Surplus Land Act Inventory Requirements and Newly Issued Compliance Resources

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Getting Ahead of an Annual AB 1486 Mandate and New State-issued Compliance Tools

Since Assembly Bill 1486 went into effect more than two and a half years ago, California cities, special districts and other local agencies have grappled with interpreting and complying with the Surplus Land Act (SLA).

One annual requirement is set out in Government Code section 54230, which mandates that California cities and counties (but not special districts or other local agencies) prepare, by Dec. 31 of each year, an inventory of all “surplus land,” as that term is defined in the Act, and all “lands in excess of its foreseeable needs,” as that phrase is used in Government Code section 50569. Based on technical advice received from the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), the practical difference between these two categories of land is essentially one of timing. “Surplus land” is land that is no longer necessary for an agency’s use and has been officially declared “surplus” by the local agency’s governing body. “Excess land” is land that is beyond an agency’s foreseeable needs, but has not yet been declared surplus.

The inventory must be made available, free of charge, to anyone who requests it. In addition, the inventory must be submitted to HCD by April 1 of each year as part of its Housing Element annual progress report (APR), pursuant to Government Code section 65400. HCD has prescribed a form (Table H) for inventory submission. For more information about APRs, see HCD’s dedicated APR website.

Inventory Details
At a minimum, the inventory must include the following information for each parcel of land:

  • Street address or similar location information
  • Assessor’s parcel number
  • Existing use
  • Whether the site is surplus land or exempt surplus land
  • Size in acres

Tool for Developers
Once received by HCD, the land will be added to a digitized inventory of all State-owned parcels that are in excess of the State’s needs. For private developers, both the local and statewide inventories present efficient means of identifying surplus and excess land for strategic development.

New SLA Compliance Resources
In the effort to help local agencies with their efforts to comply with AB 1486, HCD just issued the following new technical assistance materials:

[View source.]

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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