Bill Would Speed Statewide Housing Development

Special to the Vanguard

Sacramento, CA – In the midst of the housing crisis, another effort is being made to tighten housing standards to spur housing development across the state.  Senator Dave Cortese this week, introduced legislation to streamline the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

“This legislation will allow government agencies and builders to move much more quickly to house the most vulnerable in our communities as we invest billions into housing for the homeless and into affordable housing. SB 406 eliminates duplicative review while keeping environmental protections intact,” said Senator Cortese.

SB 406 seeks to eliminate duplicative CEQA review without circumventing California’s flagship environmental law.

When a local agency provides financial assistance for an affordable housing project, both the decision to provide financial assistance and the project itself may require separate, independent CEQA reviews.

SB 406 extends to local governments an existing CEQA exemption for state financing of affordable housing projects, provided that the project will still undergo a CEQA review by another public agency.

SB 405 would improve standards for housing plans by local governments. Each region is represented by a Council of Governments (COG) that creates a Regional Housing Needs Assessment every eight years.

“Unfortunately, the properties included in these plans often are owned by people who have no interest in developing their land,” Cortese noted in a release. “SB 405 would require the local planning agency to notify a property owner that their land is being included in a draft housing plan. If the owner didn’t wish to develop 80 percent of potential housing units that the agency identified for development, the site would not be included in the housing plan.”

Cortese added, “Let’s do everything in our power to build more housing and speed up an end to homelessness in our state and in our communities.”

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