Vol. 25, No. 01, Jan. 1, 2010
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After years of study and negotiations, the San Jose City Council has adopted a citywide inclusionary housing ordinance. The measure, which takes effect in 2013 (unless certain market conditions improve), requires market-rate developers to make 15% of new units available to households with incomes of no more than the median. If developers choose to meet the mandate off-site, the affordable housing requirement rises to 20%. The city has had similar requirements for the downtown area for years.
Arnold Schwarzenegger has always been a Republican with a twist. As the governor enters his final year – attempting to deal both with economic woes and an ambitious environmental agenda – it appears that nothing has changed. He is going after the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in his own way. It’s legacy time for the governor. For better or worse, the Schwarzenegger approach to skinning CEQA may be part of his legacy.
It’s an exaggeration to say that 2010 will be the year in which nobody builds anything. But it might not be much of a stretch.
The consensus found in numerous prognostications from economists, academics and analysts is that a “normal” level of development activity is still two to four years away. In the meantime, as Chuck DiRocco, director of real estate research at PricewaterhouseCoopers summed up, “Now is not the time to develop.”
Can 12 million fish be wrong? Virtually no finned critters were to be found in the San Dieguito Lagoon as recently as 2007, when bulldozers began to push tons of earth to create berms along the banks of the coastal waterway. Seven months later, in January 2008, marine biologists were astonished to find millions of baby fish – far in excess of their expectations – squiggling in the newly irrigated lagoon in San Diego County.
After two decades of false starts, public and private planning efforts, litigation and ballot measures, development in South Sutter County appears ready to commence – just as soon as the economy rebounds.
To the relief of many public agencies, the state Supreme Court has overturned an appellate court decision that could have increased the number of “projects” subject to the California Environmental Quality Act.
In a 7-0 decision, the California Supreme Court ruled that Sacramento County was not required to complete an environmental review before denying a conditional use permit renewal for a private airport. Project denials are specifically exempted from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the court ruled.
New California Environmental Quality Act Guidelines that urge public agencies to quantify and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from projects whenever possible have gone into effect. Outgoing Natural Resources Secretary Michael Chrisman signed the guideline amendments on December 30.
Claims that Sacramento County violated the California Environmental Quality Act while approving a commercial development have been dismissed by the Third District Court of Appeal because the project opponent did not submit a written request for a hearing within 90 days of filing a lawsuit.
The attorney for opponent Forster-Gill, Inc., argued that a telephone call to the court clerk within the 90-day period was adequate, but the appellate court disagreed, ruling that the law “plainly contemplates a written request that can be, and is, filed with the court.”
A state appellate court has upheld the California Coastal Commission’s denial of a development permit for a small mixed-use project in Morro Bay.
The court rejected developer Dan Reddell’s arguments that the commission violated his due process and equal protection rights, and that its decision was a regulatory taking of property. Instead, the Second District Court of Appeal ruled that substantial evidence supported the commission’s finding that Reddell’s project was inconsistent with Morro Bay’s local coastal plan (LCP).