Apartments: The New California Dream

It’s official: Apartments are the new California dream. At least for now.

The Department of Finance’s Demographic Research Unit reports that multi-family construction outstripped single-family construction over the past two years – not by much, but it did happen.

Beware the 'Density Cult'

I love a Parisian stroll as much as the next guy does, but I have friends in the planning community who make me look like Robert Moses. They ride fixies. They build parklets. They live in lofts. They go on urban hikes. Some don’t own cars—in Los Angeles. And I have never heard one of them say, “man, I really wish L.A. was more like Bangladesh.”

CP&DR News Summary, April 30, 2013: Farmers Drop High-Speed Rail Lawsuit

Less than a day before trial, the California High-Speed Rail Authority and Madera/Fresno farming organizations announced they had reached a settlement -- dissolving the last legal challenge to the first segment of California’s HSR. According to Anja Raudabaugh, executive director of the Madera Farm Bureau, the rail authority offered significant concessions including increased mitigation for agricultural impacts and compensation for landowners who are affected by the project.

Obama Selects A Mayor For DOT Secretary -- But Not Villaraigosa

As expected, President Obama has picked a mayor to succeed Ray LaHood as Secretary of Transportation. But it’s not Los Angeles’s Antonio Villaraigosa. It’s Anthony Foxx, the mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Jerry's Done With CEQA Reform, But Darrell Isn't

Jerry Brown may have given up on CEQA reform this year, but Darrell Steinberg has not.

The Senate leader released details of his proposed reform of the California Environmental Quality Act yesterday. It’s not sweeping reform. Rather, it contains a series of incremental changes designed to speed projects along. These include statewide significance treshholds on some topics including traffic; some reforms to CEQA litigation procedures; and $30 million in annual funding to the Strategic Growth Council to continue providing statewide planning grants.

Hysteria Over California's Decline Reaches New Heights

Among some conservative circles, it’s become fashionable to say that liberals “hate America” any time Democrats try to do, well, anything.

Redondo Beach Voters Decline to Phase Out Power Plant

After a bruising campaign that saw energy company AES spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, Redondo Beach voters have rejected a local ballot initiative that would have rezoned AES’s beachfront power plant to parks and commercial uses.

AES still must receive California Energy Commission approval to rebuild the plant, which must stop using ocean water to cool its steam turbines no later than 2020. Defeat of Measure A, however, makes CEC approval of continuing power plant operations more likely.

Judge Upholds High-Speed Rail EIR Against Peninsula Cities’ Challenge

A Sacramento Superior Court judge has – for the second time – ruled against three Peninsula cities who filed suit against the High-Speed Rail Authority under the California Environmental Quality Act.

There’s No Undoing Those Hardened Commute Patterns

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.

What’s Next for CEQA: Major Reform or Incrementalism?

Is the California Environmental Quality Act finally on the verge of major reform?

Or will CEQA’s defenders succeed in limiting the reform to just nibbling around the edges, without attacking the law’s basic structure?

It’s Groundhog Day For Steinberg’s Redevelopment Bill

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. 

CP&DR News Summary, April 15, 2013: L.A. Creates Economic Development Agency

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.

3 SoCal Cities Among Complete Streets Leaders

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.

CP&DR News Summary, April 9, 2013:: CEQA Lawsuit Filed Against Sacramento Arena

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.

CP&DR News Summary, March 24, 2013: CADA Prepares for Budget Cuts


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.