The California Economic Summit announced this week that its leaders, such as the president of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation and the president of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership, have written to Gov. Jerry Brown expressing their appreciation for the Office of Planning & Research’s work in developing new CEQA Guidelines per SB 743, legislation signed into law in 2013. The Summit leaders requested that the Administration complete a peer review of the OPR proposal prior to public release. Specifically, a peer review that includes state agencies obligated to comply with CEQA, along with agencies such as the State Department of Housing and Community Development that have policy and regulatory experience and expertise.
The letter notes that “Updating the CEQA Guidelines can either increase this burden—or provide practical and clear direction on lawful compliance practices that reduce it. We urge the Administration to reach beyond OPR to other CEQA practitioners in key state agencies—and to complete this interagency peer review process, prior to releasing proposed revisions to the Guidelines.” The letter appears to reflect concerns currently swirling around Sacramento and the rest of the State that the Guidelines being prepared by OPR could significantly expand public agencies’ CEQA obligations and move CEQA beyond the directives of SB 743.