California Tackles Roadblocks to Housing Construction
SACRAMENTO – Taking on the misuse of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to obstruct housing projects, Governor Gavin Newsom today signed a measure to facilitate the development of much-needed affordable housing at universities.
AB 1307 by Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland) was passed unanimously in response to a court decision to block a new affordable housing development at UC Berkeley, which the Governor and Legislature supported with a $100 million investment in the 2022-23 Budget. Under this new law, residential noise will not be considered a significant environmental effect under CEQA. In addition, the bill eliminates the requirement that public universities consider alternatives to the location of housing projects, when specified requirements are met.
WHAT GOVERNOR NEWSOM SAID: “California will not allow NIMBYism to take hold, blocking critically needed housing for years and even decades. I thank Assemblymember Wicks and all the legislative leaders for taking on the status quo and clearing the way for our state to build more affordable housing.”
Assemblymember Buffy Wicks wrote AB 1307 in light of a court decision earlier this year that amassed national attention by allowing challengers to use CEQA to block the construction of student housing at UC Berkeley.
WHAT ASSEMBLYMEMBER WICKS SAID: “AB 1307 reestablishes over 50 years of CEQA precedent, and reaffirms that people are not pollution. This will help UC Berkeley move forward with more than 1,200 units of housing, including 160 units for formerly homeless individuals. Just as importantly, AB 1307 provides more certainty for housing projects across the state, instead of more red tape and higher construction costs. Thank you to Governor Newsom for quickly signing this bill, so we can get back to the business of building more housing in California.”
Earlier this year, Governor Newsom filed an amicus brief with the California Supreme Court urging it to overturn that decision and issued a statement in support of UC Berkeley’s plan to build much-needed student housing in People’s Park.
The Governor and the Legislature have invested and planned for $4 billion to provide grants for the CCCs, CSU, and UC to construct affordable student housing at below-market rates. This includes $100 million in the 2022-23 Budget for the People’s Park project itself.
Since taking office, Governor Newsom has signed more than 70 bills to kick-start and streamline the building process, including over 20 CEQA reform measures.