December 16, 2013

An inconvenient truth: Stack-and-pack going down in Tinseltown

By Jonathan Wood Attorney

As readers know, PLF is representing the Bay Area Citizens—a non-profit organization that represents citizens opposed to excessively burdensome regulations in the region—in their challenge to Plan Bay Area. Plan Bay Area is designed to pack the vast majority of future development in the region into approximately 5% of its’ surface area. PLF challenges the public review process by which the plan was adopted, arguing that the regional agencies which adopted it unlawfully misled the public and violated CEQA by engaging in an environmental analysis divorced from reality.

State law requires these agencies to draw up a plan to reach a target reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. If the agencies acknowledged the impacts of state vehicle and gas standards, the targets could be met without draconian restrictions on the types of housing that could be built. Conveniently, the agencies acknowledged these standards when it benefited them—by compensating for some of the environmental damage caused by the plan—but ignored them when it was inconvenient.

It turns out that Hollywood similarly chose to ignore evidence when developing its own plan. Hollywood used wildly incorrect population estimates in its environmental analysis. When the 2010 census numbers were released during the environmental review process, it should have revised its estimates to reflect reality. But it found doing so inconvenient. A tentative ruling in a case challenging that plan suggests that the judge will strike the entire plan because of these deficiencies.

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