While many Californians are in support of Senate Bill 32 in hopes of the positive impact it will have on the environment, some are concerned that the pending climate-change bill could slow down construction while driving up the cost of new houses. With California already facing rising housing costs coupled with a shortage of inventory to meet demand, driving up costs and slowing down production of residential housing options could have disastrous effects on the state and its economy.
A Closer Look at Senate Bill 32
Companion bill to Sen. Fran Pavley’s Assembly Bill 32, the Senate Bill 32 calls for an expansion and extension of the state’s plan for pollution reduction going into the year 2050. Assembly Bill 32 is the state’s trademark law that called for the California Air Resources Board to create programs aimed toward reducing pollution to the same levels they were in 1990 by 2030. The companion bill would authorize the board to create programs aimed toward reducing levels to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. This change would effectively put a 2005 executive order issued by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger into statute.
Concerns Regarding Senate Bill 32
According to a report issued by the California Building Industry Association, Senate Bill 32 is likely to lead a mandate for all homes in the state to produce zero net energy. As such, it might be used by anti-development groups as a means for suing builders under the Environmental Quality Act. Pavley, who is an Agoura Hills Democrat, dismisses these claims. According to the senator, the group’s report is nothing more than alarmist propaganda. Nonetheless, a suit pending in California Supreme Court alleges that a planning agency in the San Diego has violated Schwarzenegger’s 2005 executive order by failing to analyze pollution impacts.
While most builders do not seem to be opposed to working toward reducing the environmental impact of their developments, the California Building Industry Association has expressed concerns about putting the executive order into law. In doing so, they fear it will create a rash of environmental lawsuits against builders as they work toward finding ways to create substantial on-site energy production on every new house that his built. By requiring all new residential construction developers to comply with the law, industry experts are concerned that residential construction will slow down significantly as developers steer clear of building new homes in California in order to avoid lawsuits. For those who do choose to move forward with development, there are concerns that housing costs will be driven up even further as developers are forced to invest more of their resources into each home to ensure it is compliant with the new law.
With California still working toward achieving a full recovering from the Great Recession, Senate Bill 32 is clearly something that needs to be addressed clearly. On the other hand, creating sustainable housing is an important aspect of the future of the state as well as the future of the country as states look toward California as an eco-friendly leader.
California is slowly progressing towards becoming an eco-friendly housing leader, and you can be a part of that. Contact our team of luxury real estate professionals if you’re interested in purchasing a home, or stay informed about the California housing market trends with our blog.
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