council cheers important ceqa win; monitors other key case

The California State Court of Appeals ended one of the most drawn out legal squabbles over the construction of a home in state history. The construction of single family homes has always been exempt from California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review, except in unusual circumstances. That is, until 2012, when a Court of Appeals decision ordered a full environmental impact review (EIR) for a proposed single-family home in the Berkeley hills. The Bay Area Council filed an amicus brief in favor of the homeowners, citing our grave concerns about this huge expansion of CEQA. Thankfully, the courts have finally concluded that the project can go ahead without a full EIR. Special shout out to Bay Area Council member Holland & Knight LLP for this win.

TUNE IN: Council Senior Vice President Matt Regan recently talked about the Bay Area’s housing crisis in an informative and expansive interview with Real Estate Radio Host Joe Cucchiara on KDOW1220. Listen to the interview>>

In other CEQA news, the California Supreme Court will begin hearing oral arguments in what could be another significant case: the California Building Industry Association vs. the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. In 2012, the Bay Area Council advocated against the Air District’s plan to publish new CEQA guidelines that will make infill development much more difficult to accomplish by mandating that a project sponsor analyze the impacts of the environment (air quality) on a project, on top of the project’s impact on the environment. These guidelines represent a huge and unprecedented expansion of the law known as “reverse CEQA”. We will keep you posted on developments. To engage in our housing policy work, contact Senior Vice President Matt Regan.

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