CP&DR News Summary, June 25, 2014: WalkUPs, rail hubs, General Plans and more

"Walkable urban places" or "WalkUPs" became an instant buzz word with the release in June of a new report by LOCUS, the real estate development and investor advocacy organization of Smart Growth America. As discussed on the CityLab (formerly Atlantic Cities) site at http://bit.ly/T7maRu, the report said 558 WalkUPs exist in the 30 largest U.S. metro areas.

Ninth Circuit overturns LA city vehicle habitation ordinance

Citing to sweeping, venerable core case law on the civil rights of individuals in public places, the Ninth Circuit on June 19 overturned Los Angeles' Municipal Code Sec. 85.02 statute against use of vehicles for habitation.

AB 1521 would fund services for annexations

    A companion measure to SB 69 is making its way through the State Legislature to help cities that, like Jurupa Valley, were hit by the 2011 budget cuts just when they had agreed to serve new areas, though with respect to annexations rather than incorporations.

Public finance lifeline may be forming for new towns like Jurupa Valley

    California's youngest city, which has fought for survival since its formation, is still in critical condition, but lately there are signs it has moved off life support.

Insight: Will SGC money pay for planning or implementation?

Last Friday in San Diego, Gov. Jerry Brown signed the first cap-and-trade appropriation bill as part of the state budget. This means that the Strategic Growth Council will now have $130 million to dole out next year for smart growth planning and related activities – many times more than ever before – and that number is expected to grow rapidly in the years ahead.

Commission approves West Oakland Specific Plan in angry meeting

Amid a dramatic show of organized public anger, Oakland Planning Commission approved the West Oakland Specific Plan on June 11. City staff, principally planner Ed Manasse, set out the plan's provisions for transit-oriented development, denser use of underused and blighted lots, separation of housing from heavy industry, concessions to second units and home businesses, and more specifically categorized rezoning -- amid shouted objections and boos from a crowd who had marched to the meeting in a protest demonstration.

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CP&DR News Summary, June 17, 2014: Coastal Commission highlights -- Huntington Beach 'Ridge' project withdrawn; Garcia can't be both Commissioner and Mayor of Long Beach; 'the issue of 'substantial issue' ' is an issue

Based on archaeological findings, Native American heritage claims, a "Deny the Ridge" campaign and broad public objections, the Coastal Commission on June 12 discouraged property owner Signal Landmark into withdrawing its "Ridge Project" proposal to build 22 houses on Bolsa Chica Mesa in Huntington Beach. With the Commission leaning toward a "no" vote on the Land Use Plan revision needed for the project, Signal Landmark withdrew its project application, meaning any future construction plan for the site must start again with the local city council.

Budget's cap-and-trade negotiation yields compromise for housing, planning, transit

[Updated 6/17/14 from earlier postings since 6/13/14]

[Corrected 6/18/14, 6/23/14]

The on-time budget bill sent to Governor Brown on Sunday, June 15 contains a deal for use of cap-and-trade proceeds with the high-speed rail funding the Governor wanted and more housing and sustainability money than there might have been.

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San Francisco, San Diego votes shaped waterfronts' futures in June election

    Waterfronts constitute the defining features of the cities of San Francisco and San Diego. With the futures of these crucial landscapes at issue, voters in both cities weighed in on planning-related ballot measures in the June 3 election.

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CP&DR News Summary, June 10, 2014: Waiting for a budget deal; local plans, projects and sports venues; Coastal Commission preview

A budget deal was reportedly nearing as of Monday night, with the Senate's Darrell Steinberg and the Assembly's Toni Atkins talking optimistically but not too specificially. See http://www.capradio.org/articles/2014/06/09/budget-deal-nears-at-the-cap.... No clear sign where cap-and-trade proceeds fit into that mix, but the data points include an extended lobbying press conference given June 6 by LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and senior legislators, including Steinberg and his expected successor to the State Senate presidency, Kevin De León.

Court accepts proponent's economic evidence to approve full-scale landfill expansion

The California First District has issued a publication order for its April opinion allowing a 167-acre Potrero Hills Landfill expansion to go forward on the grounds that a reduced alternative was not "economically feasible." In SPRAWLDEF v. San Francisco Bay Conservation & Development Commission, the appeals court overruled a Solano County judge to find local agencies properly approved the full-scale project.

Cal Supreme Court considers how soon the initiative process shuts out CEQA

California's Supreme Court heard oral arguments May 28 in Tuolumne Jobs & Small Business Alliance v. Superior Court, preparing to resolve a split between state appellate courts on when a developer's use of the ballot initiative petition process has demonstrated sufficient voter suport to substitute for CEQA review.

The case most directly concerns a proposed Wal-Mart expansion in the Tuolumne County town of Sonora. The outcome could have statewide effects on a tactic allegedly used by Wal-Mart in several towns: qualifying a ballot measure for a costly special election as a way to pressure local officials into approving projects.

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CP&DR News Summary, June 4, 2014: Clearlake General Plan revision; a GHG quandary, "Landbridge" woes, romancing Tesla, and more

Clearlake posts General Plan revision for review

The draft EIR to update Clearlake's 1983 General Plan is up for review. Prepared by a team at Cal Poly, the draft runs to almost 500 pages. A local news report at http://bit.ly/1kkSbRP describes the plan as preparing for population growth from the present through 2040. The plan also seeks to "Protect the City's rural character and maintain the small town atmosphere."

Another CEQA ruling slaps down hand-waving in mitigation promises

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.

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Legislative summary, June 3

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.