Roadblock to development

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Feb. 29, 2008 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Senator Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica) has authored SB 1165 - Environmental Impact Report (EIR).  It would change the way that California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirements are satisfied.  

This bill requires that all communications between a project applicant (or it’s representative) and the responsible agency be in writing.  It also requires all preliminary drafts (including EIR, negative declarations or mitigations) to be available to the public. This is even before their official release for public comment.  Such obligations would stifle open and efficient negotiations between the parties.  The public already has ample opportunity for comment.  

Furthermore, SB 1165 mandates that the lead or responsible agency prepare a new EIR if the certification of the original EIR is more than five years old. The agency wouldn’t be allowed to rely on the old certifications and would have to re-circulate another draft for public review and comment for recertification by the agency – starting the process all over again.  Project applicants, especially those with large projects, could have their development stopped after a significant amount of time and money has already been invested.  

CEQA already requires that superior courts, in counties with a population of more than 200,000, designate one or more judges to develop expertise in CEQA.  This bill authorizes a party to an action to request the presiding judge to assign proceedings to one of the CEQA "designated" judges.  With a limited number of "designated" judges, this requirement could add considerably to the amount time lost before a case is heard and decided in court.

While CMTA’s Environmental Quality committee has not yet established positions on 2008 bills, an oppose position is likely on this legislation.

Read more Environmental Impacts articles

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