AIA|LA Encourages Ongoing Reform to the California Environmental Quality Act

Last Updated: September 15, 2011

AIA|LA Encourages Ongoing Reform to the California Environmental Quality Act

AIA|LA Encourages Ongoing Reform to the California Environmental Quality Act

For Immediate Release

Los Angeles, CA - September 14, 2011 - The Los Angeles Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA|LA) has been tracking the recent legislative initiatives to reform the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and encourages policymakers to continue initiating true and meaningful CEQA reform.

Taken together, SB 292 (Padilla), AB 900 (Buchanan) and SB 226 (Simitian) represent pro-active measures that will eventually lead to a broader consensus with business and environmental interests in effort to repair CEQA regulations that often do more environmental harm than good. The three bills are only a first step, though. More substantial reforms are needed to ensure that smart regulations facilitate the development of a healthier and more sustainable built environment.

Because AB 900 and SB 226 were drafted so quickly, and were not authored with the substantial input from architects that such legislation deserves, certain inherent flaws exist in the legislation that will hopefully be addressed in the immediate future. For instance, if certain thresh holds are indeed warranted, then CEQA exemption for urban infill projects should be tied to projects designed to the existing State-mandated performance standards of CALGreen Tier II instead of USGBC's LEED Silver rating. Overall, AIA|LA trusts that streamlining the process for urban infill projects is key to building a more economically and environmentally sustainable future. In essence, the quicker California can reform CEQA regulations to incentivize sustainable land-use, the quicker we will realize the goals and benefits of AB 32 (California's Global Warming Solutions Act) and SB 375 (California's Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act).

Sustainable land-use reduces:

  • Infrastructure costs (lengths of roads, utilities)
  • Transportation costs (time of commute, carbon emissions)
  • Heat island effect (extent of pavement)
  • Storm water run-off (replenishes aquifers, reduces pollution in rivers and ocean)
  • Healthcare costs (lack of physical activity, air pollutants)

Sustainable land-use increases:

  • Health and well-being (complete communities)
  • Preservation of natural lands (through compact development, less sprawl)
  • Civic engagement and satisfaction with one's community
  • Economic efficiencies (proximity, adjacency)
  • Innovation and worker productivity (exchange of ideas-cooperation and competition through personal contact matters)
  • Conservation of water resources (shared green space reduces need for private green space)

Likewise, sustainable urban environments that include 'livable' complete streets and increased and accessible/usable green spaces also decrease crime and social friction. Ongoing and meaningful CEQA reform is the first step we need to take in effort to reach the goals of sustainable land-use.

For more information, please contact:
Will Wright
Director, Government & Public Affairs
(213) 639-0764
will@aialosangeles.org

photo courtesy of Steve Hymon

Last updated: 11-Dec-2012 07:15 AM
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