Since our previous blog on the possibility that auto malls – like regional malls – will soon become retail dinosaurs, the California press has glommed onto the idea big time. This is partly, of course, because auto sales are in the news in other ways. A few cities, for example, are offering auto sales tax rebates as part of their "local stimulus package," while other jurisdictions have provided loans to car dealerships.
A state appellate court has upheld a Santa Clara Valley Water District rate increase as exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act, rejecting multiple arguments from a retail water company that the increase was subject to environmental review.
Post-war suburbia has its defenders and its detractors. Recently, I encountered a truly staunch supporter of suburbia and a well-spoken critic. One of them sees black where the other sees white. It was a good reminder of how difficult planning is in California.
The City of Stockton had no right to take private property on which it later built a minor league baseball stadium, the Third District Court of Appeal has ruled. “This is a case of ‘condemn first, decide what to do with the property later,” Justice Kathleen Butz wrote for the unanimous three-judge appellate panel.
If you’re in a big hurry to build a road project, environmental review can get in the way. As Bill Fulton reports in this month’s Insight column, the state budget pact exempted eight Caltrans projects from the California Environmental Quality Act so that they get built quicker. But some folks in Tehama County are saying, “Hey, wait a second”
When United Airlines canceled its service between the airport in Palmdale and San Francisco International, it provide a significant setback to Southern California's long, frustrating effort to spread an immense amount of air traffic more evenly across the region. Palmdale may yet thrive as a commercial airport, but experts predict it could take decades.
Need to know where you can find the Timberland Productivity Act in state law? How about the statute governing specific plans? Want to know what the heck the Mills Act really offers to owners of historic properties? Can't figure out where to locate an appellate court opinion that was issued in 1999?
A few months ago, leaders of the California Building Industry Association started using the term “depression.” When you look at the numbers, it’s hard to argue that the homebuilding industry is not in a depression, rather than a recession. That’s why builders are flogging a new, $10,000 state tax credit for purchasers of new homes.
We may be witnessing the end of the auto mall as a cash cow for cities.
Auto sales nationwide are half what they were a year ago. Perhaps as many as half of all auto dealerships will go under in the current economic downturn. Car buyers have shifted their browsing to the Internet with amazing speed. And they're buying cars from anybody they don't have to haggle with – no matter where the sellers are.
More than 30 years ago, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley dreamed on an economically dominant downtown that would be on par with great downtowns like those in Chicago and San Francisco. Although Bradley's dream never came true, downtown L.A. has become a great residential neighborhood and a significant office market. It's easy to argue, though, that developers and market forces ultimately played a bigger role than government or public policy in downtown's evolution since the 1970s.