SB 743 at CCAPA: Will Roadway Expansion Be Transformed From Mitigation To Impact?

The SB 743 roadshow went to Anaheim over the weekend, where the Governor’s Office of Planning & Research – along with Ron Milam from Fehr & Peers – faced an overflow crowd and probed deeply into OPR’s proposal to dump traffic congestion as a significant impact under the California Environmental Quality Act. And the discussion showed just how much the OPR proposal is turning the CEQA’s traditional assumptions about traffic on their head.

End of Redevelopment: Nobody's A Winner

The end of redevelopment has never turned into a cash cow for the state, as Gov. Jerry Brown hoped back in 2011. And while the 2012 cleanup law – AB 1484 – has clarified the rules, cities are still losing most lawsuits against the state that seek to retain former redevelopment funds.

Livetweeting APA California

This week CP&DR is livetweeting the APA California conference in Anaheim.  You can read first impressions from the panels at http:// (No need to have a Twitter account: just close any pop-up windows at the site and keep reading.) We'll have more detailed coverage here later on based on news picked up at the conference.

The Dark Side of Environmental Quality

You think this is going to be another piece about the shortcomings and backfires of the California Environmental Quality Act. It’s not.

Appellate Court Upholds Coastal Commission's Tough Stance on Encinitas Seawall

In a split decision, the Fourth District Court of Appeal has upheld the Coastal Commission’s conditions on two property owners’ reconstruction of a seawall in Encinitas after it was destroyed in a storm, including limiting the new seawall’s permit to a 20-year term.

OPR Indicates VMT Guidance Will Trump General Plan Standards

The proposed CEQA Guidelines prohibiting lead agencies from categorizing traffic congestion as a significant impact will likely trump any significance finding tied to local general plans that contain a level of service standard, state officials said at a forum on the draft guidelines Friday in San Diego.

Environmental justice and housing worlds seek meeting of minds on defining disadvantage

Advocates for affordable housing and advocates for environmental justice have a lot in common, but their goals and assumptions don't always mesh fully. Now the new cap-and-trade law is forcing them to have a more serious conversation. They're especially having to work out grantmaking guidelines under the new Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) program. It isn't easy. (For prior coverage of the AHSC guidelines debate see

Some of the difficulty was on display at a September 3 workshop in Oakland, held to discuss CalEPA's proposals on how to define "disadvantaged communities" under all of the cap-and-trade programs regulated by SB 535, and related proposals from the Air Resources Board (ARB) on how to define when such communities receive benefits. With comment on these proposals due September 15, the conversations in small-group discussions at the workshop had a note of urgency.

CP&DR News Summary, September 10, 2014: Is SB 628 too much like redevelopment or not enough? Signing decisions, debate points, water dilemmas, studies and more

For some affordable-housing activists and local governments, SB 628, the end-of-session bill expressing Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal for Enhanced Infrastructure Finance Districts, isn't similar enough to the way redevelopment programs worked when they were shut down as of 2011. (See last week's detailed coverage at But columnist Steven Greenhut in the San Diego Union-Tribune greeted SB 628 by asking, "Redevelopment: Back with a vengeance?"

Legal news briefs: mobile home parks, ADA parking access, and more

The partnership that owns a mobile home park in Fillmore, California received a Ninth Circuit determination September 2 that it has standing to sue the city over "interference" with its application to subdivide the park.

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Court rejects Fresno approvals on procedural grounds but accepts 'historic resource' decision

A developer proposing to replace two century-old houses in Fresno with 28 new two-story townhouses lost its appeal of a CEQA writ of mandate but won significant points from the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Citizens for the Restoration of L Street v. City of Fresno.

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November ballot measure previews: Pismo Beach, Costa Mesa, El Dorado County

Pismo Beach: Price Canyon planning

Residents of Pismo Beach will vote in November on a measure that will give them more say in development decisions involving a large swath of land that few visitors to the city ever see. It's located inland in Price Canyon, behind the coastal Santa Lucia Mountains that flank the city.

CP&DR News Summary, September 2, 2014: Legislative end-of-session highlights

The California legislative session ended this Labor Day weekend. Now it's all about the Governor's signing decisions. We'll have more on end-of-session legislative outcomes as the news shakes out but here are some preliminary items:

SB 270 plastic bag law goes to Governor

The AB 270 ban on single-use plastic bags had a tough time during the Legislature's final week but made it through after all.

Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts legislation passes in SB 628

It looks like Governor Jerry Brown’s vision for Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts will become law. Meanwhile, a minor revival of redevelopment has also reached the Governor’s desk but Brown appears likely to veto it.

CP&DR News Summary, August 27, 2014: Workshops conclude next week on disadvantaged community definitions; Oakland's Coliseum Specific Plan posted; Legislative and legal developments

The Air Resources Board held workshops August 25 and 26, and rescheduled a third for Oakland on September 3, on how to define "benefit" to a "disadvantaged community" for purposes of programs distributing cap-and-trade auction proceeds. The discussion will include efforts at a formal answer to one of the most important urban planning questions of the past half-century: when does money spent in a place that is defined as disadvantaged actually benefit disadvantaged people?

LOS to VMT: the arguments have begun

It can sound like a simple step, to end Level of Service (LOS) metrics in CEQA transportation analysis. The more conceptually elegant Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) metric is easy to welcome in the abstract, with its incentives for shared and active transportation, its arguably simpler calculation methods, its potential to realign CEQA analysis with state climate protection law – and most of all, its escape from the addictive spiral of induced demand for broad, free-flowing highways that, under the logic of LOS analysis, always need widening again.

But in early August the Governor's Office of Planning and Research (OPR) published a detailed discussion draft setting out an alternative transportation impacts metric in compliance with last year's SB 743 mandate. And alongside the big-picture discussions of environmentally conscious innovation, the technical arguments began.