California Public and Resources Code §21081.3

Amended by A.B. 2341

Effective: January 1, 2019

A project which involves the refurbishment, conversion, repurposing or replacement of an existing building and meets the following requirements does not require a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) agency to evaluate its aesthetic impacts:

  • the current building is abandoned, dilapidated or has sat vacant for more than one year;
  • the building site is immediately adjacent to parcels developed with qualified urban uses;
  • the project involves the construction of housing;
  • any new structure doesn’t substantially exceed the height of the current structure; and
  • the new structure will not create a new source of substantial light.

Projects which may impact an official state scenic highway or a historic or cultural resource are still required to undergo CEQA review for aesthetic impacts.

Editor’s note — California’s CEQA laws have long been a burden on builders in the Golden State. CEQA adds time and money to the permitting process, making new housing more costly for builders and end users alike. While this law does not institute any sweeping changes to CEQA, it is a step in the right direction to make it easier for builders to construct needed housing in California.

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