New initiative would change how CEQA is applied to new housing

Steve Hilton’s proposal would put a limit on who can use CEQA to stall new housing developments, something that is currently a thorn in the side of developers across the state.

A former Fox News host is proposing a ballot initiative to boost housing production in California. 

Steve Hilton, who hosted The Next Revolution on Fox News from 2017 until this year and also appears regularly as a guest on KMJ with Ray Appleton, is the main backer of the California Homeownership Affordability Act. 


The backstory: A major part of the initiative would reform the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which was signed into law by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan in 1970. 

  • CEQA requires public agencies and local governments to study environmental impacts of projects before approval and is often used as a basis to stall housing projects. 

The big picture: The California Homeownership Affordability Act would change the law to only allow district attorneys or the state attorney general to file a lawsuit to stop a housing project based on CEQA. Currently other businesses and neighbors can use CEQA to halt projects. 

  • The measure would also put a limit on the impact fees that can be charged to developers, capping them at three percent of the combined cost of construction and labor of a new home. 
  • Lastly, the measure would create a fund to provide down-payment loans to construction workers so they can purchase a home in California. The fund would be financed by a $300 developer fee on every new home built and $50 on every new rental unit. 

What they’re saying: Speaking to the San Francisco Chronicle, Hilton said he is looking forward to the “robust discussion” that will certainly take place with his proposal. 

  • “I love California,” Hilton said. “I feel incredibly supportive of the state and everything it represents.” 
  • Hilton pointed to California having the lowest home ownership rate of any state as one of factors leading him to propose the initiative. 
  • “Looking at all the issues, the one that felt foundational to us was the housing issue, in the sense that it underlies so many of the other problems,” Hilton said. 
  • Hilton added, “What it does is allow housing to be built where people want the housing. We should be for housing choice in the sense that you have communities that are desperate to build housing. It is crazy that we’ve got things stopping it.”
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