The Silicon Valley Community Foundation has awarded Moira O'Neill, Associate Research Scientist in Law & Planning and Lecturer PSOE in City and Regional Planning, along with her co-PI Professor Eric Biber at Berkeley Law (Boalt Hall), a grant to examine how entitlement processes in selected California jurisdictions impact development approval timelines and procedural and substantive standards. The research will start with five jurisdictions in the Bay Area in the fall of 2017 and will add additional jurisdictions to the study over the following six months.
California's housing crisis is well known, and in large part attributed to the inadequate supply of housing across multiple income levels. This empirical legal research project will explore the relationship between local and state land use regulation and housing supply. Specifically, the project will examine entitlement processes in selected California jurisdictions to understand how individual land use regulations— be it zoning, specific plan, or environmental —impact the development approval timelines and procedural and substantive standards.
The research specifically is designed to identify elements of state and local land-use law (if any) that contribute to the increase in costs in housing construction in California. The elements will be measured by development approval time lags and increases in procedural and substantive standards for approvals. The outcome could be streamlined development policies that target the actual drivers of project delays without stripping vulnerable communities of their voice in the approval process or eliminating important environmental protections.
This interdisciplinary project joins legal research with qualitative methods to identify the most influential levers in the land use system and better evaluate the potential trade-offs and likely impact of proposed process changes. The review process will start with jurisdictions within California’s coastal communities, beginning with five in the Bay Area and then adding jurisdictions in Southern California.
About the Research Team:
Moira O’Neill Lecturers in both the Department of City and Regional Planning in the College of Environmental Design and Berkeley Law (Boalt Hall). She is also an Associate Research Scientist of Law and Planning at the Institute of Urban and Regional Development, where she leads the Law and Governance Research Group. Her research is interdisciplinary, focusing on urban planning and local governance topics. Her current research projects examine the local regulation of land to increase public benefits, and builds on ten years of professional experience in legal practice and consulting.
Professor Eric Biber’s teaching and research interests are environmental and natural resources law, administrative law, and property. Prior to joining Berkeley in 2006, he worked as a litigator in the Denver office of Earthjustice, a public-interest nonprofit organization specializing in public lands and other environmental cases. Biber taught public lands law as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in fall 2005. He is a member of both the Colorado and California bars.
Graduate student researchers include: Giulia Gualco-Nelson (Anticipated JD 2018), Heather Jones (JD 2019), Rachel Kramer (Anticipated JD 2018), Erin Lapeyrolerie (Anticipated MCP 2018, JD 2019)