San Francisco Leading CEQA Reform Process—Scraps Level of Service

The San Francisco Planning Commission took historic action earlier this month, voting to end the use of Level of Service in environmental review.

March 11, 2016, 2:00 PM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

"The San Francisco Planning Commission voted 6-0 today to adopt a resolution to move forward with state-proposed guidelines that modernize the way city officials measure the transportation impacts of new development," according to a press release from the Planning Department of the City and County of San Francisco.

"The commission voted to remove automobile delay as a significant impact on the environment and replace it with a vehicle miles traveled threshold for all California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, environmental determinations. The resolution, put forward by San Francisco Planning, allows San Francisco to immediately implement changes to how it analyzes environmental impacts of development and transportation projects rather than wait for state adoption."

The press release includes more background on the differences between Level of Service (LOS) and Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT). The press release also includes soundbites from San Francisco Planning Director John Rahaim discussing the benefits of VMT over LOS. Also noted is the ongoing drafting process for new CEQA regulations at the State Office of Planning and Research (OPR). Planetizen last reported on the CEQA reform process in January, when OPR released a draft of recommended changes to CEQA.

San Francisco joins Pasadena as California cities taking a leadership role on LOS while the state undertakes its process.

Thursday, March 3, 2016 in San Francisco Planning Department

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