Proposed CEQA Guidelines Seek to Expedite Infill Development Reviews


Originally published in the Daily Journal, August 9, 2012.

Last year, the state Legislature enacted Senate Bill 226 to streamline review of infill development projects under the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA. CEQA is a cornerstone of environmental protection in California, requiring public agencies to evaluate the impacts of projects they undertake or approve, consider alternatives and adopt mitigation measures if feasible. However, developers and local governments have long complained that the CEQA process is expensive, time-consuming and allows NIMBY opponents to wield allegations of environmental effects as a weapon, even against urban, transit-oriented projects that benefit the environment by reducing suburban sprawl, traffic congestion and vehicle pollution. In response to those complaints, SB 226 provides an expedited CEQA process for eligible infill projects and directs the state’s Natural Resources Agency to adopt eligibility standards by Jan. 1, 2013. On July 27, the agency issued proposed guidelines for public comment. Those comments are due on Sept. 10.

The proposed guidelines on “Streamlining for Infill Projects” apply to infill projects within the scope of a prior planning-level decision, such as a General Plan, for which a city or county previously prepared an Environmental Impact Report, or EIR. For these projects, CEQA review is limited to projectspecific impacts not addressed in the prior EIR or adverse impacts which are “more significant” than previously described. If no such impacts exist, no further review is necessary. Even if the prior EIR found an impact to be severe, so long as it has not become more severe, the prior review suffices under the proposed guidelines. Moreover, if a city, county or lead agency has adopted uniformly applicable development policies or standards (which are referred to in this article as “local policies”) and finds that those policies will substantially mitigate any project-specific or more significant impacts, no further review of the infill project is required.

Please see full article below for more information.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

Written by:

Published In:

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP | Attorney Advertising

Don't miss a thing! Build a custom news brief:

Read fresh new writing on compliance, cybersecurity, Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers, social media, hiring & firing, patent reform, the NLRB, Obamacare, the SEC…

…or whatever matters the most to you. Follow authors, firms, and topics on JD Supra.

Create your news brief now - it's free and easy »

All the intelligence you need, in one easy email:

Great! Your first step to building an email digest of JD Supra authors and topics. Log in with LinkedIn so we can start sending your digest...

Sign up for your custom alerts now, using LinkedIn ›

* With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name.