Housing development air quality fee proposed

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Dec. 15, 2006 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

As part of its new draft plan to further mitigate air pollution in Southern California, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) has proposed new fees on all new housing developments within the district.  

The proposal won’t solve the problem.  There is no plan that outlines how the dollars will be used nor is there any requirement that the fees produce results.  Essentially, the plan holds housing developers and homebuyers responsible for a problem that they did not create – mobile source issues that the district cannot control.  In addition, it overlaps other efforts to mitigate mobile source emissions (for example, local traffic mitigation fee programs, Calif. Air Resource Board mobile source control regulations, and Southern Calif. Association of Governments’ growth and transportation measures). Voters have no ability to approve or disapprove the fee or hold the SCAQMD board members accountable if air quality does not improve.  

Such a fee will have negative consequences.  They will interfere with local government’s ability to balance economic development and air quality impacts in the Basin. Furthermore, the fees will discourage cleaner new development, hurting affordable housing production, counter to state mandates.

CMTA and a broad based group of local government, business and community leaders have joined to form the Quality Planning Coalition (QPC) to deal with this issue.  QPC jointly supports the following measures which will provide quantifiable, enforceable, cost-effective emission reductions without the need for a fee:

  •     Enhanced use of the existing CEQA air quality impact review process;
  •     A public outreach campaign promoting a toolbox of available, cost-effective clean air components for all new development;
  •     An incentive program to promote clean air project features; and
  •     Recognition of Air Quality Management Plan/State Implementation Plan measures that address mobile sources, construction and building component emission reductions.

    The details of these recommended strategies have been spelled out in a letter to Barry Wallerstein, the Chief Executive Officer of the SCAQMD.

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