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Streamlined CEQA Review of Housing Project at Greater Height and Density than Allowed by Zoning Upheld in Sacramentans for Fair Planning v. City of Sacramento

  • August 1, 2019

In the first published opinion to consider a Sustainable Communities Environmental Assessment (SCEA), the Third District upheld the City of Sacramento’s approval and streamlined CEQA review of a transit priority project that would build “significantly more housing” than otherwise allowed in the zoning code. The opinion strengthens charter city’sgeneral police powerto exceed density restrictions where “it is determined that the project provides a significant community benefit.” This will help cities seeking to densify their urban core beyond existing zoning and…

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New vapor intrusion fact sheet from the San Francisco Bay Regional Board

  • July 26, 2019

The San Francisco Bay Regional Board published a vapor intrusion fact sheet today (July 26) that expresses a preference for active mitigation and long-term monitoring, and notes that developers should assume it will take the Board 60 days to review each report. Read the full fact sheet here: https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/sanfranciscobay/water_issues/programs/ESL/vims_fact_sheet.pdf

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Vapor Intrusion in California – Still Up in the Air

  • April 19, 2019

The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) Human and Ecological Risk Office (HERO) released an update to its Human Health Risk Assessment Note (referred to as HERO Note 3 and available here) this week but did not provide more clarity on which soil vapor intrusion screening levels should be used to evaluate redevelopment of brownfield sites in California. In short, HERO Note 3 now recommends comparing soil vapor concentrations to both DTSC’s current screening levels (based on building specific attenuation factors)…

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California Supreme Court Declines to Consider Limited Applicability of CEQA to Design Review

  • April 18, 2019

The Supreme Court yesterday denied a petition for review and request for depublication of McCorkle Eastside Neighborhood Group v. City of St. Helena (2018) 31 Cal.App.5th 80 (see our previous post here). This affirms theFirst District Court of Appeal’s holding that discretionary design review of an otherwise permitted use is not subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). In practice, most design review and site plan approvals are similar to St. Helena’s Design Review Ordinance at issue in McCorkle. In…

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The Governor’s Plan to Convert Vacant State-Owned Lands to Housing Begins to Take Shape

  • April 15, 2019

On Thursday April 11, the California Department of General Services (DGS) released its initial inventory of vacant state-owned lands that are potentially available for the development of affordable housing. This January, Governor Newsom signed Executive Order N-06-19 which directed DGS to create an inventory of all state-owned properties that are in excess of the State’s foreseeable needs and could be available for potential development to alleviate the state’s housing crisis.  The Excess Property plan further directed DGS, along with the…

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