Headline Story

Bill to Delay Implementation of SB 743 Gains Traction

A developers’ group is promoting a new piece of legislation that would postpone implementation of SB 743 – the bill that would change traffic analysis to vehicle miles traveled in environmental review – for a year. The bill has apparently revealed a split among developers who say they focus on infill projects.

Sponsored by Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Norwalk), who was elected in November, Assembly Bill 779 would postpone implementation of SB 743 until 2017. A lobbying group called the Infill Builders Federation is sponsoring a bill that, depending on its final form, would postpone the implementation of SB 743. Supporters insist that they embrace VMT but say that the two years are needed to help developers prepare for the switch and to work out what they see as kinks in the law. (The City of Pasadena has already implemented most of the provisions of SB 743.)

»   Please Login or Subscribe to view this article.

Homeless Case May Move Forward on Equal Protection Grounds

A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the City of Sacramento’s ban on camping in public parks – and allowing only limited camping on private property -- may move forward because the plaintiffs have stated a valid equal protection argument, the Third District Court of Appeal has ruled.

In response to concerns about the homeless, Sacramento adopted an ordinance banning camping on public property and in public parks and permitting camping on private property for only one consecutive night. In 2009, the city cracked down on a group of homeless people who were camping in a fenced lot on private property with the property owner’s permission. Several times in September of 2009, the homeless people were arrested and their belongings were seized even though they were camping on private property. 

»   Please Login or Subscribe to view this article.

CP&DR News Briefs, February 15, 2015: S.D. Fights $271 Million Stadium 'Claw-Back;' Sacramento Arena EIR Questioned; Bill Would Streamline CEQA; S.F. Street Trees; and More

The demise of redevelopment may leave the city of San Diego with a monstrous bill: $271 million to cover the development of its downtown stadium, Petco Park. When the stadium’s financing plan was approved in 1998, general obligation bond funds were to be routed through the Center City Development Corp., one of the city’s redevelopment agencies.

CP&DR News Briefs, February 9, 2015: California's Share of Obama Budget; Transbay Mello-Roos Protests; SLO Quarry; and More

President Obama’s proposed 2016 budget, announced last week, includes several nods to development and transportation in California to the tune of over $1 billion.

Cities Hustle for $120 Million in Funding from SGC

LOS ANGELES--State-level policymakers have engaged in more than their share of debates over the future of smart grown in California this year. They've debated level of service vs. vehicle miles traveled. They've debated the neediness and definition of disadvantaged communities. They've clamored for cap-and-trade funds. They've tried to reform CEQA and get rid of CEQA (well, not quite). 

Oakland A's to San Jose: It Was Just One of Those Things

The following is a fictitious letter written, by the magic of anthropomorphosis and creative license, by the Oakland A’s baseball team to the City of San Jose. It stands to reason that any statement attributed to these entities is fictitious. Only the facts are real.


My dearest San Jose,

Federal Policies and Land Use Laws of 2015

Last week's UCLA Extension Land Use Law and Planning Conference included a session on updates from the faraway land of Washington, D.C. Federal policymakers ended the year with a few new developments, and continued policies, that may be of interest to planners. This summary comes courtesy of Steven Preston, planning director for the City of San Gabriel, who collaborated with staff members at the American Planning Association's Washington office. 

Pending Issues

An Underwhelming Attitude Towards Density

Consider this headline, which accompanied a recent Citylab article on a townhouse development in Echo Park: “In Los Angeles, Density That Doesn't Overwhelm.” It doesn’t take much to unpack that statement. It implies that density is inherently overwhelming.

Greatest Hits of 2014 Land Use Law, Pt. 1: CEQA

UCLA Extension convened its annual Land Use Law and Planning Conference last week in Los Angeles.

California Engages in Mature Debate Over Spending of Cap-and-Trade Funds

As the inane “debate” over climate change drags on in the more benighted corners of our republic (Washington, D.C., included), it’s becoming abundantly clear that California is no longer the place where America’s fruits, nuts, and loose ends come to rest. I’ve been on the periphery of the stateside discussion of SB 375 for the past two years, so I know that it’s not news to say that there have been many earnest, productive discussions about it across the state.

Parallel Newhall Ranch Cases: the CA Supreme Court Won't Decide Them All

In addition to the state Supreme Court dispute on the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's action, three other Newhall Ranch cases continue in litigation, all brought by plaintiffs and attorneys overlapping with the group before the high court. (See http://www.cp-dr.com/node/3461 for more links on these cases.)

»   Please Login or Subscribe to view this article.

California's Supreme Court About to Consider One Strand of the Newhall Ranch Tangle

The Newhall Ranch environmental review litigation, itself a mighty matter of land use legend, has an important strand of its multiply braided conflicts awaiting an oral argument date before the state Supreme Court. 

The parties' briefing is complete. The court has accepted a deep layer of amicus briefs from state-level land use players. And with the confirmation of Justice Leondra Kruger, the court has finally returned to full membership. So the court has little reason to delay setting an argument date.

»   Please Login or Subscribe to view this article.

CPD&R News Briefs, January 26, 2015: Infrastructure Districts; Ontario Airport Squabble; S.D.'s $3.9 Billion Problem; and more

In the latest step towards an alternative to redevelopment in Los Angeles, city officials are considering the creation of an “infrastructure district” to fund a $1 billion revitalization plan for the Los Angeles River.

Smart Growth Advocates in Fresno Have a General Plan -- If They Can Keep It

The 2035 Fresno General Plan adopted by the City Council on December 18 puts the city's foot down on sprawl. Supporters see the approval as a major victory for Smart Growth principles, though it had critics on left and right.

A strong center/left coalition joined Mayor Ashley Swearengin in backing the plan, However, environmental justice and equity activists asked how strongly the plan would limit suburban expansion and who would benefit from infill development. They sought policies for affordable housing and against displacement, and attention to industrial polluters such as the notorious Darling International rendering plant southwest of downtown. 

Meanwhile, local developers and small-government advocates questioned whether the plan would curtail property rights or lifestyle choices, and asked if people accustomed to suburban densities and private auto use would remain in Fresno if it meant accepting denser housing, especially in the stigmatized downtown area. Tea Party-oriented opponents recoiled at federal funding for projects such as bus rapid transit (BRT).

»   Please Login or Subscribe to view this article.

SGC Approves Cap-And-Trade Program On Fast Track

The Strategic Growth Council on Tuesday unanimously approved the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities program – the program that will distribute tens of millions of dollars in cap-and-trade funds – with only one minor amendment.

The program now kicks into high gear, with six workshops in a row next week and prospective applicants required to submit “concept proposals” by February 19th.

New Rule on Wireless Towers May Frustrate Cities, Planners

Among all of California’s non-native tree species, one in particular may experience a growth spurt in the coming years. It’s not the fan palm or the eucalyptus but rather the cell-phone pine and its incongruous cousin, the cell-phone palm. A new rule, established in 2012 by the Federal Communications Commission and recently updated, might mean taller palms, bigger pines, and more prominent towers for cities that are caught flat-footed – even if they don’t the like the way the cell towers are disguised.

»   Please Login or Subscribe to view this article.