December 1, 2021

Volume XI, Number 335

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Senate Bill Extends and Expands CEQA Streamlining Process

Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed into law Senate Bill (SB) 7, the “Housing + Jobs Expansion & Extension Act”, which extends and expands California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) streamlining provisions.  As previously discussed in our February blog post, “California Senate Returns Its Focus to Housing in 2021-2022 Legislative Session,” SB 7 is the first bill from the Senate’s “Building Opportunities for All” housing package to be signed and enacted this year.  SB 7 extends through 2025 the streamlined CEQA administrative and judicial review procedures developed for Environmental Leadership Development Projects (ELDPs) under Assembly Bill (AB) 900 in 2011. AB 900 established a process to expedite legal challenges for large housing, clean energy, and manufacturing projects with a capital investment of at least $100 million.  In an effort to increase housing and job opportunities in California, SB 7 expands streamlining eligibility to smaller affordable housing projects.  Specifically, housing projects on infill sites with an investment between $15-$100 million that meet specified labor and environmental standards and include at least 15 percent affordable housing are now eligible under SB 7.  SB 7 also clarifies that the deadline to resolve legal challenges to ELDPs under the expedited judicial review process is 270 days from the filing of the certified record of proceedings, including appeals to the court of appeal and the Supreme Court.

After signing SB 7, Governor Newsom commented:  “[c]utting red tape to save time and remove barriers to production helps us meet the urgent need for more housing while creating good jobs and preserving important environmental review.”  Twenty projects have been approved under AB 900, but by extending eligibility to smaller affordable housing projects, SB 7 now broadens the ability of affordable housing developers to take advantage of these CEQA streamlining opportunities.

The other bills that comprise the Senate’s “Building Opportunities for All” housing package continue to make their way through legislative committees, and we will track their progress throughout the legislative session.

Copyright © 2021, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 165
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About this Author

Jack Rubens, Real Estate, Land Use, Environmental, Lawyer, Sheppard Mullin
Partner

Jack H. Rubens is a partner in the Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental Practice Group in the firm’s Los Angeles office. He has also served as Chairman of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee.

Areas of Practice

Mr. Rubens has a diverse land use, land use litigation and real estate transactional practice. Over his 30 years at Sheppard Mullin, he has helped urban and retail developers, homebuilders and many other clients secure land use and zoning entitlements for a broad...

213-617-4216
Alison G. Martinez Real Estate Lawyer Sheppard Mullin Law Firm
Associate

Alison G. Martinez is an associate in the Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental Practice Group in the firm's Los Angeles Office.

Areas of Practice

Alison’s practice focuses on land use planning and environmental matters. She assists clients in complying with a number of state and local laws, including the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and State Planning and Zoning Law. Alison has worked on a variety of housing, mixed-use development, and commercial projects throughout California.

213-455-7706
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