Local Government Agency Oversight Agreement
Beginning January 1, 2014, the Gatto Act (AB 440, Health and Safety Code 25403) creates a local agency program to encourage infill development and the cleanup of brownfields by authorizing local governments to compel cleanup of contaminated properties and reduce local government liabilities. This legislation authorizes a local agency to take action similar to those previously taken by redevelopment agencies under the Polanco Redevelopment Act (Polanco Act) to investigate and clean up a release of hazardous materials in a blighted area within the geographic boundaries of the local agency./p>
The Polanco Act was a law enacted in 1990 to assist redevelopment agencies in addressing Brownfield properties within their jurisdiction. The Act provided immunity from liability for Redevelopment Agencies (RDAs); and subsequent property purchasers when hazardous substance releases are addressed in accordance with specified procedures. As part of the 2011 Budget Act, and in order to protect funding for core public services at the local level, the California Legislature approved the dissolution of the State's 400 plus RDAs, which were officially dissolved as of February 1, 2012. Successor agencies were required to resolve RDA activities and fulfill certain obligations. However, when RDAs were dissolved, there was no clear successor to the Polanco Act authorities. The Gatto Act addresses challenges to local government created by the abolishment of redevelopment agencies by transferring similar authorities to cities, counties, and successor housing agencies.
There are some differences between the Polanco Act and the Gatto Act. For example, the Polanco Act was limited to redevelopment agencies addressing contaminated sites within redevelopment project areas. The Gatto Act allows cities, counties, and successor housing agencies to redevelop blighted areas within their jurisdiction, not just in redevelopment project areas. Note that AB 440 does not replace the existing Polanco Act, rather simply expands redevelopment authorities to accommodate local agencies that are seeking to facilitate redevelopment. More detailed information can be found in the text of the legislation.
DTSC is developing a model Local Government Agency Oversight Agreement for parties who are interested in pursuing this option. For more information, please contact your local Brownfields Coordinator.