The Oakland City Council approved a Public Land Policy that would require the city to deposit 100 percent of proceeds from future sales of unused city-owned land into an affordable housing trust fund and any city-owned land it chooses to lease would first be offered to developers that agree to sell at least half of their homes at below-market rates. The goal of the two steps are to boost the city’s low-cost housing supply. City staff must now return with a proposed ordinance that would codify the policy. The policy also requires all construction projects on city parcels to give priority to local workers and that labor agreements for projects are signed with local trade unions for developments with more than 80 units or that cost more than $40 million. The city owns 20 sites, totaling 24 acres, that are available for development.
Agencies Consider Lawsuit over Bay Delta Plan
The State Water Resources Control Board approved the Bay Delta Plan in mid-December to improve the health of rivers and fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta by limiting the amount of water that dozens of communities could take from four major waterways. While the plan leaves rooms for negotiating the extent of the cutbacks, agencies that draw from the San Joaquin River and its tributaries say legal action may be necessary in the event they are forced to cut back more than they can afford. Under the plan, according to San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, city residents and businesses could face reductions of 40 percent or more during prolonged dry periods. The goal of the plan is to prevent the collapse of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta which serves as a hub for the state’s water supplies and is a vital habitat for threatened salmon. The Bay Delta Plan calls for maintaining an average of 40 percent of the natural flow of the San Joaquin River and its tributaries during peak spring runoff. Currently, the flow averages 20 percent or less because of diversions.
OPR Seeks Comments on Guidelines for Greenhouse Gas Analysis
The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) has released a discussion draft update to its 2008 advisory on how to analyze greenhouse gas impacts under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The discussion draft is available online at "OPR’s Technical Advisories.” Since 2008, there have been developments in statutes, regulations, and science, as well as a growing body of case law focused on addressing climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. This discussion draft incorporates developments since June 2008, including regulatory changes made to the CEQA Guidelines in late 2018 by the California Natural Resources Agency. OPR seeks input on this document, in particular: 1. Are there any important points that we missed that we should address? 2. Do you have any suggestions on how to clarify the topics that we did address? Input may be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 15.
SACOG Issues Grants to Support Sustainability, Active Transportation
The Sacramento Area Council of Governments awarded $132.4 million to 54 projects throughout the Greater Sacramento area. A few of the projects include City of Sacramento’s Del Rio Trail project which was awarded $6 million to build 4.8 miles of multiuse trail. Yuba County’s busiest road, North Beale Road, was awarded $2.3 million to help the county rehabilitate the corridor, fund sidewalks, bike lanes, crossings, and landscaping to make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists. The City of Rancho Cordova won $2.5 million for improvements to Sunrise Boulevard around the Sunrise lightrail station. SACOG awarded $4.2 million to Yolo County to help rehabilitate County Road 98. SACOG’s Green Region program awarded $11.7 million to four projects, one of which will buy and install Yolo County’s first DC fast chargers for electric vehicles.
Quick Hits & Updates
LA Metro directors voted, 7-4, to support a plan that would allow South Bay commuters to travel most of the Green Line without changing trains once the new Crenshaw Line opens next year. The directors also decided the Crenshaw Line would be restricted to two-car trains to limit issues. Metro staff had proposed to address the capacity issues on the Green Line by breaking the line into two pieces and restricting a portion to three-car trains but that would mean riders at certain South Bay stations would be forced to transfer. The Crenshaw Line is expected to open in mid-2020.
The California Coastal Commission released a free app, YourCoast, that would allow the public to explore free guides to 1,563 beaches, trails, parks, and visitor-serving destinations throughout the state. The app helps visitors find out which beaches have disabled access, are dog-friendly, have restrooms, parking, and more. The app is a result of a settlement of a June 2013 Coastal Act violation at a hotel campground open to the public in Big Sur.
CBS Corp. has sold its iconic Television City headquarters to real estate developer Hackman Capital Partners for $750 million. CBS said certain shows that are produced on the property would continue and CBS would retain office space for the studio’s international operation headquarters. Hackman also developed the landmark Culver Studios.
CaRLA has filed a lawsuit against the City of San Francisco to correct two regulations of its ADU ordinance that allegedly fail to comply with state requirements. According to the lawsuit, the ordinance subjects ADUs to a discretionary review process which allows for the potential of indefinite delays and only existing single-family homes are allowed ADUs. New single-family homes are not included in the ordinance.
The Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that legalizes and regulates vending on city streets. Under the new rules, vendors must pick up trash; ensure that people can pass on the sidewalks; and do business at a minimum distance from fire hydrants, driveways, building entrances, curbs, and at least three feet from another vendor. All vendors must all have any business and health permits required by the city, county or state. The rules will go into effect by January.
Los Angeles Metro’s board of directors directed its CEO to devise options for initial funding to extend the first phase of the Gold Line beyond La Verne to Pomona, with the second phase consisting of Claremont and Montclair stops. Gold Line officials are hoping to identify $200 million in the next couple months for the extension.
Santa Clara County supervisors unanimously approved spending $123.1 million to construct six affordable rental housing projects and rehabilitate three buildings throughout the county. The funds would come from the $950 million Measure A housing bond that voters passed in 2016. For every dollar the county spends, the projects will be supplemented by $2.78 in state and federal grants or private investment. The county’s goal is to build 4,800 affordable homes by 2026. The approved funds would go towards building 620 apartments, including homeless housing with support services and units reserved for low- to extremely low-income residents. The funds would also go to rehabilitating 484 affordable apartments.
San Francisco Board of Supervisors will be voting on a comprehensive ordinance updating the city’s framework for cannabis regulation. One of the amendments included would allow cannabis retailers to initially apply only for four retail permits each. Supervisor Aaron Peskin said his proposal would prevent “monopolistic owners from strangling innovation”. However, others say the amendment would unfairly limit the number of storefronts new applicants can apply for while existing retailers do not have such caps. (See prior CP&DR coverage.)