Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday signed legislation by Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) that extends expedited California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review for key developments and expands the streamlining process to include small-scale housing projects.
“California’s recovery from the pandemic must tackle the housing shortage that threatens our economic growth and long-term prosperity,” said Newsom. “Cutting red tape to save time and remove barriers to production helps us meet the urgent need for more housing while creating good jobs and preserving important environmental review.”
SB 7, the Housing + Jobs Expansion & Extension Act, extends through 2025 the provisions of legislation enacted in 2011 (AB 900) that created an expedited judicial review process under CEQA for large, multi-benefit housing, clean energy and manufacturing projects. To allow smaller housing projects to qualify for streamlining, SB 7 lowers the threshold for eligible housing projects to those with investments between $15 million and $100 million that include at least 15% affordable housing and are infill projects. In his 2019, Newsom called for expedited CEQA review to include housing, as under the newly signed legislation.
“This bill is a win for the environment, the economy, and California as a whole,” said Atkins. “It speeds up the costly and time-consuming review process without compromising California’s strict environmental standards. With our economy in recovery mode from the impacts of COVID, high-wage jobs are needed, and this bill meets that demand.”
Newsom signed SB 7 at the proposed site of Google’s Downtown West project, a mixed-use development in San Jose that was certified for expedited CEQA review in 2019. The project will create 4,000 units of housing, with 25 percent affordable, as well as retail and office space.