SB 743 - Updates to CEQA

February 3, 2016

Dear ITE Southern California Members,

 

On January 20th, 2016, in accordance with Senate Bill 743, the California Office of Planning and Research (OPR) released a revised proposal to update CEQA guidelines for evaluating transportation impacts. The proposal presents a fundamental shift in the way transportation impacts will be assessed in the future, so we highly encourage our members to review the proposed guidelines which are available here:

 

https://www.opr.ca.gov/docs/Revised_VMT_CEQA_Guidelines_Proposal_January_20_2016.pdf

 

The Office of Planning and Research will accept written comments until 5:00 PM and February 29th, 2016. More information is available at https://www.opr.ca.gov/

 

 

The following is a brief history on SB 743, courtesy of ITE San Diego:

 

SB 743 Draft Guidelines

 

Governor Brown signed Senate Bill (SB) 743 (Steinberg, 2013), which creates a process to change the way that transportation impacts are analyzed under CEQA. Specifically, SB 743 requires the Governor's Office of Planning and Research (OPR) to amend the CEQA Guidelines to provide an alternative to LOS for evaluating transportation impacts. Particularly within areas served by transit, those alternative criteria must "promote the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the development of multimodal transportation networks, and a diversity of land uses." (New Public Resources Code Section 21099(b)(1).) Measurements of transportation impacts may include "vehicle miles traveled, vehicle miles traveled per capita, automobile trip generation rates, or automobile trips generated." (Ibid.) Once the CEQA Guidelines are amended to include those alternative criteria, auto delay will no longer be considered a significant impact under CEQA. (Id. at subd. (b)(2).) Transportation impacts related to air quality, noise and safety must still be analyzed under CEQA where appropriate. (Id. at subd. (b)(3).) SB 743 also amended congestion management law to allow cities and counties to opt out of LOS standards within certain infill areas. (See Amended Government Code Sections 65088.1 and 65088.4.) Aside from changes to transportation analysis, SB 743 also included several important changes to CEQA that apply to transit oriented developments, including aesthetics and parking.

 

At the request of the Western District of ITE, San Diego Section TCM Task Force Chair Erik Ruehr spearheaded efforts to draft a formal letter to California's Office of Planning and Research (OPR). The letter was a collection of considerations from ITE members from around the Western District responding to the draft guidelines in August of 2014 and raised legitimate issues for OPR to address. After much anticipation, the second draft was released in January of 2016. Erik will once again lead the effort to construct a response letter to represent ITE member concerns regarding the proposed guidelines. The comment period will end February 29th, 2016.

 

 

Respectfully,

 

Dean Lehman

ITE So Cal Secretary

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