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Attorney News


Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act

In 2015, the State enacted the monumental Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, which established a state-wide regulatory structure for the medical marijuana industry. Soon after, the City assembled an inter-departmental team to explore and develop consistent local regulations. The City Attorney’s Office (CAO) has been an integral part of that team from its inception, helping staff to navigate the complex and continuously changing laws in this new frontier. In 2016, the office advised the City on the adoption of new regulations to allow large-scale indoor marijuana cultivation sites in the City. Additional regulations to allow other aspects of the marijuana industry will follow in 2017.


When Downtown Railyard Venture, LLC (DRV) purchased the Railyards in September of 2015, the CAO began working closely with city staff and DRV to update the Railyards project entitlements to accommodate a revised development plan that included a Kaiser Permanente regional medical center and a major league soccer stadium, among other changes. The entitlements that needed to be revised included the general plan, specific plan, development agreement, special planning district ordinance, design guidelines, and public facilities financing plan. New entitlements included a conditional use permit for the major league soccer stadium. The CAO provided staff with legal support throughout the process of preparing the new and revised entitlements and the EIR that was required for the revised Railyards project. The City Council approved the updated Railyards project on November 10, 2016.

CAO Supports Multi-year Effort to Streamline City’s Infrastructure Financing Ordinances

On February 14, 2017, the Sacramento City Council adopted seven new ordinances that restructured the City Code to facilitate administration of development impact fees and offer financial incentives to stimulate housing and job growth, particularly in economically challenged neighborhoods, near transit stations, and in the Central City. Six attorneys worked closely with four city departments to develop financing plans, nexus studies, fee credit and deferral programs, and draft ordinances and resolutions to implement the goals of the 2035 General Plan to support projected growth. In addition, the Subdivision Code was revised to further incentivize infill development by modernizing parkland dedication requirements. This effort resulted in establishing infrastructure improvement programs in three subareas of the city, a new citywide transportation impact fee, revised affordable housing fees, and new park fees for regional parks, pools, community centers, and parkways. The development community supported these changes because the overall fee burden in comparison with other jurisdictions in the region was fair and reasonable.

California WaterFix

This is the "Delta tunnels project," which proposes the construction of three new water intakes supplying two Delta tunnels to deliver water from Northern California to State and Federal Water Project contractors. The City, along with numerous other agencies and water supply interests throughout the State, filed a protest in the WaterFix change petition proceeding being conducted by the State Water Resources Control Board. The City is participating in this process out of concern for the project's potential adverse impact on regional water supplies, and to safeguard the City's long-standing water rights on the American and Sacramento Rivers. The State Water Board hearing process has been separated into two phases. To date, the City has presented evidence and testimony in the first phase of the hearing process, which is nearing conclusion.

Sanctuary City

The CAO is providing legal support to the Mayor’s Safehaven Taskforce. This taskforce has been assigned to provide recommendations to the Mayor and Council on how to protect Sacramento City residents from federal immigration policies that may adversely impact them or our local government operations. The taskforce has identified the following three items for review:
1. Explore the possibilities of funding a Legal Defense and Education Program that will assist with guardianships and legal referral services, among others.
2. Explore possible legal actions against the Federal Government in response to President Trump’s Executive Order on Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.
3. Explore revising the City’s existing Sanctuary City Resolution.

Police Policies

CAO has been supporting the police department and city officials in developing updated use of force policies and enhancing departmental transparency.

Public Records

CAO has worked with City Clerk, Information Technology and related departments to refine our public records policies to comply with evolving technical and legal requirements.

Good Governance

CAO has worked with city officials to research and craft election and ethics modifications to our municipal code.