During 2013, SFHAC worked with Supervisor Scott Wiener to successfully pass some minor modifications to the City’s interpretation of CEQA, the California Environmental Quality Act.
The SFHAC believes CEQA has hindered our City’s ability to address its housing and environmental challenges. Signed into law in 1970 by Governor Ronald Reagan and basically unmodified since, it was written at a time when the environmental problems we faced were far different than those confronting us today.
CEQA contains various tools that make it easy to impede, delay or block good projects that otherwise meet all the environmental and zoning objectives we have set for them. These projects include public parks, housing (both affordable and market-rate), public libraries and even the SF Bicycle Plan. These obstructions and delays significantly add to the costs of building new housing.
Supervisor Wiener’s legislation made some small but sensible modifications to the process for filing a CEQA appeals, a key objection of ours. Prior to passage of his legislation, the process was unpredictable, unfair and created uncertainty for project sponsors. The current law is the result of extensive community outreach and compromise. While it is not perfect and additional reforms are needed, it is an improvement to our public process.