CEQA Strikes Again!!
Citing costly delays from an abusive CEQA lawsuit, a nonprofit builder of a proposed UC Berkeley project to provide housing for homeless people announced this week they are pulling out, according to news reports. The project, which includes a separate building for student housing, gained national attention earlier this year when a state appeals court sided with NIMBY housing opponents seeking to block the project and issued an outlandish decision that effectively ruled people’s behavior can be considered an environmental impact requiring review under CEQA.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the nonprofit builder said the court ruling “sets a dangerous precedent for housing development, especially for the creation of new affordable housing which is so desperately needed. Requiring developers to consider who will inhabit the housing, and assess how noisy those residents might be, is inappropriate as a type of potential environmental risk requiring study under CEQA and opens a new pathway for costly and time-consuming lawsuits designed to delay and block housing development.”
The Bay Area Council loudly condemned the misguided ruling and called on Gov. Newsom and the legislature to finally take action to modernize and reform CEQA, which for decades has been widely abused for reasons that have nothing to do with environmental protection to stall and block not only affordable infill housing projects and homeless shelters, but bike lanes and clean energy facilities. Council CEO Jim Wunderman joined with BizFed CEO Tracy Hernandez in authoring a stinging commentary that appeared in newspapers across the state demanding comprehensive CEQA reform