Menifee officials explain to developers new traffic study rules required by the state

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Menifee developers joined city planners and engineers to learn about the new traffic impact study requirements under California Senate Bill 743 in a virtual workshop conducted online Tuesday, April 21.

The Menifee Community Development and Public Works Department hosted the workshop to explain to local developers and builders the new way the state is requiring developers to measure the traffic impact on the environment in their new projects to meet the goals set down by the California Environmental Quality Act.

SB 743 requires the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research to identify new metrics for identifying and mitigating transportation impacts within CEQA. As a result, former Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill written by former state Sen. Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento in 2013, which creates a process to change the way that transportation impacts are analyzed under CEQA.

Before SB 743, the development community measured the traffic impact of their projects in cities and counties across the state, subject to the CEQA requirements, by accounting for the number of vehicles that would be added to the roadways as a result. The studies, which were usually made by the project planners or a consultant, determined what fees, if any, would be charged or what changes would be needed to mitigate the impact.

Doug Darnell, the city’s senior planner and the staff, showed developers what the new required measurements would be: how many miles, trips, and how many people and types of vehicles would be coming to the project.

It was explained that some of the new projects would not have to make the traffic mitigation study including buildings under 50,000 square feet, school buildings, public buildings and other specific essential service facilities.

Others city officials participating in the workshop included Menifee Mayor Bill Zimmerman, Director of Public Works Jonathan Smith, Community Development Director Cheryl Kitzerow and Economic Development Director Gina Gonzales.

The SB 743 virtual workshop was presented by the city staff for the benefit of the business community, developers and residents affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in consideration for the county mandated city hall temporary closure. The workshop is one of many planned by the Community Development Department to update developers about changing California environmental laws, affecting local cities and counties.