Thank you for providing Southern California Edison (“SCE”) with a copy of the proposed ballot initiative regarding open space and park preservation. The purpose of this letter is to raise our concerns regarding the proposed initiative. As a threshold matter, please note that SCE maintains a secondary land use program. Pursuant to our secondary land use program, SCE may license its property to third parties to permit certain passive businesses such as nurseries. The verbiage set forth in the Petition appears to regulate and in some instances prohibit the erection of buildings and/or structures on properties designated for open space. At this point, it is unclear whether a resulting ordinance would therefore prohibit temporary structures on our parcels that may be designated for open space. In many respects, our secondary land use program assists numerous small businesses while reducing SCE’s operational costs. Due to the lack of definitions for terms such as “building” or “structure” it is unclear to SCE whether the initiative will constitute a prohibition on buildings or structures used in conformance with passive businesses.
In addition, SCE may elect to utilize its properties for the development of SCE business offices, data processing centers, and other corporate facilities. Such facilities provide business and employment opportunities to residents of Buena Park. The proposed initiative would make it significantly more difficult to obtain General Plan and zone changes, even if such changes would not present significant impact to the City. Put simply, it is difficult for a property owner to commit resources to planning for development where a decision on land use entitlements are made by referendum which may largely be premised on subjective standards.
It is also not clear to SCE whether the initiative seeks to regulate SCE’s facilities. Therefore, SCE must respectfully remind proponents that the siting of electrical distribution and transmission line facilities is regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission (“CPUC”). For example, CPUC General Order 131D clarifies that utilities are not required to seek discretionary approvals from the City prior to erecting generation, transmission, and distribution facilities.
In conclusion, the proposed initiative will limit business and employment opportunities for the City and its residents. Given the lack of definitions in the initiative and its potential impact on our rights-of-way and fee-owned property, SCE must respectfully object to the initiative. SCE would be happy to meet with proponents and City to discuss our concerns.
The article above is the text of a letter to the City of Buena Park from Southern California Edison delivered at the special meeting of the Buena Park City Council held on Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015, by Eddie Marquez, an Edison representative. More on that meeting can be found by reading a previous article, “Buena Park residents group takes open space initiative to City Council.”
A special meeting to consider legal analysis of a second, competing initiative will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 17, at 5 p.m. in the Buena Park City Council Chambers.