CP&DR News Summary, September 30, 2014: Merced CAG approves new RTP/SCS; Antelope Valley Area Plan approved, and more

The Merced County Association of Governments board approved a Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy September 25. Choosing between a "Scenario A" that assumed continuing growth trends, and a "Scenario B" that presumed a 35% density increase over current trends, the board chose "B". Neither version meets the Air Resources Board's prescribed goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 10% by 2035, so an Alternative Planning Strategy will need to be prepared as required under SB 375.

Governor's signing decisions – Key land-use bills plus picks from the SGF 'Greatest Hits'

In this review of Governor Brown's signing and veto decisions, which by law were due September 30, we start with outcomes on some bills previously covered by CP&DR during the year, then move on to excerpts from the "Greatest Hits" list maintained by Senate Governance and Finance Committee staff:

Insight: Everyone wants to keep leverage under CEQA

A few weeks ago I stopped by Bacara for the first time. Bacara is a superfancy resort along the Gaviota Coast, just off Highway 101 west of the UC Santa Barbara campus. With a rack rate of maybe $700 a night for a room, it’s far from cheap. And it’s beautifully designed – a collection of Santa Barbara-style white buildings, two and three stories, tumbling down a hill toward the ocean.

Legal news briefs: SANDAG suit status, another administrative record costs case, and more

California's Fourth District Court of Appeal heard oral arguments in August on the major suit by conservation groups against the San Diego Association of Governments over its Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy. The court took the case under submission August 27 so a decision is expected in the next month or two. For the online docket see http://bit.ly/1uSBoHd. The case concerns the first Sustainable Communities Strategy that was issued under SB 375.

Coastal Commissioners ask for more agenda control

The Coastal Commission met in Smith River this September, just three miles from the Oregon state line. The reduced two-day agenda and remote setting gave the meeting aspects of a retreat. Members used the slack in the session to raise big-picture and procedural questions – and at the end of the second day, a group of Commissioners staged a mini-rebellion seeking greater power to choose agenda items.

OPR's transportation metric drafters hint they're more open to change

The Office of Planning and Research (OPR) staff members working on the SB 743 transportation impact metric are showing signs they may be receptive to criticism, possibly slowing the CEQA Guidelines changes down and rethinking the “regional average” metric for vehicle miles traveled that they proposed last month.

OPR staffers' discussion tour both explains and shapes SB 743 proposal

The state’s proposed switch in transportation metrics for analysis under the California Environmental Quality Act came into sharper focus during September, as Office of Planning & Research staff provided more detail – and listened to criticism – in a series of forums around the state.

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CP&DR News Summary, September 24, 2014

In land use and planning this week:

Highlights from APA California

CP&DR was livetweeting extensively from panels at the APA California conference, as you can see by scrolling back to our September 14 and 15 posts at http://www.twitter.com/Cal_plan. Following are some notes filling out those highlights in context, and adding some further notes on issues raised at the conference.

How to relate VMT estimates to each other?

SGC proposes 40% of cap-and-trade funds for transit-oriented development

The Strategic Growth Council has proposed that 40% of its estimated $130 million in cap-and-trade funds be devoted to transit-oriented development (TOD) projects and that another 30% be devoted to a variety of infrastructure-related programs that may include housing.

The SGC issued draft program guidelines yesterday afternoon. The week before, the Air Resources Board (ARB) adopted guidelines on benefits to disadvantaged communities.

CP&DR News Summary, September 17, 2014: non-conference news, including two CEQA cases

While CP&DR and lots of our readers were at the APA California conference, land use news continued to appear in the outside world. A few highlights are summarized here. (Coastal Commission coverage to follow in a few days.)

Keep watching our Web site as we unpack and follow up more news from the conference, and if you haven't seen our livetweeting stream from some of the September 14 and 15 panels, it's still available at https://twitter.com/Cal_plan.

SB 743 at CCAPA: Will Roadway Expansion Be Transformed From Mitigation To Impact?

The SB 743 roadshow went to Anaheim over the weekend, where the Governor’s Office of Planning & Research – along with Ron Milam from Fehr & Peers – faced an overflow crowd and probed deeply into OPR’s proposal to dump traffic congestion as a significant impact under the California Environmental Quality Act. And the discussion showed just how much the OPR proposal is turning the CEQA’s traditional assumptions about traffic on their head.

End of Redevelopment: Nobody's A Winner

The end of redevelopment has never turned into a cash cow for the state, as Gov. Jerry Brown hoped back in 2011. And while the 2012 cleanup law – AB 1484 – has clarified the rules, cities are still losing most lawsuits against the state that seek to retain former redevelopment funds.

Livetweeting APA California

This week CP&DR is livetweeting the APA California conference in Anaheim.  You can read first impressions from the panels at http:// www.twitter.com/Cal_plan. (No need to have a Twitter account: just close any pop-up windows at the site and keep reading.) We'll have more detailed coverage here later on based on news picked up at the conference.

The Dark Side of Environmental Quality

You think this is going to be another piece about the shortcomings and backfires of the California Environmental Quality Act. It’s not.