The Biden Administration is amending the federal regulations for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to reverse certain changes made by the Trump Administration. The first set of amendments took effect last Friday on May 20, 2022.
For many in the cannabis industry, April 1, 2022 is seen as a day of reckoning following the July 2021 passage of Assembly Bill 141 and Senate Bill 160 (collectively, the Cannabis Trailer Bill). In an attempt to transition to an annual licensure program, April 1st marked the beginning of the end for provisional cannabis licensure. It also ushered in significant changes to renewal process for previously granted provisional licenses. These modifications now require applicants to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (Pub. Res. Code §§ 21000 et seq.) (CEQA), a complex statewide policy of environmental protection fraught with potential traps for those unversed in the law, before an operator is eligible to be awarded a cannabis state license. This requirement alone carries the potential to create a much higher barrier to entrance into the cannabis market.
Continue Reading No April Fools: Starting April 1st, Cannabis Operators Face CEQA Compliance Requirements for State Licenses
Earlier this month, New York Governor Hochul’s executive budget introduced a proposal for an updated 421-a Real Estate Tax Exemption Program. Referred to as “Affordable Neighborhoods for New Yorkers” and proposed under a different section of the State’s Real Property Tax Law (485-w), the Governor’s proposal follows the existing 421-a/Affordable New York program, with a few tweaks:…
Continue Reading New York Governor Releases Updated 421-a Program
On Friday, November 12, 2021, the Association of Bay Area Government’s (“ABAG’s) Administrative Committee formally denied 27 out of 28 appeals of draft housing allocations filed by local jurisdictions within the Bay Area region. In approving final written denials for nearly all appeals filed by cities and counties within the Bay Area, the Committee signaled strong confidence in the draft Regional Housing Needs Allocation (“RHNA”) Plan prepared by ABAG’s Housing Methodology Committee and approved in May. Local jurisdictions in the Bay Area must now incorporate the Plan’s housing allocations into their Housing Elements.
Continue Reading Association of Bay Area Governments Formally Denies Nearly All Regional Housing Needs Allocation Appeals
On September 16th, hot off the heels of surviving California’s latest recall effort, Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation aimed at addressing the statewide housing crisis – a critical topic leading up to last week’s election. The suite of bills, Senate Bills (SB) 8, 9 and 10 and Assembly Bill (AB) 1174, coupled with the recently announced California Comeback Plan, carry the potential to expand housing production, streamline permitting and promote density closer to major employment hubs.
Continue Reading California Enacts New Legislation to Combat Growing Housing Crisis, But Not Without Controversy
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.
Continue Reading Senate Bill Extends and Expands CEQA Streamlining Process
On Wednesday, June 2, the Los Angeles City Council’s Public Safety Committee voted to proceed with expanding Fire District 1 after receiving a report produced by the Department of Building and Safety, Fire Department, and City Planning Department. The report analyzed the potential impacts of the expansion of Fire District 1, which prohibits certain construction types in limited areas of the City of Los Angeles, such as Downtown and Hollywood. The report concluded that the expansion of Fire District 1 would result in an increase in construction and materials cost and would likely reduce the financial feasibility of affordable housing projects and result in fewer projects throughout the City.
Continue Reading Los Angeles City Council’s Public Safety Committee Votes to Move Forward with Expanding Fire Rating Requirements for New Construction
Yesterday the Los Angeles City Council adopted a motion entitled Building a Safer Los Angeles (“Motion”) that would significantly expand the fire rating requirements for new buildings and restrict the use of light wood-frame construction throughout large parts of the City of Los Angeles. The Motion is broadly written and, contrary to some reports in the press, it does not call for exemptions based on building size or square footage.
Continue Reading City of Los Angeles Moves to Increase Building Standards for New Construction
The new 2021-2022 California legislative session has kicked off with the Senate’s “Building Opportunities for All” housing package, its latest effort to tackle zoning and California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) reforms in an effort to address California’s ongoing housing crisis. “Each one of these bills is targeted at an element of the housing crisis, and together, they give us a unified approach that would create pathways to home ownership, stable housing for vulnerable families, and a pathway to economic stability for Californians across the golden state,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins when announcing the housing package. As anticipated in our summary of new legislation effective in 2021, this housing package builds upon the housing production bills from the previous legislative session that failed to pass out of committee or gain concurrence votes before the session ended. Given that many of the bills replicate language from the failed 2020 housing legislation, the senators appear confident that more of these bills will be approved in this new session.
Continue Reading California Senate Returns Its Focus to Housing in 2021-2022 Legislative Session
Effective February 1, 2021, the California Legislature and Governor Gavin Newsom approved Senate Bill (“SB”) 91 – Eviction Protection and Relief Act in further response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In essence, SB 91 extends core tenant protections established by August 2020’s Assembly Bill (“AB”) 3088, but also establishes the State Rental Assistance Program, provides rental assistance for landlords and tenants, and closes existing loopholes in AB 3088.
Continue Reading California Legislature Extends Residential Eviction Moratorium and Implements Rental Assistance Program for Landlords and Tenants
On December 30, 2020, New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (the “Department”) promulgated statewide ambient limits on greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions for the years 2030 and 2050 (the “Regulations”). The GHGs covered by the Regulations include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and chlorofluorocarbons. The final Regulations constitute a critical step in the implementation of New York State’s climate strategy set out in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (“CLCPA”). …
Continue Reading New York Moves Further Toward Implementation of Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act with Final Statewide Greenhouse Gas Emission Limits for 2030 and 2050