Anti-Infill CEQA Bill From Pro-Infill Group Passes The Assembly Natural Resources Committee

Streetsblog LA has excellent coverage of the continuing saga of AB 779, to roll back badly needed CEQA reform on transportation analyses for infill projects.  I detailed the bill and the sad spectacle of a nominally pro-infill group pushing it last week.  From Streetsblog:

The bill’s sponsors claim that having to analyze VMT would be burdensome and duplicative, since in some cases they would still be required to produce an LOS analysis to meet local planning requirements.

However, that claim looks pretty specious, for several reasons.

For one, OPR’s guidelines will excuse most true infill projects from any transportation analysis under CEQA, so there would be no need for “duplicative analyses.” This is because projects within a half mile of a major transit stop, as defined in the bill, would be exempt. It’s useful to remember than an earlier draft of A.B. 779 would have removed the word “major” in this definition, thus would have exempted pretty much any kind of development near any bus stop anywhere in the state, no matter how sparse the transit service there.

The article quotes yours truly and cites the opposition of the Council of Infill Builders, creating an unusual infill vs. infill battle. For her part, the bill’s author defends it by saying, “this isn’t about getting rid of VMT. VMT is a fine measure. This bill would press ‘pause’ on the process.”

But pressing pause only benefits the status quo. And as any observer of California development can tell you, the status quo does not benefit infill like it benefits sprawl.


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