Some important bills passed this year. But unless the Legislature is willing to take on CEQA directly, there may not be a whole lot more to do on the land use front to encourage more housing production.
A dispute from the Livermore area suggests that general plan designations and zoning ordinances have not kept pace with renewable energy advances -- leading to interpretation disputes. In Livermore, the courts have sided with public agency interpretations and against environmentalists opposed to a solar project.
When a court told the City of San Diego to engage in more CEQA review, the city abandoned the project. Then the plaintiff tried to get the city to conduct the review anyway -- but an appellate court overruled her.
Montecito homeowners said Santa Barbara County couldn't enforce its encroachment law because the county had to go through a CEQA process. An appellate court said the homeowners who blocked parking spaces on their road were the lawbreakers, not the county.
In an unpublished ruling, appellate court uses "noisy Berkeley students" precedent to rule that human noise could be a significant impact under CEQA, thus killing infill exemption for project near USC.