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California law to boost urban development

Clarifies guidelines for developers

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A bill that specifies guidelines for the development of environmentally impacted sites in California was signed into law last week. The bill aims to give developers incentive to clean up urban properties, called brownfields, and put them back into use. Uncertainty over potential cleanup costs often gives builders less incentive to build on brownfields. The California Land Reuse and Revitalization Act of 2004 gives new guarantees that developers won't be pressured to clean properties after they've already been cleaned to state standards. The liability protection does not extend to additional contamination discovered after the agreement is reached. "Previously, developers had to negotiate with agencies on a project-by-project basis to get the liability protections they needed, and those protections were often quite limited," said Shiraz Tangri, an environmental attorney with Los Angeles-based Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman Machtinger and Kinsella, LLP. "Now that the state has codified...