The Mountain View City Council unanimously approved the North Bayshore redevelopment plan that would create a dense, city-like campus of offices and homes. The new master plan would include nearly 10,000 new homes and apartments, about 3.6 million square feet of office space, and a mix of pedestrian-friendly parks, retail shops and businesses. Google, which is based in Mountain View, endorsed the plan. Around 70 percent of the new housing units are targeted for studio or one-bedroom apartments and 20 percent of the apartments would be affordable units. The buildings are expected to be 8 stories for offices and 15 for residential units. Vice Mayor Lenny Siegel said in a statement, “This is a cutting edge plan that sets a standard. Not just for the Bay Area, but for the rest of the country.” Mountain View has a ratio of 2.7 workers for every housing unit, the second-highest in the region behind Palo Alto with 3.8 workers per home.
Sonoma County Creates Office to Address Fire Recovery
Sonoma County supervisors created the new Office of Recovery and Resiliency to help the region bounce back from the recent devastating wildfires. The office will also assist with charting a formal vision for the long-term recovery of the local housing market, the economy, the environment, safety net services, and local infrastructure. The new office will have its own budget and seven staff members who will for the next five years support the production and implementation of a plan to guide the community’s recovery and improve its ability to withstand future disasters.
Santa Cruz Sues Fossil Fuel Companies over Climate Change
The City of Santa Cruz and County of Santa Cruz filed separate lawsuits against 29 oil, gas, and coal companies seeking climate-change related damages that could range up to hundreds of millions of dollars. The complaints allege negligence on the part of the companies and seek damages for the mounting financial, environmental, and public health costs tied to global warming. The suits claim the extraction-industry giants knew about the impacts of fossil fuels on climate and seal levels for 50 years but concealed the risks and fought back against attempts at regulation. Other lawsuits from San Francisco, Oakland, and San Mateo County have been filed in recent months. According to Central Coast Wetlands Group Director Ross Clark, “Santa Cruz and Capitola are no longer going to be beach communities.”
Plan Envisions 146 Projects to Revitalize Lower Los Angeles River
The Lower Los Angeles River Working Group released a draft plan for the revitalization of the river’s 19-mile stretch from Vernon to Long Beach. The plan calls for 146 individual projects in and around the river including new trails, parks, crossings, and more. Included are seven “signature projects” that include development of new green space, public art display and affordable housing around Cudahy Park; new park, trials and dirt bike facility around Atlantic Boulevard in Vernon; a trio of park-topped bridges, new landscaping at the Rio Hondo confluence in the City of South Gate; floating boardwalks through Long Beach; pathways, recreation areas, and links to existing bike trails between Greenleaf and Del Amo boulevards; new crossings, rest areas and a nature overlook at Compton Creek; and a new park, expanded wetlands; stormwater capture facilities, and an amphitheater around Wrigley Heights. The group also proposed streetscape changes to make it easier for residents to access the river.
Adajaye Named New Master-Planner for S.F. Hunters Point
The firm of Ghanian-British architect Sir David Adjaye has been named to design a new master plan for the 420-acre former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. The developer, FivePoint, has been working on the shipyard since 1999 and 309 homes have been completed so far in the first phase with 138 more under construction. Adjaye wants to keep two of the remnants of the military past: a former ship repair facility and a four-story concrete warehouse. Adjaye’s vision is to replace the exterior and show the muscular ironwork. The two spaces would become commercial areas and “incubation zones” where high-tech jobs and mixed-income housing share a space. City’s Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure must authorize the changes to the plan and FivePoint will take Adjaye’s work to the office’s commission for a vote. (See prior CP&DR coverage.)
Ballot Measure Would Alter Prop. 13, Create ‘Split-Roll’ Property Tax
The League of Women Voters of California and community organizing nonprofits California Calls and PICO Network have filed a proposed initiative for the November 2018 statewide ballot. The group proposes making dramatic changes to Prop 13’s property tax restrictions by allowing the state to receive more tax dollars from commercial and industrial properties by assessing them at their current market value. This would be known as “split roll” because the existing tax protections on residential uses would remain in place. Advocates of the measure say it could raise billions of dollars that could be spent on public schools and community colleges.