Anti-CEQA Lobbyists Turn to Empirical Analysis, But Are Their Conclusions Sound?

Influential Attacks on California’s Environmental Impact Law Aren’t Supported By the Data

Every August, as the California legislative session comes to a head, lobbyists attempt to gain support for dramatically scaling back California’s landmark environmental law, CEQA (the California Environmental Quality Act).  This year was no exception.  Last month, the law firm Holland and Knight, which has been a leading force on this issue, issued a new …


Berkeley Law Amicus Brief Highlights Benefits of Transit-Oriented Development

Smart growth alternatives would help end the vicious cycle of highway expansion and housing sprawl in San Diego region

Berkeley Law’s Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE) filed an amicus brief last week in a California Court of Appeal case with far-reaching implications for development, transportation, and California’s climate goals. The case, Cleveland National Forest Foundation v. San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), challenges the State’s first Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy …


Can Los Angeles Reinvent Itself Around Rail?

New op-ed explains key challenges and opportunities

A city famous for its car culture now has three new rail transit projects under construction.  Can Los Angeles reinvent itself around rail-oriented development? Passenger vehicle transportation plays a major role in contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. But building more rail, alone, is not enough to get folks off the road and onto public transit. …


The ballot-box and urban infill

How the initiative power affects land-use decisions in California

Here at Legal Planet we’ve been paying a lot of attention to how CEQA affects land-use decisions.  So has the legislature.  And that’s fair enough.  CEQA is important.  And CEQA may well be deterring an important range of urban infill development that is environmentally important. But it’s not the only thing that affects urban infill …


A Bad Hollywood Ending for Smart Growth — What’s the Sequel?

Judge rules the downtown plan for transit-oriented growth is fundamentally flawed

Smart growth advocates are lamenting a judge’s decision yesterday to toss out the environmental impact report (EIR) on Hollywood’s years-in-the-making plan for higher-density growth around the city’s subway stops.  Hollywood is one of the few communities in California willing to increase growth around transit stops and along transit corridors, and the demand for housing and …


CEQA Reform 2013 Holds Promise for Improving the Environment

Despite grumblings, the new law contains significant victories for infill development and urban investment

Governor Brown recently signed into law this year’s version of “CEQA reform,” which as Eric noted was decidedly stripped down from what it could have been. SB 743 (Steinberg) got a lot of negative attention for giving the Sacramento Kings basketball arena proponents accelerated environmental review and immunity from injunctive relief unless the project is …


How the Democrats’ Supermajority Can Improve California’s Downtowns

Now that Democrats in California have achieved the Pete Wilson Supermajority in the legislature, they should focus on two key reforms to revitalize the state’s downtowns and ensure more efficient land use. First, the supermajority should put on the ballot a constitutional initiative to lower the threshold for passing local tax measures to fund transit. …


Why Developers Shouldn’t Blame Environmental Review for the Lack of Infill

Members of the business community are smelling blood when it comes to effectively dismantling environmental review statutes like the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).  They now have a political opening with the high unemployment rate, some well-publicized bad outcomes of CEQA litigation, and examples of lawsuits by rival businesses abusing the process for competitive purposes …


California releases proposed rule to implement streamlining of environmental review for new California infill developments

As part of an effort to create more walkable, livable communities that reduce vehicle miles traveled and the greenhouse gas emissions that those vehicles generate, California is removing barriers to infill development.  Our governor and legislature are trying to create communities of homes and retail businesses that are closer together and closer to public transit. …


May 17th Sacramento Lunch on California Infill Policies, Featuring State Sen. pro Tem Darrell Steinberg

For those planning to be in the Sacramento area next Thursday, May 17th, please join us for a lunch event on California’s land use policies, featuring a keynote address by State Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. Here are the details: The Future of Infill:  How CEQA Reform and the End of Redevelopment Will Affect …