The Fifth District Court of Appeal last week rejected an EIR on air quality grounds for a senior-oriented housing complex near Friant Dam.
The methodical, linguistically attentive opinion by Justice Donald R. Franson, Jr. toured three realms of environmental review: land, water and air. It turned down objections from environmental and community groups based in the law of land zoning and water impacts, leaning hard on some word definitions to do so. But when it examined the project's mitigation measures in the air, it found the EIR had failed to put foundations under them.
It's easier at this point in the legislative season to say which bills are dead than which ones have a chance. This is a quick rundown of bills we've been following, plus a few more. For descriptive notes on many of the bills' provisions see our prior discussion at http://www.cp-dr.com/node/3498 and as linked from there.
Below are a dozen picked results from June 3 local ballot measures affecting land use. Links are included here to more detailed county results pages. [Update 6/22/14: adding Measure AA on open space in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties and clarifying that the Lake County measure did not receive its required 2/3 vote.]
CP&DR News Summary, May 28, 2014: SGC grants, a new conservation bank, Costa Mesa claws back a clawback, and moreBy Martha Bridegam on 28 May 2014 - 10:40am
On May 23 the Strategic Growth Council announced recommendations for the $16 million in its third and last round of planning grants under Proposition 84. The 33 recommended awards go before the Council for approval June 3. See http://bit.ly/1lOYfO3.
Santa Barbara creates a land conservation bank
Ever since I moved to San Diego last year without owning a car, people have felt sorry for me. They offer me rides. They wonder where I buy groceries. They ask me how I feel about being nature-deprived. They ask me how I can stand to ride the bus.
I usually smile and nod and acknowledge what they are saying and tell them it really isn’t so bad. I rarely tell them that they are making a fundamental mistake: They are equating owning a car with using a car.
With the June 15 Constitutional budget deadline approaching, it's getting easier if not easy to pick state bills that have a chance this season. A few measures affecting land use and planning didn't survive the suspense file or were otherwise pulled. But a lot is still up in the air.
When a mobile home park's owner proposes to convert it from space rentals to resident ownership, a local agency must "consider" the results of a survey of resident support. Residents have never had the definite right to prevent conversion by a vote -- not even under the new SB 510, which allows (but does not require) local agencies to disapprove conversions based on lack of majority tenant support. But resident surveys do carry some weight. How much?
(This is a companion article to our report on San Jose's stormwater and encampment challenges at http://www.cp-dr.com/node/3495.)
Leslee Hamilton, executive director of the Guadalupe River Park Conservancy, says "The biggest challenge to me being successful in my job is the presence of homeless people."
Hamilton speaks glowingly of the Conservancy's programs in science and nature education, which reach about 4600 children a year. She says the program has a chance to inspire kids who have few other chances to study natural habitats. "Kids get off the bus here and their eyes get wide."
The big camp on Coyote Creek north of Story Road in San Jose is familiar to Sandy Perry and Pastor Scott Wagers, leaders of an activist ministry known as CHAM. But during the past couple of years they have been amazed to see people pour into the place from elsewhere in the city -- some of them evicted from an embarrassingly visible camp near the airport. What was a mere few tents now fills a broad open space on the creekside below Story Road and continues along the west bank of the creek. Tents are pitched every few yards, many in tiny courtyards fenced with sheets, tarps and pallets.
CP&DR News Summary, May 20, 2014: Cap & Trade for housing; new Salton Sea ruling; the Martin's Beach docket and moreBy Martha Bridegam on 20 May 2014 - 9:31am
The transit-focused housing proposal from Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, is being portrayed as the main state-level hope for new affordable housing funds this legislative season. Redevelopment is gone, Gov. Brown's proposed successor institutions to Redevelopment are weak on housing, bond funds for housing are running low, and the veterans' housing bond issue on the June ballot carves out a sympathetic subpopulation rather than address the whole need.
So that leaves Steinberg's proposal for the proceeds from state
[5/21/14: This article has been updated and corrected following further comments from Jack Liebster of Marin County.]
It wasn't on the epic scale of the Santa Monica Mountains fight, but the Coastal Commission heard passionate arguments about farmers' development rights for most of May 15 before approving a revised Marin County land use plan.
The traditional May Revisions to Gov. Jerry Brown's budget proposal offer a big financing possibility for Infrastructure Financing Districts (IFDs), but relatively shallow support for efforts to finance and protect housing specifically.
The Coastal Commission meets at the Inverness Yacht Club in Marin County starting May 14. The full agenda includes four revisions to Local Coastal Programs (LCPs).
If you think browsing court records in public policy lawsuits is a sensible use of time -- and since you're reading this publication, you may -- here's a warning that, if you don't work in California or federal government, the best time to read court documents in Sacramento Superior Court is before July 1. On that date, unless local court officials relent, online case records will become expensively paywalled.
Opponents of San Francisco's tech bus shuttle program filed May 1 for court review of the county Supervisors' decision to exempt it from CEQA review. The double-decker buses, which carry city residents to jobs on South Bay office campuses, pay the city a dollar every time a bus makes a stop. Opponents say the buses disrupt public transit but, more important, that they cause displacement by driving up housing prices along the bus routes. While the buses do reduce car trips to the campuses, they have been viewed as both a mitigation and a condition to mitigate.