California Lawmakers Have Solved Berkeley’s Problem. Is CEQA Next?

But imagine from a statewide point of view about the normal environmental footprint of a human being in California. Virtually absolutely, anyone in Berkeley — a metropolis with wonderful community transit, in a temperate weather with minimal heating and cooling charges — is heading to have considerably less of an environmental footprint than if they were being living somewhere else in California.

If U.C. Berkeley welcomes a lot more college students to campus or if the town of Berkeley approves a housing challenge or revises its ordinances or standard system in a way that enables much more people to are living in Berkeley, that is an environmental gain, from a statewide viewpoint. But CEQA pretends that if those people today weren’t residing in Berkeley they would not be living on planet Earth, wherever they’ll be driving or building trash or sound or beginning wildfires or bulldozing habitat.

So what should really be the upcoming stage?

The Legislature really should revisit CEQA. Or the governor’s Business of Planning and Exploration, which writes CEQA pointers, really should revisit what counts as an environmental affect, particularly in urbanized regions. This would make sense in particular if the governor is critical about facilitating housing development in downtown areas, because the state’s environmental regulations are thwarting all those really initiatives.

The condition also requires to make it feasible for supporters of a task to sue a city for requiring extreme environmental critique or getting as well extended to certify a CEQA review, just as opponents may possibly problem the town for executing as well small. This is a particular issue for housing.

The state’s Housing Accountability Act helps prevent towns from denying or downsizing most assignments that comply with relevant standards. But it is not clear no matter whether this regulation or any other gives a solution if a metropolis attempts to ice a undertaking with make-function needs for added “environmental” scientific studies, rather than denying it outright.

What ought to be dropped from CEQA?

Local impacts linked with inhabitants development in city parts should not be CEQA concerns. Most of the points discovered in the Berkeley circumstance — sounds, traffic, trash — these are all factors metropolis elected officers have an incentive to consider care of. We really don’t have to have a statewide environmental regulation for that.

As for the cost of housing, that is a problem nearby officials really do not deal with nicely because the burden of larger rates falls mostly on people who really don’t but are living — and vote — in the city. But the resolution to high housing rates and displacement is not to fashion CEQA into an even a lot more formidable barrier to growth.

Kenneth Proto

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