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CP&DR News Briefs, April 13, 2015: L.A. Sustainabilty Plan; S.D. Rescinds Embattled Climate Plan; Californians Win National APA Awards; and More

Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles announced his new "Sustainable City pLAn," a far-reaching decree that seeks to make Los Angeles sustainable in ways ranging from water to solar energy to waste. Among other things, the plan seeks to reduce daily Vehicle Miles Traveled by 5 percent by 2025, to implement the Vision Zero policy to reduce traffic fatalities, to have zero days in which air pollution reaches unhealthy levels by 2025, and to complete 32 miles of Los Angeles River public access by 2025. The plan defines sustainability broadly, to include not only ecological goals but also broad goals of social and economic sustainability.

The plan seeks to reduce driving and pollution, increase walkability within neighborhoods (using WalkScore), improve pedestrian safety, promote development of affordable housing and transit-oriented development, support the re:codeLA initiative to update the city’s zoning code, revitalize the L.A. River, and support environmental justice, among other goals. Garcetti also signed a mayoral directive that requires all city departments to incorporate pLAn goals into their programs, and establishes sustainability officers in applicable departments and bureaus. At a signing event, he pledged that this "is not a plan for the shelves."

A Roundabout Way of Solving Congestion

It was bound to happen. The neo-traditionalist planning movement is making inroads into the most doctrinaire of planning dynasties – Caltrans. Late last year, in a little-noticed but potentially monumental policy shift, the state road bureaucracy issued Design Information Bulletin Number 80, thereby granting guarded approval of modern roundabouts as part of California’s highway design toolbox.

Now it’s up to local governments to press ahead with a back-to-the-future concept: intersections where...

TMDLs: The Revolution is at Hand

The next big thing in water quality management — measuring specific pollutants in bodies of water and setting limits for those pollutants — is likely to impact land use and planning, but the exact ramifications remain unclear.

After years of delay, federal and state agencies are developing definitions to show how much pollution can be allowed in a water body before it becomes polluted. These definitions are known as total maximum daily loads, or TMDLs.

Section 303(d) of the federal Clean Wat...

Second Diablo Grande EIR Rejected by Superior Court

Opponents of a 5,000-unit subdivision and golf resort in the western foothills of Stanislaus County continued their courtroom winning streak when Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Donald Shaver ruled a supplemental environmental impact report was inadequate.

In a July decision, Shaver said the county "failed to adequately evaluate the environmental impacts and the cumulative impacts, failed to accurately describe one portion of the project and failed to recirculate the SEIR."

In the fi...

Movies as Economic Development? Dream On


Economic development and motion picture development are not alike. Economic development is a slow, often bureaucratic, process involving the collaboration of many people, including government, real estate interests, and big employers. Motion picture development, on the other hand, is dominated by a handful of powerful personalities, predominately studio heads, who can simply axe a project if they have...

Coastal Act: Lot Line Adjustment Qualifies as Coastal Act Development

A proposed lot line adjustment constitutes a development under the Coastal Act of 1976, even though the proposal would not result in more parcels, the Second District Court of Appeals has ruled. The decision means the Coastal Commission has jurisdiction over the proposed lot line adjustment.

The unanimous three-judge appellate panel upheld the decision of Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David Yaffe, who compared a lot line adjustment to a lot split. "In either case, the reconfigurat...

Met Reorganizes, Slashes Expenses

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has embarked on a major reorganization and a series of cost-cutting measures, partly in response to cost overruns for the construction of Eastside Reservoir in Riverside County.

In July, MWD’s new general manager, Ronald Gastelum, unveiled the first phase of a series of organizational reforms, calling for $10 million in immediate cost savings and perhaps as much as $100 million in cost savings in the coming years.

Like the Calfed negotiations, ...

Judge Stalls SD Stadium Pending EIR Completion

Efforts to build a new ballpark for the San Diego Padres hit a snag when historic preservation advocates won a round in San Diego County Superior Court, potentially jeopardizing the project’s targeted completion date of February 2002.

Superior Court Judge Judith McConnell ordered the City of San Diego and its downtown redevelopment agency to halt eminent domain proceedings, land assembly and the awarding of a $50 million contract for infrastructure improvements until an environmental impact ...

Coastal Commission Alters UCSB Housing Plan

University of California, Santa Barbara, officials proposed building 200 dorm rooms a little too close to wetlands, the California Coastal Commission had decided. The commission approved the student housing but ordered the university to keep the planned construction at least 100 feet from a slough, coastal pools and other wetlands.

The decision requires a major redesign of the San Rafael housing addition and will delay the project by a year, according to Tye Simpson, UCSB director of physical and env...

Adult Businesses: Court Extends ‘Baby Tam’ Tp Permit Suspension Process

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled the City of San Diego’s method for suspending and revoking nude dancing licenses is unconstitutional because it allows an adult business to be closed down while the business appeals the city’s action.

The Ninth Circuit said adult businesses have the right to prompt judicial review of suspensions and revocations. The court also ruled businesses that engage in protected speech, such as nude dancing clubs, must be allowed to stay open until a ju...

Calfed Preferred Alternative Named; But Massive Report Postpones Peripheral Canal, Storage Issues

State and federal officials early this summer released a “draft preferred alternative” for the Calfed Bay-Delta Program, which officials inside the process contend will overhaul the plumbing system on which most California residents, farms and businesses rely.

Many observers outside the program, however, struggle to determine how significantly Calfed will alter water and land use policies. Although the full plan weighs in at 40 pounds, it is light on some crucial details that might have major implicat...

San Bernadino County Extends Its Influence Near Cities

San Bernardino County has adopted a policy that calls for the county to assume more control over land use in unincorporated areas within incorporated cities’ spheres of influence. The policy concerns leaders of many cities in San Bernardino County who fear the county may compete with cities for desirable development and approve substandard projects that cities eventually must serve.

The policy, which the Board of Supervisors adopted as a general plan amendment in June, is the latest in a se...

Schools Use SB 50 To Hike Impact Fees

A 1998 law that builders hoped would keep a lid on school impact fees is instead becoming a tool for some districts to charge far higher fees than builders envisioned.

The 1998 measure, known as SB 50, capped school fees at $1.93 per square foot. The Legislature passed SB 50 as part of a deal in which developers then agreed to support a $9.2 billion school facility bond on the November 1998 state ballot. Voters subsequently approved Proposition 1A. (See CP&DR June 1999.)

However, SB 50 al...

Voters Approve New L.A. Charter; Bay Area Projects, Ventura Redevlopment Defeated

Community empowerment appears to have been the overriding theme during June’s local elections. Los Angeles voters approved a new city charter that calls for area planning commissions, Pleasanton and Scotts Valley voters rejected separate city council-approved subdivisions, and Ventura voters defeated a redevelopment area backed by the City Council. Meanwhile, school bond proposals had mixed results, with bonds in Northern California generally doing better than those in Southern California.

Passage of ...

Housing Plasn Suits Retired Factory to A (Model) T


Thirty years after the start of the historic preservation movement, a debate has arisen in the preservation community on how best to save old buildings. Two camps have emerged: let’s call them the Authenticizers and the Pragmatists.

The Authenticizers are purists in preservation matters, and believe that buildings should be maintained, or returned, as closely as possible to their original condition and use. The Pragmatists, for their part, see ...

Envirnomentalists, Lockyer Say Valley Dairies Deserve Subsidy

Dairy expansions in the southern San Joaquin Valley have slowed after Attorney General Bill Lockyer submitted legal challenges and an environmental group filed lawsuits. Lockyer and environmentalists have forced local planning departments to examine their practices in approving dairies, and to begin preparing environmental impact reports.

"The issue seems to be focussing on cumulative impact," said Leonard

Garoupa, Madera County’s planning director.

Prior to Lockyer’s involvement and lawsuits fi...

Analysis: Del Monte Dunes Decision Isn’t Total Property-Rights Victory

Although they appeared to lose on the most basic issue, municipal and environmental lawyers are claiming victory in the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Del Monte Dunes case. They claim that government agencies dodged a bullet when the Supreme Court refused to extend the so-called Nollan/Dolan test to takings cases.

In Del Monte Dunes v. City of Monterey, 99 C.D.O.S. 3846, the Supreme Court granted property owners the right to a jury trial in some regulatory takings cases if they are broug...