San Jose Spotlight: How a San Jose senator aims to cut red tape on affordable housing

A South Bay senator is hoping to speed up affordable housing production statewide with a new bill aimed at trimming back red tape in California’s main environmental law.

State Sen. Dave Cortese’s bill, SB 406, would grant local agencies who help fund affordable housing an exemption from a provision of California’s Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) that requires an additional layer of review for such projects. The bill, coauthored by state Sen. Kelly Seyarto of Murrieta, passed in the state Legislature last week and is headed to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk for consideration.

While all affordable housing proposals are required to undergo a standard review of a project’s impact on the environment, those that receive funding from cities, counties or other local government agencies are currently saddled with a second review of the funding package under CEQA.

Cortese said the additional review is repetitive, causes delays and increases costs of affordable housing. The exemption his bill would grant local governments is similar to one already in place for any state-funded affordable housing projects.

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