Blogs

 

A note to readers

Dear CP&DR Readers,

By now, you may have heard that I have decided to move on from my current job as Planning Director of the City of San Diego to become the Director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University in Houston. (See http://kinder.rice.edu/content.aspx?id=2147485438&blogid=306.) I’m writing this short missive to reassure you that I remain committed to California Planning & Development Report – and, in fact, I’ll have more motivation and bandwidth to devote to CP&DR than I have had in recent years.

Official: Nearly Sure No Fault Under Big-Dollar Tower In Tinseltown

It’s hemi-semi-official: In the opinion of one of the state’s leading geologists, no earthquake fault lies beneath the immense Millennium office development in Hollywood. That is the expert opinion of Stephen Testa, who is executive director of the State Mining and Geology Board. Unlike several other geologists who have addressed the board in this case, Testa is not a consultant for the Millenium project.

A Beachhead Against Placelessness

It’s no secret that Walmart stores have caused the entire economies of small towns to decamp for some highway strip and, ultimately, wind up in Bentonville. But at least you know a Walmart when you see it – from miles away, no less.

A similarly insidious trend toward generic placelessness has been taking place in smaller-scale communities, even in many of the places that progressive planners hail as attractive, functioning communities.

Message to Architect: Do Not Blot Out Wilshire Boulevard!

Since our last discussion of architect Peter Zumthor’s proposed new design of the Los Angeles County Art Museum, aka the Black Hole on Wilshire Boulevard (see http://www.cp-dr.com/node/3442), several important events have taken place:

The Page Museum, which employs paleontologists to excavate bones of ancient mammals from tar pits that lie east of the museum, pointed out that the new museum would overlie several active research sites. Emergency IM to Switzerland: Mr. Z, your tar pit museum has become mired in the honest-to-God tar pits! Back to the drawing board!

Can an anti-speculation tax slow down Bay Area gentrification?

A coalition of San Francisco tenants' groups has won the needed four votes from county Supervisors to place an “anti-speculation tax” initiative on the city and county municipal ballot in November. The initiative, which would impose a 24-percent tax on investors who sell rental housing within five years of purchase, is the latest attempt of long-time city residents to beat back the waves of rising rents and housing values in what has become the nation’s most expensive housing market.

Why to read that Sacramento County court file soonest

If you think browsing court records in public policy lawsuits is a sensible use of time -- and since you're reading this publication, you may -- here's a warning that, if you don't work in California or federal government, the best time to read court documents in Sacramento Superior Court is before July 1. On that date, unless local court officials relent, online case records will become expensively paywalled.

The Hollywood earthquake fault: geology as a matter of opinion

In a case that could reset the parameters of reality, the developer of a mixed-use development under construction in Hollywood has asked the state geological service to change the earthquake map of Los Angeles.

ABAG, MTC Settle Plan Bay Area Lawsuit With BIA

The Bay Area’s regional planning agencies have settled a lawsuit with the Building Industry Association over Plan Bay Area – the regional sustainable communities strategy.

In the settlement, the Association of Bay Area Governments and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission agreed to focus more on finding residential locations within the Bay Area to accommodate expected future growth, rather than assuming a certain amount of in-commuting from the Central Valley and Monterey County.

Brown Signs Post-Redevelopment Bill

Yesterday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 471, a redevelopment cleanup bill that included some of Brown's ideas about using infrastructure financing districts as a future substitute for redevelopment.

Specifically, AB 471 clarifies that an IFD can be created that overlaps with a former redevelopment project area, so long as the IFD debt is subordinate to the old redevelopment debt.

California Should Take Off the Gloves

Raw fish will not singlehandedly save urban California. But it can still help.

 

Will CEQA Reform Really Reform CEQA?

"If you’re waiting for CEQA reform from the legislature, get a life! If you’re going to reform CEQA, you have to do it at home."

Most California locals are tackling climate change -- and using parking reductions to do it

The vast majority of California jurisdictions are now addressing greenhouse gas emissions, and increasingly they are using reduced parking requirements to achieve the “smart growth” land use changes that go along with emissions reductions. 

Brown Dips Toe Into Redevelopment Revival -- But With Conditions.

Sending the first signal that he is open to re-establishing some form of redevelopment, Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed changes to the Infrastructure Financing District law that would expand the allowable uses for IFDs and lower the voter threshold required to create them. But he would permit the expanded use of IFDs only for cities and counties that have settled out all redevelopment cash payments to other agencies and settled all redevelopment lawsuits against the state – moves that may accelerate the redevelopment wind-down process.

OPR Takes On Level of Service

Are the days of “levels of service” as a performance measure under the California Environmental Quality Act numbered?

The Morris Files: Announcing the Cal Planning Rol-Arena ®

HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL MEMO TO THE EDITOR OF CALIFORNIA PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT REPORT. WARNING: DON’T NOBODY ELSE READ THIS. STRICTLY “ENTRE NOUS.” STAY OUT! 

Dear Colleague:

Something has happened to the American sports venue. Despite their great cost, stadiums and arenas  have become as disposable as the paper wrapper on yesterday’s tater tots.