The Morris Files: Announcing the Cal Planning Rol-Arena ®

HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL MEMO TO THE EDITOR OF CALIFORNIA PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT REPORT. WARNING: DON’T NOBODY ELSE READ THIS. STRICTLY “ENTRE NOUS.” STAY OUT! 

Dear Colleague:

Something has happened to the American sports venue. Despite their great cost, stadiums and arenas  have become as disposable as the paper wrapper on yesterday’s tater tots.

Environmental Group Can Sue Over San Jose General Plan EIR

In a new opinion, the Sixth District Court of Appeal has unraveled a confusing set of events surrounding the certification of the environmental impact report for San Jose’s new general plan, concluding that an environmental group exhausted all administrative remedies and can sue over the EIR.

The California Clean Energy Committee sued over the certification of the EIR, saying that it should not be penalized because of the confusing way San Jose certified the EIR. The Sixth District agreed.

Napa Not Required To Do New EIR On Housing Element

The First District Court of Appeal has upheld the City of Napa’s decision to rely on its 1998 general plan environmental impact report in adopting its 2009 housing element.

Latinos Unidos De Napa sued the city, claiming a new environmental impact report should have been prepared for the housing element. But the First District disagreed, essentially concluding that the land use changes contained in the housing element were so minor that they did not trigger the need for a new EIR.

Still Waiting for Redevelopment 2.0

Two years ago, when Redevelopment 1.0 ended, it was widely viewed as the end of an era – but maybe not the end of redevelopment. Maybe it would no longer be possible to use tax-increment financing to solve all urban development and infrastructure problems. But surely a new set of techniques would emerge, either as a result of state law (after all, Gov. Jerry Brown promised a replacement) or because local officials and developers would get creative. Redevelopment 2.0 might not be as powerful, but something good would come along.

We’re still waiting.

Fresno Negotiations With Neighbors About How to Grow

Fresno, the largest city in the Central Valley, is going to keep growing. The question is, in which direction? 

City leaders who are dealing with issues of leapfrog development, declining neighborhoods and strained city services, would like to keep growth inside city limits as infill projects – as the city’s recently adopted general plan suggests.  

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Smart Growth Literature Hits a Cul-du-Sac

Where is Robert Bruegemann when you need him?

A few years back, Bruegmann wrote Sprawl: A Compact History, an exaltation of low-density growth. It called for cities to double-down on all the conventions and mistakes of the previous 50 years. It was a disturbingly anachronistic, but it was provocative, and it was passionate.

It seems that these days there's still plenty of in urbanist literature, but, for better or worse, provocation is getting harder to come by.

Secure the Terminal, Secure the City

This week the Huffington Post ran a concerning piece about the recent shooting at Los Angeles International Airport.

Brown Issues Draft Environmental Goals and Policies Report

After a 30-odd-year delay, the Governor’s Office of Planning & Research has released a working draft of the Environmental Goals & Policies Report – a document that OPR is supposed to produce every four years.

Steve Jobs' Ring of Saturn

A couple of weeks ago, the Cupertino City Council approved the long-awaited, 3.2-million-square-foot Apple Campus 2. Approval means that the building, notable for its purely circular footprint, is to arise on an open field north of Interstate 280, with completion expected in about two years. Designed by architectural luminary Sir Norman Foster, the main office building is notable for a purely circular footprint. Both Apple and the architect suggest that the horizontally oriented, four-story building will be gentler on Gaia than a tall building.

Inclusionary Housing Must Be Litigated As Exaction, Cal Supremes Rule

The California Supreme Court has ruled that an inclusionary housing requirement is an exaction rather than a land use regulation – a distinction that means inclusionary housing could be judged by the same nexus and proportionality requirements as other exactions.

Big Changes Ahead: OPR to revise both General Plan and CEQA Guidelines

California’s Office of Planning & Research appears likely to make a major impact this year by revising the General Plan Guidelines and pushing the envelope on the California Environmental Quality Act in a way that hasn’t been seem for a decade or more.

Steinberg Manages Some CEQA Reform After All

So, what did Sen. Darrell Steinberg’s last-minute switcheroo mean for CEQA reform? More than you might think.

Insight: Kill CEQA Before I Use It Again

In the pantheon of developer complaints about the California Environmental Quality Act, perhaps the most common one is that it’s too easy to use it to file crazy lawsuits purely for the purposes of gumming up the works.

Which is maybe why the building industry and property rights advocates have spent so much time lately filing CEQA lawsuits apparently designed to gum up the works.

New CEQA Reform Amendments Could Require Socioeconomic Analysis on Infill

Will CEQA ever give infill development a break?

SB 731 – now pending in the Assembly – is intended to do just that. But in the latest twist in an increasingly long-running tale, the bill has now been amended in a way that could push CEQA significantly in the direction of assessing the socioeconomic impact of infill development.

New CEQA Reform Amendments Could Require Socioeconomic Analysis on Infill

Will CEQA ever give infill development a break?

SB 731 – now pending in the Assembly – is intended to do just that. But in the latest twist in an increasingly long-running tale, the bill has now been amended in a way that could push CEQA significantly in the direction of assessing the socioeconomic impact of infill development.