December 2019

California Getting in Its Own Way

Center for Demographics and Policy at Chapman University
Jennifer L. Hernandez
CEQA Litigation Abuse Announcement

In 2018, housing was targeted in 60 percent of all California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) lawsuits against construction projects in the state, a new study by Holland & Knight reveals. The study, "California Getting in Its Own Way," concludes that CEQA clearly remains the litigation of choice for housing opponents and that this litigation is a major contributor to California's housing crisis. It was published by the Chapman University Center for Demographics and Policy.

According to the study, one clear culprit in the housing crisis is the lengthy and costly environmental review process required under CEQA, even for housing that complies with local General Plans and zoning codes and the hundreds of applicable environmental, health, safety, and labor laws and regulations. But after new housing is finally approved, any party can – even anonymously – file a CEQA lawsuit seeking to block the housing for "environmental" reasons, resulting in costly, multi-year delays.

"California Getting in Its Own Way" uses the same methodology as Holland & Knight's earlier studies of statewide CEQA litigation. All CEQA lawsuit petitions must be sent to the California Attorney General's office, and the firm was able to obtain copies of all petitions under the California Public Records Act. 

Read the full study »

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