California's state housing finance administrators published a long-delayed study October 13 on the cost of building affordable housing. It found no single factor to blame for California's high costs per unit. But it said economies of scale tend to help, and multiple layers of restrictions don't help, and that perhaps cost containment should be a more important factor in awarding housing tax credits.
CP&DR News Summary, October 8, 2014: State Supreme Court to review Friant Ranch case, Laguna Beach activists win a round, LA issues transportation planBy Martha Bridegam on 8 October 2014 - 11:01am
The California Supreme Court agreed on October 1 to review a major CEQA case, Sierra Club v. County of Fresno, (2014) 226 Cal.App.4th 704, in which the Fifth District Court of Appeal blocked the "Friant Ranch," a large planned development focused on seniors' housing. (See prior coverage at http://www.cp-dr.com/node/3504.)
This week the Strategic Growth Council (SGC) came back to some questions on distributing cap-and-trade proceeds that were asked but not conclusively answered this summer -- and hinted that maybe these are the tough ones. The occasion was a public airing at the Council's October 6 meeting for a recently circulated draft of proposed guidelines for the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) program.
Speaker Toni Atkins of the California Assembly on October 2 appointed Gail Goldberg to one of two new public-member positions on the Strategic Growth Council (SGC). The SGC is about to set major aspects of policy for the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities cap-and-trade grantmaking program. (See prior coverage at http://www.cp-dr.com/node/3578.)
CP&DR News Summary, September 30, 2014: Merced CAG approves new RTP/SCS; Antelope Valley Area Plan approved, and moreBy Martha Bridegam on 30 September 2014 - 11:35pm
The Merced County Association of Governments board approved a Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy September 25. Choosing between a "Scenario A" that assumed continuing growth trends, and a "Scenario B" that presumed a 35% density increase over current trends, the board chose "B". Neither version meets the Air Resources Board's prescribed goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 10% by 2035, so an Alternative Planning Strategy will need to be prepared as required under SB 375.
In this review of Governor Brown's signing and veto decisions, which by law were due September 30, we start with outcomes on some bills previously covered by CP&DR during the year, then move on to excerpts from the "Greatest Hits" list maintained by Senate Governance and Finance Committee staff:
A few weeks ago I stopped by Bacara for the first time. Bacara is a superfancy resort along the Gaviota Coast, just off Highway 101 west of the UC Santa Barbara campus. With a rack rate of maybe $700 a night for a room, it’s far from cheap. And it’s beautifully designed – a collection of Santa Barbara-style white buildings, two and three stories, tumbling down a hill toward the ocean.
California's Fourth District Court of Appeal heard oral arguments in August on the major suit by conservation groups against the San Diego Association of Governments over its Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy. The court took the case under submission August 27 so a decision is expected in the next month or two. For the online docket see http://bit.ly/1uSBoHd. The case concerns the first Sustainable Communities Strategy that was issued under SB 375.
The Coastal Commission met in Smith River this September, just three miles from the Oregon state line. The reduced two-day agenda and remote setting gave the meeting aspects of a retreat. Members used the slack in the session to raise big-picture and procedural questions – and at the end of the second day, a group of Commissioners staged a mini-rebellion seeking greater power to choose agenda items.
The Office of Planning and Research (OPR) staff members working on the SB 743 transportation impact metric are showing signs they may be receptive to criticism, possibly slowing the CEQA Guidelines changes down and rethinking the “regional average” metric for vehicle miles traveled that they proposed last month.
The state’s proposed switch in transportation metrics for analysis under the California Environmental Quality Act came into sharper focus during September, as Office of Planning & Research staff provided more detail – and listened to criticism – in a series of forums around the state.
In land use and planning this week:
CP&DR was livetweeting extensively from panels at the APA California conference, as you can see by scrolling back to our September 14 and 15 posts at http://www.twitter.com/Cal_plan. Following are some notes filling out those highlights in context, and adding some further notes on issues raised at the conference.
How to relate VMT estimates to each other?
The Strategic Growth Council has proposed that 40% of its estimated $130 million in cap-and-trade funds be devoted to transit-oriented development (TOD) projects and that another 30% be devoted to a variety of infrastructure-related programs that may include housing.
The SGC issued draft program guidelines yesterday afternoon. The week before, the Air Resources Board (ARB) adopted guidelines on benefits to disadvantaged communities.
While CP&DR and lots of our readers were at the APA California conference, land use news continued to appear in the outside world. A few highlights are summarized here. (Coastal Commission coverage to follow in a few days.)
Keep watching our Web site as we unpack and follow up more news from the conference, and if you haven't seen our livetweeting stream from some of the September 14 and 15 panels, it's still available at https://twitter.com/Cal_plan.