On October 6, 2017, Governor Brown approved Assembly Bill (AB) 246, extending certain CEQA litigation streamlining provisions under the Jobs and Economic Improvement Through Environmental Leadership Act of 2011 (the Act) for two years. The Governor may now certify projects as eligible for streamlining until January 1, 2020.  Projects that are certified for streamlining have until January 1, 2021 to complete the CEQA process and obtain project approval.

The Act provides three key litigation streamlining benefits to qualifying projects:


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As of January 1, 2018, California’s cities, counties, and charter cities are required to either adopt an Environmental Justice Element in their General Plan or integrate Environmental Justice policies and goals into the elements of their General Plan “upon the adoption or next revision of two or more elements concurrently.” Gov. Code Sec. 65302(h)(2).

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CA State CapitalThe California Court of Appeal for the Sixth Appellate District recently held, in Aptos Council v. County of Santa Cruz, 10 Cal. App. 5th 266 (2017) that environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) need only analyze environmental impacts of development resulting from a zoning amendment if the development is reasonably foreseeable. This decision provides helpful guidance to municipalities considering zoning and land use plan amendments that permit development at higher densities.

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Housing San FranciscoThe City is one step closer to sorting out inclusionary housing requirements and local implementation of the State Density Bonus law now that the City Controller has released its final recommendations to the Board of Supervisors. The good news for developers is that recommended on-site and in-lieu fee percentages are below Proposition C levels. On the other hand, an “in-lieu” fee for density bonus units is now being contemplated.

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photo-1423347673683-ccdb7f6a948fThe San Francisco Planning Commission took a major step on December 8, 2016, by approving the first market rate housing project to utilize the State Density Bonus law.

The State law, which has been in effect for almost 40 years, incentivizes developers to construct more affordable housing by providing density bonuses of up to 35 percent for projects that incorporate on-site affordable units. The amount of the density bonus varies depending on the level of affordability and the number of affordable units. 
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San FranciscoWith rising housing costs remaining a priority concern for the region, affordable housing had a major presence on Bay Area ballots this November. As detailed below, voters in three municipalities and three counties across the Bay Area passed measures to increase affordable housing funding for low and moderate-income households. Taken together, these measures will yield about $2 billion in new housing funds.

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busy-street-in-the-center-of-san-francisco-picjumbo-comProp U dovetails with the City’s new increases in required affordable housing percentages by expanding the range of household income levels that would be eligible to rent an affordable housing unit. According to the Controller, this would increase rental revenue for property owners and tax revenue for the City.  The measure is part of an ongoing debate about the appropriate income range for defining eligibility for affordable units, and reflects a desire to expand the range to include more low/low moderate income families (as opposed to very low income).

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