Land Use

Developing Policy from the Ground Up

New article provides more detailed data and analysis of housing entitlement in the Bay Area

This blog post (and the underlying article) was co-authored by Moira O’Neill, Giulia Gualco-Nelson, and Eric Biber. Our team has released a new article on land-use regulation and housing in the Bay Area, building on our report from last February that explored the role of local law and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) on …

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We’re Never Going to Meet Our GHG Transportation Goals Unless We Radically Rethink Our Cities

Introducing an ongoing series focused on reducing vehicle miles traveled as a crucial climate mitigation strategy

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about vehicle miles traveled, or VMT. Specifically, why is it so hard to get people to think seriously about reducing VMT as a climate mitigation strategy? Building on my earlier ode to electric scooters, this post begins a semi-regular series on different aspects of VMT reduction strategies, beginning with …

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CEQA and Local Land Use Regulations: Shakedown Street

Local Government Discretion Has Powerful Political Support

Eric’s post the other day about CEQA and local land use regulation states an important and often-overlooked truth: environmental review can only hold up a project if it is discretionary. If local land use regulations state clearly what a developer can and cannot do, then no amount of environmental review could change a decision, and …

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SB 827 and the Concept of Deregulation

When land-use deregulation gets characterized as regulation, and why

Perhaps the biggest topic in land-use law and housing affordability in California over the past couple of months has been a piece of legislation introduced by State Senator Wiener, SB 827.  Ethan has blogged quite a bit about the bill – the basic concept of the legislation is to eliminate or significantly restrict a number …

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Global market for ecosystem services surges to $36 billion in annual transactions

New article in Nature Sustainability tracks global payments for ecosystems services

In the early 1990s, New York City began paying for land management in the Catskills watershed to ensure safe drinking water for the city, avoiding the cost of building an expensive water treatment plant. New York City provides just one example of a growing number of programs – called payments for ecosystem services (PES) – …

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What Will Driverless Cars Do To The Climate?

A Formidable Challenge for Policymakers and Modelers

It’s no longer a question of whether driverless cars will appear on the market; it’s when and how many. The answers so far seem to be: 1) soon; and 2) lots. German automakers are so confident of this that they are already negotiating with Nokia to compete to Google’s self-driving cars. For Legal Planet, that means we …

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Shut Up, Texas

Environmental Factors Smack Down Another Right-Wing Meme

If like me you are tired of Texans gloating about their supposed “miracle,” today’s post from Kevin Drum brings some good news: For years, business lobbyists complained about what they derided as “job killer” laws that drive employers out of California. Rival state governors, notably former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, made highly publicized visits to …

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Will Regulatory Takings Always Be A Mess?

Takings law is a legal quagmire. It’s likely to stay that way.

I recently reread an article that my late colleague Joe Sax published exactly fifty years ago.  It’s a striking piece of scholarship, all the more impressive so early in his career. But one particular statement made a particular impression on me: “Nevertheless, the predominant characteristic of this area of law is a welter of confusing …

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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. …

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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 …

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