Media reports are lauding lawmakers and Democrat California Gov. Gavin Newsom for a new law that will allow housing developments to bypass some environmental regulations that have resulted in long delays. But the overarching impact on housing in the Golden State is that 15 percent of new housing must be low-income and be built by union-pledged workers.
It also favors projects that prioritize so-called clean energy.
Newsom made the signing a photo op as he stood near the Diridon Station in San Jose where Google is planning to build a campus with 4,000 housing units.
Senate Bill 7 allows projects of more than $15 million to apply for an “expedited review” under the California Environmental Quality Act, which has delayed and even killed housing developments.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported on the new law, touting Newsom as governor who is willing to bypass environmental concerns to help with the housing needs in California when in fact it will transform the state’s neighborhoods:
The bill allows developers of housing, clean energy and manufacturing projects to apply for a special status that requires planning officials to streamline them. Once a project qualifies, any lawsuit filed under the California Environmental Quality Act goes directly to an appeals court and must be resolved within 270 days.
Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins who sponsored the bill that was passed unanimously by the state Senate called it “an important tool for increasing housing production across California, ensuring communities small and large and urban and rural can benefit from economic development and generating good jobs for skilled workers in many trades.”
Newsom, who is currently facing a recall challenge, said he was tempted to sign the bill “within 20 minutes of receiving it” last Friday, but felt it was important to draw attention to it with a ceremonial bill-signing. Given its unanimous support in the Senate, it’s likely that the publicity swirling around its signing will not hurt his effort to beat back the recall.
“This bill is about our comeback,” Newsom said. “This bill is about our renewal. This bill is about our grit and tenacity.”
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