AB208 – New Life For Stalled Subdivision And Condo Maps

Throughout the Bay Area and state, subdivisions and condominium projects have been delayed during the downturn in housing construction over the past few years. Many residential and mixed-use projects have stalled in the middle of the mapping and entitlement process, before the project’s map has been recorded. Delayed maps are at risk of expiration, with the potential loss of vital project approvals and permits. In recognition of these critical issues, and in an effort to bolster the housing industry, the California legislature enacted a new law to enable developers to extend the life of tentative and parcel maps and related state agency approvals until such time as developers are able to complete such stalled projects. The law was signed by the Governor last week and takes effect immediately.

Tentative Map Extension

Assembly Bill 208, enacted on July 15, 2011, extends for 2 years any existing unexpired tentative map, vesting tentative map or parcel map that would have otherwise expired before January 1, 2014. To be eligible for the extension, a map must have been valid on July 15, 2011, and set to expire before January 1, 2014. The 2 year extension is in addition to any other extensions provided under state law or local ordinance. For those maps extended by 2009’s similar state measure, AB 208 will provide an additional 2 year extension. See Cal. Govt. Code Section 66452.23.

Related State Agency Approvals Also Extended

Important for those projects receiving other state agency approvals, such as a San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission Permit or California Coastal Commission Coastal Development Permit, the new law also extends for 2 years related state agency approvals for those projects that extend their maps under AB 208.

Local City & County Approvals Not Included

AB 208 only applies to tentative maps, vesting tentative maps, parcel maps and related state level approvals. The new law does not extend local city or county approvals or permits. Conditional Use Permits, Variances, Special Use Permits, building permits and other local approvals remain subject to local regulations with respect to expiration periods and available extensions, if any. However, in San Francisco the Planning Commission has extended certain existing local approvals for some projects. Interested property owners or developers should contact Andrew Junius concerning San Francisco project approvals that may be eligible for an extension.

The Trade-Off

For those projects utilizing the 2 year map extension under AB 208, there are a few trade-offs. In order to offset potential adverse impacts on local cities or counties from multiple extensions of tentative or vesting tentative maps, AB 208 modifies Cal. Govt. Code Section 65961 by (i) reducing from 5 years to 3 years the period of time after recordation of a map during which a city or county is prohibited from imposing new conditions on a building permit if such conditions could have been imposed as conditions of the previously approved tentative or vesting tentative map, and (ii) eliminating the prohibition on a city or county imposing new local fees upon the issuance of a building permit.

If you have any questions or would like further information on AB 208 and its applicability to a particular project or map, please contact Jay Drake.


The issues discussed in this update are not intended to be legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is established with the recipient. Readers should consult with legal counsel before relying on any of the information contained herein. Reuben & Junius, LLP is a full service real estate law firm. We specialize in land use, development and entitlement law. We also provide a wide range of transactional services, including leasing, acquisitions and sales, formation of limited liability companies and other entities, lending/workout assistance, subdivision and condominium work.

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