State court concludes that state does have the authority to intervene in local regulation of land-use
A big court ruling in California land-use law happened last month – and it has really large implications for the state’s efforts to address California’s housing crisis. The lawsuit is a challenge by a pro-housing advocacy group (California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund (CARLA)) to a decision by the City of San Mateo to …CONTINUE READING
Local control over land-use regulation means local governments focus more on the harms than the benefits of housing
As governments in California and across the United States wrestle with how to address soaring housing costs, a significant flashpoint has been the issue of local control. Most land-use regulation in the United States is done by local governments: cities, counties, towns, villages. In California, much of the legislation intended to increase housing production has …CONTINUE READING
Court order freezing UC Berkeley enrollment raises critical questions about how California provides for equitable growth in the state
This is my final post on the CEQA litigation over UC Berkeley enrollment. For earlier posts, see here (providing background information), here (discussing the implications of considering enrollment decisions to be within the scope of CEQA), and here (discussing whether to expand CEQA to cover socioeconomic impacts). In this final post, I want to explore …CONTINUE READING
Why expanding CEQA to cover socioeconomic impacts might harm equity goals
Today I continue my series of blog posts on the CEQA lawsuit over UC Berkeley’s enrollment. My first post provided an introduction to the case and its background; my second post examined the risks of expanding environmental review to small-scale, individual decisions like the enrollment decisions at issue in this case. Today’s post will address …CONTINUE READING
Is admitting a student to a university the kind of project requiring CEQA analysis?
Yesterday, I introduced the CEQA lawsuits over UC Berkeley’s expanding enrollment and its potential impacts on the surrounding neighbor. Today, in my second post, I want to explore the implications of applying environmental review statutes such as CEQA to individual, small-scale decisions like university enrollment. The legal question at issue in the case was whether …CONTINUE READING
A recent court order freezing UC Berkeley enrollment highlights key issues in CEQA
A recent court order, freezing UC Berkeley’s student enrollment at 2021-22 levels, has earned some press attention and notoriety. Commentators on Twitter have accused the lead plaintiffs (residents in the Berkeley area) of being exclusionary NIMBYs. The court’s decision was premised on violations by UC Berkeley of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), a law …CONTINUE READING
Legislation Promotes New Housing, Infill Development, & Reduced Air Pollution
The California Legislature recently enacted, and Governor Gavin Newsom last week signed into law, two major housing reform measures. SB 9 and SB 10 represent California’s most transformative new housing laws in decades, and are a belated but welcome legislative response to the state’s longstanding housing crisis. SB 9, authored by California State Senate leader …CONTINUE READING
Ranking the victories that saved priceless landscapes and environmental features
California is generally known as an environmental leader, but the state has also faced tremendous environmental degradation and destruction. I chronicled my “top 10” worst environmental decisions in the state’s history last year. But what about the good things state policy makers have done? Here is my list of the most significant environmental wins in …CONTINUE READING
We actively shape major Earth systems, with increasingly powerful technologies. We should face up to it.
Stewart Brand–a contender for the most interesting living person in the world–famously opened the Whole Earth Catalogue in 1969, “We are as gods and might as well get good at it.” Importantly (and often misunderstood), he meant not that we are gods, but instead that technologies have given humanity powers that had previously been exclusive …CONTINUE READING
Nothing is as it seems, when the issue is whether a regulation is a “taking” of property.
For the last century, the Supreme Court has tried to operationalize the idea that a government regulation can be so burdensome that it amounts to a seizure of property. In the process, it has created a house of mirrors, a maze in which nothing is as it seems. Rules that appear crisp and clear turn …CONTINUE READING