AB 1307 Helps Community College Districts Build More Student Housing

CATEGORY: Public Education Matters
CLIENT TYPE: Public Education
DATE: Sep 29, 2023

Governor Newsom signed a new bill into law to make it easier for community college districts to build student housing.  Assembly member Buffy Wicks introduced Assembly Bill 1307 in response to a court decision that had blocked a student housing project at UC Berkeley.  A neighborhood group had brought a lawsuit opposing the university’s plans to turn People’s Park into a student housing project that would also include supportive housing for 160 homeless residents.  The group had objected to the unruly parties that students might host.  The Court of Appeal agreed that the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) required the university to analyze and attempt to mitigate the increased social noise generated by student parties.  The Court of Appeal also held that the university had failed to adequately analyze alternative sites for the housing project.

CEQA requires an environmental impact report (EIR) for projects that may have a significant effect on the environment.  AB 1307 amends CEQA to specify that the noise that occupants and their guests generate is not a significant effect on the environment.  It also added a provision stating that public higher education institutions do not need to consider alternative sites when they seek to build a residential or mixed-use housing project.

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