Updates to CEQA Technical Advisories on Disaster Response and Housing 

by Alan Linch

Published: January, 2020

The Governor's Office of Planning and Research (OPR) has recently issued two technical advisories with helpful California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) guidance on two prominent California land use topics. The first advisory outlines potential CEQA exemptions for immediate-term disaster recovery, with the goal of helping communities and public agencies prepare their climate change adaptation and resilience strategies. The second advisory summarizes relevant statutes and regulations related to housing project review, including infill requirements and certain categorical exemptions that apply to projects other than affordable housing.

The disaster recovery advisory provides a list of over 30 potential CEQA exemptions for immediate-term recovery efforts in the Public Resources Code and CEQA Guidelines. The primary focus is on recovery and building housing and associated infrastructure, including affordable and agricultural worker housing. There is also a potential exemption for projects consistent with a community plan, general plan, or zoning. Additional potential exemptions include forest resources improvements, pipelines, minor hazardous waste cleanup, and residential projects consistent with a specific plan.

The CEQA review of housing projects advisory provides a list of statutes and regulations related to infill housing for urbanized areas near housing and in unincorporated counties. CEQA Guidelines related to Class 3 categorical exemptions for new construction of a small number of housing units and Class 32 categorical exemptions for infill housing are also covered. Notably, the advisory does not address affordable housing, supportive housing, transitional housing, or temporary shelters.

If you have questions about these advisories and how they may apply to your projects and/or strategic planning, please reach out to our land use team, Sean Marciniak, Robia Crisp, Alan Linch, and Ellis Raskin.


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