SACRAMENTO - Assemblyman Hector De La Torre (D-South Gate) has gained support for Assembly Bill 521, a proposal that would ease the development of recreational parks and open space on utility rights-of-way "at an affordable rate."The bill passed the Assembly floor last week with bipartisan support and a vote of 64 to 10. Urban communities, including the southeast cities in Los Angeles County, lack the public health, environmental, economic and social benefits that come with having ready access to parks and open space, De La Torre said. Green space also reduces environmental heat, increases property values, and provides critical recreational opportunities for families and communities, he added. "AB 521 will increase the amount of parks and green space in urban communities," De La Torre said. "It's a common sense approach that allows the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to work with local governments to better serve their mutual constituents." Currently, when utility companies lease land that is part of its transmission and distribution of right-of-way, it must first get approval from the PUC for both the intended use and the rent that it will charge. AB 21 is now in the Senate for further consideration.
********** Published: May 22, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 5