Redevelopment Roundup, January 7, 2013

As cities around the state are still stinging from the state's decision to deny many of their 240 redevelopment appeals, redevelopment skirmishes still continue around the state -- often about affordable housing projects that cities claim are nearing completion. Here's a sampling:


Santa Ana sues DOF over affordable housing project


EPA: 33% of California housing is built in infill locations


Approximately one-third of new housing units constructed in California’s metropolitan counties between 2000 and 2009 were built in infill locations, according to a new report from the Environmental Protection Agency

Redevelopment Roundup: Dec 12, 2012

There's been a lot of redevelopment news around the state this week:

DOF at your service:

Santa Barbara ordered to sell parking lots and train depot.


Modesto can't use redevelopment funds to pay off bonds for downtown projects.

Judge's Rejection of San Diego SCS EIR Could Spell Trouble Statewide

Exploiting a subtle difference between AB 32 and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's 2005 Executive Order that preceded the bill, environmentalists have successfully persuaded a San Diego Superior Court judge to strike down the environmental impact report for the sustainable communities strategy adopted by the San Diego Association of Governments.

Will Villaraigosa Replace LaHood At DOT?

Now that Ray LaHood has finally announced he is stepping down as President Obama's Secretary of Transportation, speculation has immediately focused on whether outgoing L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will succeed him.

Wendell's World: In Housing, Supply Equals Demand

Wendell Cox, my favorite anti-anti-sprawl researcher, is at it again. This time, he’s on New Geography, taking on the oft-quoted forecast of Southern California’s future housing market by Professor Arthur C. Nelson of the University of Utah, which found that future demand will be mostly for multifamily housing and small lot (under 5,000 square feet)  detached homes.

Lesson From Elsewhere: Using Public Land To Make Redevelopment Work

With the demise of redevelopment in California, one idea put forth -- by me, among others -- is using publicly owned land as equity in a real estate deal as a way of subsidizing it. If you can’t “write down” private land (selling it to a developer for less than your bought it), maybe you should look at real estate assets your city – or some other public agency – already owns.

Redevelopment Roundup

Here's CP&DR's roundup of recent events around the state regarding the redevelopment wind-down. Just click on the headline to read more -- sometimes from us, sometimes from other sources.

West Sac passes Chiang's test, Hercules struggles, Morgan Hill sues

Voters Say Yes to Jobs, No to Other Development in Tuesday Balloting

If skepticism about growth is an indication that the economy is on the rebound, then Tuesday's land use elections throughout California might be called good news.

About a dozen land use measures were on the ballot Tuesday and most cases the anti-growth forces won. Most of those that did win were focused on job creation. Several measures focused on downtown development in small cities, with mixed results.

DOF Rules Against Football in Santa Clara

Everybody in Northern California is proud of the World Champion Giants., but apparently the 49ers are a different story. The Department of Finance beancounters in Sacramento have nixed a negotiated agreement between the City of Santa Clara and other taxing agencies that would have allowed the city to keep $30 million in tax-increment funds to help finance the 49ers new $1.2 billion stadium.

OPR: SB 226 Guidelines Aren't Complex, Just New

Last week, I posted a blog from the American Planning Association, California Chapter, conference suggesting that the new guidelines to implement the streamlining of environmental review for infill projects under SB 226 might be making the whole process even more complicated. Relying on comments by Ron Bass and Terry Rivasplata of ICF International, I titled the blog, “Streamlining CEQA is Really Complicated,” and I concluded that because CEQA is a complicated law, simplifying it really is a complicated matter.

The Post-Redevelopment Continuum

Though painful, the unwinding of redevelopment would seem to be a pretty straightforward process for most cities: Designate yourself as the successor agency, negotiate with your oversight committee to keep as much stuff going as possible, and try to keep the state Department of Finance from vetoing the whole situation.

Simplifying CEQA Is Really Complicated

Ever since the passage of SB 226 -- the law designed to streamline environment review for infill projects -- the state has been working on changes to the California Environmental Quality Act Guidelines to implement the law. There's a draft of the guidance out (you can find it here), and CEQA-sters Ron Bass and Terry Rivasplata of ICF International did a good job of laying out what the draft says at a session at the American Planning Association, California Chapter, conference.

Saving Redevelopment One Project at a Time

Last week, in my Insight column available to CP&DR subscribers, I suggested that there were two possible reasons Gov. Brown vetoed SB 1156 and the other redevelopment bills. First, there's still bad blood between him and the cities. And second, he doesn't want to do anything that would stimulate the revival of a redevelopment lobby in Sacramento.

Giving Main Street a Kickstart

Barrington, Ill.—What can California learn from a sleepy exurb on the edge of nowhere? Not much, I don’t think. California has scarcely ever pretended to care much for small town America. But something that is at once very modern and very old-fashioned is afoot here on Main Street. 

I mean Main Street literally. Barrington has a primary commercial street, and it’s called Main. And in the middle of that street, watching over it calmly and without imposition, stands the Catlow Theater, its neon casting a red glow over the prairie.