CEQA and Land Use Bills — An Update

CEQA and Land Use Bills — An Update

SB 731 (Steinberg)  CEQA Modernization Act of 2013.  (Last amended May 24, 2013.  Passed to Assembly May 30, 2013)

  • Aesthetic Impacts in Transit Priority Areas Not Significant. Bill would provide that aesthetic impacts of a residential, mixed-use residential, or employment center project, as defined, within a “transit priority area,” shall not be considered significant impacts on the environment.
  • Significance Thresholds in Transit Priority Areas.  Bill would require revisions to CEQA guidelines establishing significance thresholds for noise, and transportation and parking impacts of residential, mixed-use residential, or employment center projects within transit priority areas.  Agencies could, however, adopt more stringent thresholds.
  • Lead Agencies Required to Make Draft Findings Available to Public.  The bill would require the lead agency to make findings available to the public at least 15 days prior to approval of the proposed project and to provide specified notice of the availability of the findings for public review…

SB 633 (Pavley)  New Categorical Exemption and Revision to “New Information” Standard.  (Last amended May 3, 2013.  Passed to Assembly May 30, 2013)…

AB 37 (Perea)  Requiring Lead Agencies to Prepare Record of Proceedings Concurrently with Preparation of Environmental Documents for Certain Projects.  (Last amended March 18, 2013.  Passed to Senate May 28, 2013. Referred to Com. on E.Q. June 6, 2013)…

AB 543 (Campos)  Requiring Translation of CEQA Documents.  (Last amended May 24, 2013. Passed to Senate May 31, 2013. To Com. on RLS for assignment June 3, 2013)…

SB 436 (Jackson)  Requiring Public Scoping Meeting and More Extensive Public Notice for Certain Projects.  (Last amended April 3, 2013. Passed to  Assembly May 25, 2013. Held at Desk May 29, 2013)

AB 380 (Dickinson)  CEQA: notice requirements.  Increasing Public Noticing and Posting Requirements for Agencies, County Clerks and OPR.  (Last amended May 24, 2013. Passed to Senate May 29, 2013; to Com. on RLS)

The bill would require notices to be filed solely by the lead agency….

AB 667 (Hernández)  Requiring Adoption of Economic Impact Report for Projects Permitting Construction of a Superstore Retailer.   (Last amended May 20, 2013. Passed to Senate May 28, 2013. Referred to Com. on Gov. & F. June 6, 2013)…

AB 1267 (Hall)   Exempting Certain Tribal Gaming Projects from CEQA.  (Chaptered by Secretary of State May 30, 2013)… (more)

CEQA Reform? What’s In and What’s Out with SB 731 (And What’s Next…)

CEQA Reform? What’s In and What’s Out with SB 731 (And What’s Next…)

Lauded as the CEQA Modernization Act of 2013, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg’s SB 731 includes a number of amendments to CEQA that appear intended to appeal to a wide variety of interest groups. SB 731 replaces the idea of CEQA reform with CEQA modernization, implying that the bill makes changes to CEQA to bring the law current rather than overhauling the decades-old statute.

We’ve analyzed SB 731’s proposals and tagged them as good, bad, or status quo, and we’ll continue to follow SB 731 as it winds its way through the Legislature. While it’s too early to predict whether SB 731 will meet success in the legislative session – one thing is for certain: CEQA modernizing is the new CEQA reform… (more)

CEQA change moves faster in SF than Sacto

CEQA change moves faster in SF than Sacto

By Tim Redmond : sfbg.com – excerpt

So the Guv says he doesn’t think he’s going to be able to gut CEQA this year. I think he’s right: The party he supposedly leads (but doesn’t tend to follow him) won’t go for it, any more than the party Obama leads will got for cuts to Social Security.
It’s partly that both are hard-fought pieces of progressive history. The late 1960s and early 1970s were a good time for the environmental movement — Congress passed both the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act, and Nixon signed both. The California Legislature passed CEQA in 1970, and Gov. Reagan signed it. Back then, even Republicans thought it was a good thing to be on the side of protecting the planet.
But there’s more — and it’s interesting that the state Leg, typically not known as a bastion of progressive thought, is better on this issue than San Francisco, where some sort of changes to CEQA are almost inevitable.

Some background: What NEPA and CEQA did, first and foremost, was eliminate the problem of “standing” that had plagued environmental lawyers for years. If I couldn’t prove that a horrible development project on the San Francisco waterfront would personally injure me (which would typically mean I had to own adjacent property), I had no right to go to court to oppose it. CEQA mandates a valid, complete environmental review of any major project, which gives anyone the right to sue; I may not be able to describe specific financial damages from a project, but as a citizen, I have a legal right to an adequate Environmental Impact Report.
Likewise, anyone can appeal a development in San Francisco to the Board of Supervisors on the grounds that the EIR was inadequate… (more)

A Little Teamwork and Common Ground on CEQA

A Little Teamwork and Common Ground on CEQA

Last Tuesday, a coalition made up Environmental Organizations, Labor and Tribes known as Common Ground California held a press conference and Capitol lobby day committing to protect the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
You know what it’s like to be on a great team: counting on each other, inspiring each other, strengthening each other – there’s nothing else like it. Being there in Sacramento on Tuesday, I could feel that team spirit and determination from members of Common Ground California. (coalition website; facebook).

“First, do no harm.”
That’s how environmental defender Senator Noreen Evans began her remarks, sending a clear and simple message to kick off the event. Sen. Evans has been a strong supporter of air and water quality, and she was the event’s host. She continued, “The California Environmental Quality Act was designed to protect California communities, and it has for over forty years. I stand committed to protect California from corporate polluters and any degradation of our environmental laws.”
Then came the big news: a new study was revealed showing that CEQA has not hampered economic progress, despite assertions by some industry groups.
The Labor Management Cooperation Trust released a landmark report which found that since CEQA became law in 1970, California’s per capita GDP, housing relative to population, manufacturing output, and construction activity grew as fast or faster compared to other 49 states.  Read the full report here. »
(more)

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