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Effort to give big development projects environmental relief passes the Assembly with overwhelming support

A rendering of one of the proposed developments. (Visualhouse)
A rendering of one of the proposed developments. (Visualhouse)

A bill that would give some legal environmental relief to mega-development projects across California, which would probably include four in Los Angeles, overwhelmingly passed the Assembly on Thursday.

The measure aims to ensure that any environmental litigation against projects worth more than $100 million that create high-paying jobs and meet greenhouse gas and renewable energy standards wraps up within nine months.

The bill received bipartisan, super-majority support in the Assembly. Republicans have tried to reform the state’s main environmental law, known as the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, for many years, saying it as an impediment to development.

“We really need to do this for all projects in California,” said Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto).

The bill now goes to the Senate, where its author, Sen. Cathleen Galgiani (D-Stockton) wants another super-majority vote so the measure can take effect immediately. She and other Democratic supporters of the bill have said such projects deserve relief because they’ll boost the economy and meet labor and environmental standards.

Supporters of the new measure believe it could allow the Los Angeles developments to get built three years sooner. A similar reform, however, has yet to provide much relief. None of the six large developments that qualified under a previous version of the legislation have so far needed to use the fast-track provisions to navigate the legal process.

The four Los Angeles developments that intend to apply for fast-track status if the measure passes are:

  • A $1-billion redevelopment of the Crossroads of the World complex in Hollywood
  • A $200-million hotel and residential development at the corner of Yucca Street and Argyle Avenue in Hollywood
  • The redevelopment of Barlow Respiratory Hospital near Dodger Stadium that would add 400 single-family homes to the property
  • A $1-billion park created by capping 38 acres of U.S. Highway 101 between Hollywood and Santa Monica boulevards

Times intern Sophia Bollag contributed to this report.

For the record: An earlier version of this map said Hollywood Central Park was a 34-acre project. It is 38 acres. None
For the record: An earlier version of this map said Hollywood Central Park was a 34-acre project. It is 38 acres.

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