July 27, 2016

In the Name of the Environment Update: CEQA Litigation Update for SCAG Region (2013-2015)

13,946 Housing Units – and 200-bed Homeless Shelter – Targeted by Recent CEQA Lawsuits Filed in Los Angeles Region
Holland & Knight Alert
Jennifer L. Hernandez | David Friedman

Holland & Knight's West Coast Land Use and Environment Practice Group has provided an update to its "In the Name of the Environment" report, detailing California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) lawsuits that targeted housing projects in the counties and cities within the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG).

The new report shows an overall increase in the number of CEQA lawsuits filed in the SCAG region. The biggest target of CEQA lawsuits were residential projects (33 percent), followed by public service/infrastructure projects (14 percent). In our last report, a roughly equal number of residential projects and public service/infrastructure projects were targeted.

About 14,000 housing units were targeted by CEQA lawsuits during the study period.

  • 98 percent of the challenged housing units were in infill locations – using the OPR definition of infill, which is "existing communities" (within incorporated cities as well as unincorporated county sites surrounded by development). This report discusses the "infill" debate underway on the By Right Proposal, in which, for example, the Planning and Conservation League suggested an "infill" definition based on a 5,000-person-per mile density criteria that excludes San Diego, San Jose and San Francisco.
  • 71 percent of the challenged housing units were in projects that included no single-family homes (i.e., all targeted units were multi-family/attached products).

This report also includes a CEQA lawsuit that successfully stopped a 200-bed homeless shelter.

Read the full report here.

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