Like the plot of the Bill Murray movie, Groundhog Day, Sacramento politicians are back to the same story on redevelopment this year. It's a re-run of last year, with proponents of redevelopment re-introducing many of the same bills as last year.
Attempts to resurrect redevelopment were a flop in 2012 when Governor Jerry Brown vetoed most redevelopment-related bills. This year, there is hope for a different ending, where Brown and his Democratic allies can find themselves in agreement on future steps to aid economic development at the local level.
The Los Angeles City Council has approved initial plans to create a new Economic Development Department (EDD). City officials hope that the new department, which will work alongside a nonprofit economic development corporation, can serve to replace the now defunct Community Redevelopment Agency.
Southern California may have a reputation as the car capital of the world, but walking and biking is apparently becoming more important.
This week, the National Complete Streets Coalition ranked three SoCal cities among the Top 10 best Complete Streets policies nationwide. The beachfront town of Hermosa Beach was #2. The poor Latino city of Huntington Park was #3. And the affluent inland city of Rancho Cucamonga was #10.
The Coalition for Responsible Arena Development filed a notice of
intent to bring a lawsuit against the proposed downtown arena in Sacramento. The group
opposing the proposed development claims that the project violates CEQA
and is a misuse of public funds.
The Capitol Area Development Agency (CADA) was seemingly exempt from the dissolution of redevelopment agencies last year. However, in the face of state budget cuts, officials plan to cease the agency’s development operations and sell off its properties to subsidize the state budget. CADA still hopes to retain its role in supporting development and managing affordable housing projects.
Not long ago, the Census Bureau released some new analyses of commuting, focused especially on “mega-commuting” – that is, commuters who drive more than 50 miles and 90 minutes one way. The numbers are predictably frightening – these folks travel extremely long distances, using up a lot of time, gas, and road capacity on the process.
But mega-commuters only make up about 2% of all commuters. The bigger message from the Census data is a much more prosaic – and discouraging – message about ordinary, day-to-day commuting.
Even if they disagree with each other sometimes, state and local officials are trying to make it easier to get development projects through the CEQA process. Jerry Brown recently used his 2011 CEQA reforms to get a solar project approved in Riverside County. Meanwhile, Fresno County streamlined its CEQA process even as Brown has attempted to intervene in disputes between Fresno city, the county, and Madera County over greenfield development.
The CEQA reform landscape – which looked pretty robust all winter – was turned upside down on Friday.
Over the past few weeks, issues concerning the Central Valley’s future growth and development plans have gained widespread attention throughout the state – even causing Governor Brown to intervene in the Valley’s deliberation processes. With the Central Valley region growing at a faster rate than any other region in California, the policy outcomes of the region's “growth wars” will provide the context in which the Valley’s cities and counties will be able to accommodate its growing population.
Streetcars are the hottest thing in the downtown revitalization business these days. They’re in operation in Portland and Seattle and in planning and construction stage in places like Washington, D.C., Oklahoma City, Cincinnati, Fort Lauderdale and Kansas City. And don’t worry – California will get its share of streetcars as well, especially Southern California. The Downtown Los Angeles streetcar appears all but certain to be open by around 2016, and three Orange County cities – Anaheim, Santa Ana, and Fullerton – are exploring the idea.
Fanning fears that the Sacramento Region won't be able to meet SB 375 emissions reduction standards, Sacramento County supervisors have approved the sprawling South County Cordova Hills project.
Lots going on in California planning and development this week ...
The San Diego Foundation is teaming up with the Downtown San Diego Partnership business group to frame a new vision for San Diego’s downtown. With the end of redevelopment agencies in the state, San Diego can no longer depend on the $125 million dollars a year to subsidize these types of projects.
Everybody always loves to complain about the California Environmental Quality Act, but despite all the complaining we don’t now much about how effective it really is and what all the CEQA activity adds up to.