CP&DR News Summary: CEQA Reform, Bit by Bit



Even if they disagree with each other sometimes, state and local officials are trying to make it easier to get development projects through the CEQA process. Jerry Brown recently used his 2011 CEQA reforms to get a solar project approved in Riverside County. Meanwhile, Fresno County streamlined its CEQA process even as Brown has attempted to intervene in disputes between Fresno city, the county, and Madera County over greenfield development.

CEQA Reform World Turned Upside Down by Rubio Resignation


The CEQA reform landscape – which looked pretty robust all winter – was turned upside down on Friday.

Changing Demographics Could Mean a Smart Growth Future for the Central Valley

Over the past few weeks, issues concerning the Central Valley’s future growth and development plans have gained widespread attention throughout the state – even causing Governor Brown to intervene in the Valley’s deliberation processes. With the Central Valley region growing at a faster rate than any other region in California, the policy outcomes of the region's “growth wars” will provide the context in which the Valley’s cities and counties will be able to accommodate its growing population. 

Will Streetcars Invade California?

Streetcars are the hottest thing in the downtown revitalization business these days. They’re in operation in Portland and Seattle and in planning and construction stage in places like Washington, D.C., Oklahoma City, Cincinnati, Fort Lauderdale and Kansas City. And don’t worry – California will get its share of streetcars as well, especially Southern California. The Downtown Los Angeles streetcar appears all but certain to be open by around 2016, and three Orange County cities – Anaheim, Santa Ana, and Fullerton – are exploring the idea.

CP&DR News Summary, February 11, 2013: Cordova Hills Project Approved


Cordova Hills project approved by Sacramento County

Fanning fears that the Sacramento Region won't be able to meet SB 375 emissions reduction standards, Sacramento County supervisors have approved the sprawling South County Cordova Hills project. 


CP&DR News Summary, February 4, 2013

Lots going on in California planning and development this week ... 

Central Valley’s Growth War Gets the Governor’s Attention

Fresno Bee

CP&DR News Summary, January 28, 2013

Post-redevelopment plans for downtown San Diego

The San Diego Foundation is teaming up with the Downtown San Diego Partnership business group to frame a  new vision for San Diego’s downtown. With the end of redevelopment agencies in the state, San Diego can no longer depend on the $125 million dollars a year to subsidize these types of projects. 

Insight: Infill Projects Sued More Often Under CEQA – But Greenfield Projects Lose More Often

Everybody always loves to complain about the California Environmental Quality Act, but despite all the complaining we don’t now much about how effective it really is and what all the CEQA activity adds up to.

Rip Van Winkle Scalia Wakes Up in Koontz

If the oral argument is any indication, the U.S. Supreme Court is likely to rule against a landowner in Florida who filed a takings lawsuit against an Orlando-area water district – turning what appeared to be an easy victory for property rights advocates into a loss. 

Banning Ranch EIR Upheld by Appellate Court

The Fourth District Court of Appeal has upheld the City of Newport Beach’s environmental impact report for the Banning Ranch development, rejecting a challenge by a local conservancy which asserted piecemeal environmental review and the adequacy of the impacts of a park the city is building adjacent to Banning Ranch. The court of appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment and denial of the writ.

Validation Lawsuit Doesn’t Always Immunize Plaintiff From Attack

In many situations, the settlement of a lawsuit is a flexible tool to resolve disagreements between parties and allow the participants to move on with their lives. A settlement with a public agency invokes slightly different considerations then a matter resolved exclusively through private parties. As previously noted in Trancas Property Owners Association v.

Infill Projects Survive CEQA Challenge More Often

Two weeks ago, CP&DR reported on a study by the law firm of Holland  & Knight that broke down 95 legal challenges to projects under the California Environmental Quality Act over the past 15 years. The study provided a comprehensive look for the firs ttime – finding, for example, that 60% of the cases challenged “infill” development projects as opposed to “greenfield”, and over 70% of the cases were brought forth by local organizations. 

Is Jerry Saying, You'll Get Your Redevelopment When I Get All My Money?

All last year, local government nerds throughout California -- this one included  -- assumed that Jerry Brown would sign a bill to bring back redevelopment if one landed on his desk. So we were all shocked -- shocked! -- when he vetoed every substantive bill the Legislature gave him. (You can read about my surprise here. And based on the comments of some people at the UCLA land use conference on Friday, some of us are still shocked.

But maybe we shouldn't have been. Maybe it's pretty simple. 

Deal: CEQA Streamlining for Ballona Wetlands?

Here's a deal for you: 

Enviros agree to a variety of reforms to the California Environmental Quality Act -- especially constraints on the ability to sue, including possibly limiting standing and prohibiting lawsuits if the umbrella state or federal environmental law has been complied with.