement for Superstores

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One of this year’s most controversial bills was vetoed by Governor Brown in the final minutes of October 9, 2011, his last day to act on the bill. SB 469 (Vargas), the Small & Neighborhood Business Protection Act, would have required acity or county to prepare an “economic impact report” before approving or disapproving the construction or conversion of a “superstore retailer.”

The economic impact report that was proposed by SB 469 would have been a separate and distinct document unrelated to the “urban decay” and other studies typically conducted for superstores in environmental impact reports (EIRs) required under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Unlike CEQA, which applies only to discretionary actions, the economic impact report would have been required even for ministerial superstore-related permit approvals, such as building permits. If it had been signed, SB 469 would have added significant time and expense to the development process by requiring the preparation and approval of the economic impact reports, additional public hearings and, of course, new opportunities for litigation.

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