By Mike Saint, Chairman
For years the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) has made it more difficult to build certain kinds of unpopular (but needed) real estate development. CEQA appeals could take years to be resolved and add huge costs to the developers.
In his 2009 book, the Housing Boom and Bust, economist Thomas Sowell pointed out that in 2008 the exact same house in Houston TX cost 20% of what the same house in San Jose CA cost because of CA zoning and environmental rules.
So now California has a major shortage of affordable housing and the solution is to exempt certain types of development from the zoning and CEQA rules, even in cities like Santa Monica, where activists are pushing for even more controls on development. We wonder how this battle will turn out?
How a state bill could bypass Santa Monica zoning rules
By Matthew Hall
Santa Monica Daily Press
In response to the state’s affordable housing crisis, California lawmakers are working on a potentially controversial plan proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown that would bypass local zoning restrictions.
Known as “by right” construction, the rules would supersede local zoning processes and guarantee developers the ability to build new housing projects if they meet basic affordability standards and are within existing zoning restrictions.
As currently written, the proposal applies to projects that are consistent with “objective general plan and zoning standards,” include multi-family housing, are surrounded by “urban uses” and not built on restricted property types such as farmland or hazardous waste sites.