Chula Vista Bayfront Plan Shows Power of Consensus-Building

Early one Sunday morning in early February, the South Bay Power Plant in Chula Vista – a fixture on San Diego Bay for decades – was blown up. But it wasn’t because terrorists had targeted the plant.

CP&DR News Summary, May 28, 2013: Will Hollywood's Millenium Towers Fall?

Is 55 stories too high for a building in Hollywood? Neighbors think so -- especially when it will dwarf the iconic Capitol Records building next door. Opponents recently circulated an online petition called “Stop the Millennium Hollywood Project”, which calls for the project to be modified “to a reasonable scale”.

Eric Garcetti's Moment

So, we all woke up this morning to the news that Eric Garcetti – longtime city council president, councilmember from Hollywood, and son of former L.A. District Attorney Gil Garcetti – will almost certainly be the next mayor of Los Angeles. What does this mean for planning and development in L.A.? 

The Fiscal Case For Smart Growth


After eight years in elected office in California, I can tell you that I often fell into the same trap as everybody else: chasing revenue. When you’re up against the wall on budget problems, any new revenue – especially a boost in property or sales tax revenue – looks like the solution to all your problems.

As Usual, California Density Goes Its Own Way -- Up!

Well, California's at it again -- going in a different direction than the rest of the country.
The Census Bureau recently released a new report showed that -- by at least one measure -- the nation's overall population density dropped by 6% between 2000 and 2010. But by this same measure, the population density of most California metro areas -- where almost 90% of Californians live -- is going up. And density's going up faster in the smaller counties. What gives?

CP&DR News Summary, May 14, 2013: Is Union Station Ready For That Closeup, Mr. DeMille?

Preliminary plans were recently revealed  Los Angeles's 77-year old union station modernization project. The plans (including four design concepts) focus on the integration of the stateís High Speed Rail system with the cityís historic transit hub. Additionally, the improvements aim to enhance the passenger experience by adding restaurants and retail, centralizing alternate terminals and improving connectivity and accessibility to its surrounding neighborhoods.

Pot Is Out -- If That's What Cities Want

Yesterday’s California Supreme Court ruling on medical marijuana dispensaries put a longstanding legal dispute to rest and gave cities the green light to zone out such establishments.

Apartments: The New California Dream

It’s official: Apartments are the new California dream. At least for now.

The Department of Finance’s Demographic Research Unit reports that multi-family construction outstripped single-family construction over the past two years – not by much, but it did happen.

Beware the 'Density Cult'

I love a Parisian stroll as much as the next guy does, but I have friends in the planning community who make me look like Robert Moses. They ride fixies. They build parklets. They live in lofts. They go on urban hikes. Some don’t own cars—in Los Angeles. And I have never heard one of them say, “man, I really wish L.A. was more like Bangladesh.”

CP&DR News Summary, April 30, 2013: Farmers Drop High-Speed Rail Lawsuit

Less than a day before trial, the California High-Speed Rail Authority and Madera/Fresno farming organizations announced they had reached a settlement -- dissolving the last legal challenge to the first segment of California’s HSR. According to Anja Raudabaugh, executive director of the Madera Farm Bureau, the rail authority offered significant concessions including increased mitigation for agricultural impacts and compensation for landowners who are affected by the project.

Obama Selects A Mayor For DOT Secretary -- But Not Villaraigosa

As expected, President Obama has picked a mayor to succeed Ray LaHood as Secretary of Transportation. But it’s not Los Angeles’s Antonio Villaraigosa. It’s Anthony Foxx, the mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Jerry's Done With CEQA Reform, But Darrell Isn't

Jerry Brown may have given up on CEQA reform this year, but Darrell Steinberg has not.

The Senate leader released details of his proposed reform of the California Environmental Quality Act yesterday. It’s not sweeping reform. Rather, it contains a series of incremental changes designed to speed projects along. These include statewide significance treshholds on some topics including traffic; some reforms to CEQA litigation procedures; and $30 million in annual funding to the Strategic Growth Council to continue providing statewide planning grants.

Hysteria Over California's Decline Reaches New Heights

Among some conservative circles, it’s become fashionable to say that liberals “hate America” any time Democrats try to do, well, anything.

Redondo Beach Voters Decline to Phase Out Power Plant

After a bruising campaign that saw energy company AES spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, Redondo Beach voters have rejected a local ballot initiative that would have rezoned AES’s beachfront power plant to parks and commercial uses.

AES still must receive California Energy Commission approval to rebuild the plant, which must stop using ocean water to cool its steam turbines no later than 2020. Defeat of Measure A, however, makes CEC approval of continuing power plant operations more likely.

Judge Upholds High-Speed Rail EIR Against Peninsula Cities’ Challenge

A Sacramento Superior Court judge has – for the second time – ruled against three Peninsula cities who filed suit against the High-Speed Rail Authority under the California Environmental Quality Act.