An unprecedented effort to improve regional coordination and land use governance has been underway in California since 2008, when the state passed the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act (Senate Bill 375). The law complements earlier state policy (Assembly Bill 32) to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions across an array of sectors. SB 375 specifically encourages regional land use planning that, when coupled with supportive transportation investments, would help to reduce automobile dependent patterns of land use and sprawl. Implementation of these new regional land use visions and the GHG reductions they promise depend largely on local government land use and development actions.
This report explores the responses of California cities and counties to this experiment in order to understand what may make local governments more or less likely to collaborate with regionally oriented policies. It reports on a survey of California local governments administered in early 2017 and explores two main questions: (1) to what extent are California local governments adopting local land use policy and development decisions that reflect the MPO’s regional land use vision, and (2) what factors make some local governments more likely to cooperate with regional land use visions, and what factors make others less likely to do so?