SACRAMENTO– Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) today introduced a package of bills that will help expedite housing production in Butte County while also streamlining removal of dead and dying trees and vital infrastructure improvements.
Assembly Bill 430 will help alleviate the housing crisis, which has been exacerbated in Butte County in the aftermath of the Camp Fire, by streamlining the environmental review process for certain housing projects. The Camp Fire displaced over 50,000 people and the surrounding areas do not have sufficient capacity to absorb this population. Many people are still in temporary housing or living with friends and family. Others were forced to move far away from their jobs to more affordable areas. New and affordable housing near job-centers is critical for displaced individuals.
“We must get new housing online as soon as possible. The legislature has streamlined environmental review for sports arenas. Surely we can do the same for housing, especially for people who are recovering from a catastrophic event,” said Assemblyman Gallagher. “Many people want to stay in the area where they have jobs, family, and community connections,” Gallagher added.
Gallagher’s second bill, Assembly Bill 431, will also help the recovery process by expediting certain forestry management and public infrastructure projects. Specifically, the bill will exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) forest health and fuel reductions projects in Butte County such as thinning overgrown bushes and trees. The bill also exempts improvements to evacuation routes in the Town of Paradise. Lastly, the legislation would provide regulatory relief for the proposed construction of a sewer system to serve the business district of the Town.
“I’m very excited – we’ve estimated that this will save us two years and $4-5 million for a project that is going to be instrumental in rebuilding Paradise,” said Paradise Mayor Jody Jones of the sewer project CEQA exemption.
Paradise currently relies on 11,000 individual septic systems for homes and businesses. Lack of a sewer has been especially problematic in higher density business areas where septic failures are common. A better water collection and treatment system is not only more environmentally friendly, but would spur economic development and help attract new and bigger business opportunities.
“Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that as the town rebuilds, it rebuilds better and more resilient than before,” said Gallagher. “We must be smart about rebuilding, and in tragedy comes opportunity. Local, State, and Federal partners should collaborate to make improvements to public infrastructure such as the sewer system and roads.”
For more information on Assemblyman Gallagher, and to track legislation visit www.assembly.ca.gov/Gallagher
Assemblyman James Gallagher represents the 3rd Assembly District, which encompasses all of Glenn, Sutter, Tehama and Yuba counties as well as portions of Butte and Colusa counties.