After 25 years of negotiations, lawsuits, acrimony, and revisited proposals, environmental groups agreed to conditions under which the Newhall Ranch mega-development of 58,000 residents in Santa Clarita Valley will proceed. Covering roughly 12,000 acres, it is expected to be the last major greenfield development to be approved in Los Angeles County. Under the deal, developer FivePoint Holdings agreed to provide about $25 million for conservation efforts aimed at protecting a number of endangered species along the Santa Clara River and a separate agreement with a nonprofit Native American organization to provide a parcel and an undisclosed amount for construction of a multimillion-dollar cultural center. In exchange, the environmental and native American groups will drop lawsuits against the company and will not oppose development of new homes, golf courses, schools, recreation centers and 13 million square feet of commercial space. A first phrase of Newhall Ranch was approved in July.
Google Gets into Dispute over Proposed Office Complex in Mountain View
In a new twist on the housing pressures faced by Silicon Valley, Google is reportedly demanding more office space for its new “Charleston East” campus in Mountain View in exchange for constructing nearly 10,000 units in North Bayshore. The Mountain View City Council gave preliminary approval on the construction of 9,850 homes, but at a council meeting last week Google warned it would not allow the housing unless the city approved another 800,000 square feet of office space in addition to the 3.6 million in the draft North Bayshore plan. The city is concerned the new office space would further increase the gap between jobs and housing in the city. Councilmember Margaret Abe-Koga says an additional 2,700 housing units on top of the nearly 10,000 would be required to fix the imbalance. Google, in a letter to the city, says the development requires significant investment and the demolition of existing office space and therefore the net new office development is required. The North Bayshore plan calls for three neighborhoods on 154 acres. Nearly 40 percent of the housing will be “micro-unit/studios”, 30 percent 1-bedroom units, 20 percent 2-bedroom units, and 10 percent 3-bedroom units. Mountain View’s City Council will vote in November on the final plan. (See prior CP&DR coverageof Google.)
Los Angeles Takes Major Step to Promote Transit-Oriented Development
Los Angeles Department of City Planning released its official Transit Oriented Communities (TOC) guidelines. The new program was created through November’s Measure JJJ, a ballot measure that affects density bonuses citywide, and will incentivize the production of affordable housing by addressing all housing developments within a one-half mile of major transit stops. The TOC Affordable Housing Incentive areas are designed in tiers based on the type of transit and distance of the stop (Tier 1-4). The incentives vary depending on the density, amount and distance of the transit stop, open space, lot coverage, yards, and many more. These guidelines provide eligibility standards, incentives, and other necessary components of the program. Pursuant to Measure JJJ, the guidelines have been drafted and implemented by the Planning Department and did not require a vote of the city council. TOCs will be designated around the city’s several-dozen transit stops.
San Jose May Resort to Ballot Measure for Senior Housing Project
Two San Jose city councilmembers are pushing a ballot measure that would allow 910 new senior homes on empty land in east San Jose that is set aside for industry and jobs. While some city officials support the new affordable housing project, Mayor San Liccardo argues the proposal “upends San Jose’s careful planning process while enriching wealthy developers and failing to provide housing for those who need it most.” The proposed Evergreen Senior Homes would call for 20 percent of the new homes to be “affordable” for those earning no more than 120 percent of the area median income ($128,500 a year for family of four) but there is no guarantee those homes would be built in the first nine phases. The proposed project would prioritize affordable housing for veterans as well as include some open space. The Evergreen Senior Homes Initiative would change the city’s general plan as well as include a specific Evergreen area plan that limits housing to allow the zoned “industrial” to become “residential”.
UCLA Crunches Numbers on Housing Affordability vs. Production
According to the new UCLA Anderson Forecast it could take 20 percent more housing production to achieve a 10 percent reduction in prices. Such a reduction in prices would bring down housing to roughly 2014 levels throughout the state. However, an increase of 20 percent took Los Angeles and San Francisco 30 years to accomplish. Gov. Jerry Brown’s housing department says the state needs to build 180,000 units a year to keep up with housing demand, but falls 80,000 units short. Catching up to demand would cost an additional $26 billion. In Gov. Brown’s recent budget summary he states half of all California households are spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing and nearly one-third are spending more than 50 percent. The author of the UCLA Anderson Forecast, the recent signing of 15 housing bills in Sacramento will not do much to alleviate the high cost of living in the state.
Quick Hits & Updates
According to a report from Attom Data Solutions, an Irvine-based real estate research firm, San Jose and Los Angeles are two of the top three cities in the nation most at risk of losing housing from natural disasters. If only earthquakes are considered, LA is most at risk with San Jose, Bakersfield, and Seattle. The group also found homes in high risk areas have grown twice as fast as those in the bottom 20 percent.
The Ventura City Council approved 200 residential units last year in East Ventura but needed Ventura LAFCo approval to turn the county land over to the city. Two weeks ago LAFCo voted, 6-1, to approve the change. The city will be responsible for providing water, sewer, and emergency services to the future residents. One of the remaining issues was the city’s ability to assure the commissioners there was sufficient water to meet the project’s current and long-term demand.The Strategic Growth Council is hosting a series of consultations for prospective applications to the Transformative Climate Communities Program. Consultations will be available for proposals from Los Angeles Oct. 9 and 10 and from other eligible TCC cities Oct. 11 and 12. To schedule an appointment, email email@example.com. (See prior CP&DR coverage.)
Los Angeles Metro has earmarked $9 million for a Metro Affordable Transportation Connected Housing Program aimed at incentivizing more affordable housing near its transit stations. The public-private partnership will loan money to developers to build more affordable housing within a half-mile of transit lines. Executive officer of the program, Jenna Hornstock, said the loans will help preserve affordable units and help build roughly 1,800 new units.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Timothy M. Frawley criticized the title and summary for a proposed initiative that would repeal recent gas tax increases in California. Frawley wrote in his ruling, "The Attorney General’s title and summary… must be changed to avoid misleading the voters and creating prejudice against the measure.” The title and summary will be placed on petitions to be circulated by those trying to qualify the measure for the November 2018 ballot.
According to an official at the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum Authority the Raiders “might likely” play at the stadium through the 2020 season until the team’s Las Vegas stadium is built.The current contract will run through the 2018 season, and there is a likelihood that two-year extension will be sought.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a $1.25 million contract with a private company to oversee the eviction and relocation of hundreds of Treasure Island households to make way for the thousands of homes and businesses that will be constructed in the next four years. There are currently 675 households on the island, including 250 residents who will receive economic support for the moving expenses. Those living on Treasure Island before 2011 can receive a cash payment or a choice of a Transition Housing Unit or down payment toward the purchase of a new unit. Those moving in after the City approved new island development in 2011, can get “advisory services” for relocating.
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors gave conditional approval to the $1-billion Frank Gehry-designed residential and hotel complex planned in downtown LA. The supervisors’ approval is conditional because the Grand Avenue Joint Powers Authority wants more details on a number of issues, including the parking plan which reduced the number of parking stall from 1,350 to 800. The City and County of Los Angeles are providing tax breaks and other subsidies valued at nearly $200 million.
The Anaheim Convention Center recently opened an addition of 200,000 square feet to join a handful of U.S. cities that have at least 1 million square feet of exhibit space. McCormick Place in Chicago is the nation’s largest with 2.6 million feet of exhibit space, but Anaheim is now 11thin the country. The convention and meeting industry generates more than $280 billion in spending per year and employs more than 1.8 million workers. In San Francisco, the Moscone Center is getting an additional 305,000 square feet bringing the facility to more than 1 million square feet.