SF lawmaker hits speedbump in CEQA reform

SF lawmaker hits speedbump in CEQA reform

By: Joshua Sabatini : SF Examiner Staff Writer – excerpt

Supervisor Scott Wiener’s effort to change how The City handles an environmental appeals process was slowed down Monday as a competing measure is being introduced today.
The proposed changes to the appeals process related to the California Environmental Quality Act, commonly called CEQA, have sparked tensions at City Hall, creating divisions among labor unions, community groups and housing advocates, and filling up supervisors’ inboxes with hundreds of emails from residents on both sides of the conflict.
Developers complain about the unpredictability and endless battles in the existing process, while neighborhood activists worry proposed changes would diminish their influence.
The proposal was under debate Monday for about four hours at the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Economic Development Committee, after which it was continued so Supervisor Jane Kim could introduce competing legislation today, which she crafted with a coalition of neighborhood advocates…  (more)

Wiener’s CEQA legislation headed for more compromise

Wiener’s CEQA legislation headed for more compromise

City Insider : SFGate.com – excerpt

Supervisor’s Scott Wiener’s proposal to change the environmental appeals process in San Francisco, already amended about 40 times since its inception, is likely headed for more changes.
Supervisors on the Land Use and Economic Development Committee voted to continue Wiener’s legislation that would set a deadline for challenges under the California Environmental Quality Act and allow appeals to be heard in front of board committees instead of the full Board of Supervisors.
“We should’ve done this more than 10 years ago,” Wiener said. “This has been going on for a long time and there’s always reasons for why it gets delayed.”
Wiener’s legislation is being countered by fellow committee member Jane Kim, who plans to introduce her own CEQA proposal on Tuesday that would give more support to project appellants. That leaves Supervisor David Chiu as the deciding vote, and as usual, he’s looking for compromise on increasing notification and clarity on which permits for a project would trigger Wiener’s 30-day deadline… (more)

The Result of Two Minutes of Testimony

The Result of Two Minutes of Testimony at the Land Use Committee Meeting is that discussions about CEQA reform will continue in San Francisco.

The Result of Two Minutes of Testimony at the Land Use Committee Meeting is that discussions about CEQA reform will continue in San Francisco.

In a stunning display of organization and passion, the Community CEQA Improvement Team together with speakers including former Supervisors Jake McGoldrick, Aaron Peskin and John Bardis pushed the popular agenda, resulting in Supervisor Jane Kim speaking out forcefully in favor of her version of CEQA reform, rebuffing Supervisor Wiener’s version of the legislation in this afternoon’s Land Use Committee hearing.

The outcome of today’s hearing will be a fresh review of new CEQA legislation from Supervisor Kim and the renegotiation of five points of Supervisor Wiener’s version:

  • 1)  Board Hearings of CEQA appeals should continue v. subcommittee hearings only
  • 2) The “Fair Argument” standard should be applied to every appeal
  • 3) Website notices of CEQA decisions should be published, but should also be circulated
  • 4) Documentation deadline for appeals should be maintained at the current standard
  • 5) Both ‘First Approval” and “Last Approval” triggers for CEQA-based appeals need to be reevaluated.

The number of speakers on opposing sides of the argument was very high–approximately 23 speakers came out in favor of Wiener’s version, and 49 against. Thanks to all who showed up or generously donated their time to contribute to tonight’s hearing. Thanks for your ideas and for speaking out clearly and forcefully. – Roland

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