Re: “Zone Defense” (GT, 9/7): The tactics employed by special interest groups to thwart the City of Santa Cruz’s adoption of objective housing standards are appalling. I am particularly troubled by the threatened misuse of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to delay the process. This is a textbook example of why the state is becoming more prescriptive and requiring local jurisdictions to ministerially approve certain types of developments (e.g., ADUs, higher-density housing). Ministerial actions are exempt from CEQA.
I have practiced environmental and land use law for decades, and have witnessed the erosion of public support for important environmental laws like CEQA. It is particularly discouraging to see people like Gary Patton, who spent decades championing CEQA and other environmental laws, using CEQA to preserve their own personal utopia. Higher-density housing for all income groups is critical to solving the housing shortage. And 100% affordable projects do not pencil out without significant public funding. The areas identified by the city are near transit, which will reduce vehicle miles traveled and associated greenhouse gas emissions. This hypocritical entitlement mentality needs to stop.
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