New development in transit zones would be harder to stop by filing suit and would get a streamlined environmental review process under changes to the California Environmental Quality Act expected to pass the Legislature on Thursday.
The measure was originally narrowly crafted to ease the construction of a new downtown arena for the Sacramento Kings basketball team. But the scope of the measure was expanded late Wednesday at the insistence of Gov. Jerry Brown, according to Brown administration and legislative sources.
In its new version, the bill, authored by Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), would make it easier to build mixed-use and commercial projects in areas accessible by rapid transit.
It would exempt those projects from certain kinds of lawsuits, as long as they comply with other statewide standards. It would also limit the environmental review process on those "infill" projects.
The newly amended bill, SB 743, is expected to pass the Assembly and Senate later Thursday, the final day of the legislative year. It contains key provisions of a major CEQA overhaul pushed by Steinberg this year.