CEQA Reform

By Jeff O’Connor, HomeFed Corp., BIA Board of Directors, Vice Chairman
Why is housing in San Diego County so expensive?


There are numerous reasons but most come down to supply and demand. We saw home prices decrease by up to 40% between 2006 and 2011, because the demand dropped significantly due to the mother of all recessions. Now we are back to high housing demand and short supply, therefore housing prices have doubled since 2011.


CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) has become a housing killer. The cost to file a CEQA lawsuit against a housing project is a measly $435 and can generally be filed by anyone, with little financial downside to the lawsuit filer. This means that if they lose on most of their claims, they can still ask the court to award their attorney fees. What’s more disturbing is regardless of the outcome, the plaintiff’s NEVER have to pay the defendant’s attorney fees.


This is crippling our industry. Numerous projects of all sizes are being held up right now in San Diego County. This is suspending the supply of homes getting to the market, making it more difficult for San Diego County residents able to purchase a home. The BIA and the CBIA is trying to get legislators aware and involved to reform CEQA back to what it was meant to do when it was enacted back in 1970… To protect the environment, not stop housing for Californians.