In summary

CEQA didn’t create the problems at UC Berkeley, the university’s poor planning did. Better planning, not gutting CEQA, is the answer.

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By Eric Parfrey

Eric Parfrey, a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, is a retired city planner in Stockton and a former member of the Berkeley Planning Commission.

Re “Berkeley case proves CEQA needs to be reformed”; Commentary, March 15, 2022

It’s no surprise business industry representatives, like the authors of the commentary, blame CEQA for the University of California, Berkeley’s failure to develop sufficient housing for its ballooning student population. 

Is it possible UC Berkeley failed to account for the environmental impacts of enrollment growth equivalent to a 9% population increase in the entire city of Berkeley? Is it possible growth on that scale might increase rates of homelessness, strain public services and have other significant impacts worth mitigating? 

CEQA didn’t create these problems; the university’s poor planning did. CEQA is simply the messenger. Better planning, not gutting CEQA, is the answer. 

CEQA is a living law that has been updated dozens of times. It can, has and should be updated to address the current problems of the day. But it still plays an essential role in protecting public health, and both natural and urban environments.

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