AB 2267 – CEQA Skip for Developers in Santa Rosa/Sonoma County

New Comments from Public:

This would set an ugly precedent and open the door to wholesale CEQA avoidance throughout the State.Fire losses are already exempt from CEQA.  Using the fire as an excuse to approve Plan changes and totally new development invites lots of problems and unintended consequences.
Should be opposed.

AB 2267 is a wrong thing to do – and – a threat to CEQA (as CEQA now stands)

Additionally, the Bill is using the fire and fire recovery as an excuse to
change zoning requirements (without CEQA review) – an action that has
occurred previously, and failed.

It is primarily a handout to developers who did not want to build smaller
units and single family dwellings – as they are not profitable enough.
They want big, profitable, projects.

CEQA would force review of such projects on resources (water, air quality,
noise, GHG issues), circulation (traffic, plumbing/sewer and water,
roads),  etc..  That is what CEQA is for – assess and mitigate.

They say only a 5 year hiatus. Wrong – once you change zoning you will not
change it back.

With 30,000 new housing projects wanted by the Sonoma County Supervisors what about the traffic impacts, GHG impacts, water, road & sewer infrastructure and more. Ignoring the CEQA requirements will have long term effects. How can you build healthy communities with little or no facts on impacts?

“…….an economic gift to developers – leaving the environment and Santa Rosa citizens life style in the dumpster. “

AB 2267 – California Environmental Quality Act: Sonoma County Renewal Enterprise District.  Assembly Person Jim Wood

This bill affects transit (“metropolitan’) priority areas  – most of downtown Santa Rosa and areas of Sonoma County adjacent to transportation corridors.  The bill would exempt projects (including zoning changes,  General Plan Amendments, hight and density limitations, and land use) in the areas of concern.

Individual projects (under a master plan) would be exempt projects  from CEQA review (where effects on infrastructure, traffic, noise, water, wastewater,  and other resources may not be addressed in environmental review) – for the period of 2019 to 2024.  The argument for doing this is to spur development (housing and economic development) for recovery from the fire.   However, how  high rise and mixed use projects in Santa Rosa  have anything to do with fire recovery.  It is an economic gift to developers – leaving the environment and Santa Rosa citizens life style in the dumpster.

From Cal Leg info:

This bill would exempt from the requirements of CEQA specified actions and approvals taken between January 1, 2019, and January 1, 2024, for the adoption or approval of amendments to a specific plan located within the City of Santa Rosa meeting certain requirements and the approval of projects that are consistent with the amended specific plan. [Note: Specific Plan not clearly defined]

This bill, until January 1, 2024, would authorize a streamlined judicial review for the adoption or amendment of a specific plan, general plan, zoning ordinance, or other planning document by a local public agency that includes certain parcels within the portions of the City of Santa Rosa or unincorporated areas of the County of Sonoma (RED Area) for certain purposes. The bill would require a local public agency to use specified procedures for conducting the environmental review for the adoption or amendments of the RED Area plan, including the current preparation of the record of proceedings, as provided.

Because a lead agency would be required to conduct the environmental review and to concurrently prepare the record of proceedings for the adoption or amendment of a RED Area plan and to determine the applicability of the exemption for amendments to a specific plan in the City of Santa Rosa or a project located in a RED Area, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

4) The amendments to the adopted specific plan are enacted for either of the following purpose:
(A) Increasing building height, increasing density, reducing parking requirements, or intensifying or diversifying housing stock within a transit priority area, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 21099 of the Public Resources Code, within the downtown area, as defined in the City of Santa Rosa general plan, or within a locally adopted priority development area, as identified in the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Plan Bay Area 2040 or successor document.
(B) Establishing significance criteria to analyze transportation impacts based on methodology established pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 21099 of the Public Resources Code.

(c) The California Environmental Quality act (Division 13 (commencing with Section 21000) of the Public Resources Code) does not apply to projects approved by the City of Santa Rosa between January 1, 2019, and January 1, 2024, inclusive, that are consistent with an amended specific plan described in subdivision.

Alan Levine
Coast Action Group
Affiliate of Redwood Coast Watersheds Alliance