In an outcome more helpful to residential than institutional customers, the Public Utilities Commission has interpreted the AB 327 solar legislation of 2013 to grant a 20-year extension of the current Net Energy Metering (NEM) payback deal for solar panel owners who send energy back into the grid.
An academic study that gauges sprawl in cities nationwide has placed San Francisco very high in its compactness rankings ─ one alternate standard, buried deep in the report, actually ranks it first. It also rates Los Angeles above a surprising number of other cities, considering it's stereotyped as suffering from low-rise growth.
CP&DR News Summary, April 8, 2014: SF legalizes in-law units, eminent domain upheld for new Kings arena, and moreBy Martha Bridegam on 8 April 2014 - 2:15am
As Phil Frank's "Farley" cartoon said years ago, "If in-laws are outlawed, only outlaws will have in-laws!" Phil Frank didn't live to see it, but the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has
National and local writers have been all over the San Francisco Supervisors' April 1 decision to grant a Class 6 categorical exemption from CEQA to a pilot program for tech industry commuter shuttles, so instead of retelling the whole saga here we've gathered some links to CEQA and policy aspects of the story:
The city's pilot program has been allowing the "Google Bus" and other tech industry shuttles to pick up and drop off employees at public bus stops in exchange for a payment to the city of $1 every time a bus makes a stop.
An appellate court has upheld a CEQA exemption for the 2011 deputy sheriffs' charity rodeo at the Santa Cruz County fairgrounds in Watsonville. Although it was the first rodeo held there in a generation, the court held a categorical exemption was proper for the event on the grounds that, environmentally speaking, the rodeo was much a "normal operation" as any other livestock or equestrian event at that venue.
CP&DR News Summary, April 1, 2014: expanding Clean Water Act's application; bills that could save Jurupa Valley's incorporationBy Martha Bridegam on 1 April 2014 - 9:34am
A rule proposed March 25 by the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers could broaden the definition of "waters of the United States" subject to Clean Water Act regulation. Among much else, that could expand the areas where developers need Section 404 permits from the Corps to go forward, in a parallel permitting process in addition to local government.
A challenge by dissident conservationists to the Lake Tahoe Regional Plan Update is in the hands of U.S. Judge John A. Mendez following oral arguments in Sacramento March 26.
The arguments put a bookend to a fierce, prolonged exchange of court papers heavy with mutual exasperation, between parties who may disagree more utterly than most.
CP&DR News Summary, March 25, 2014: Newhall Ranch wins a few, water board eases flow a little, and moreBy CP&DR Staff on 25 March 2014 - 11:42am
The proposed 60,000-population Newhall Ranch development began a recent winning streak with an LA Superior Court ruling Jan. 31 on water supply adequacy and greenouse gases in the project's Phase 1 EIR – as reported in a Santa Clarita Valley Signal news story whose comments section reflects fierce local debate: http://www.signalscv.com/section/36/article/113952/.
We’re pretty sure at this point that the California Environmental Quality Act does not apply to itself. (www.cp-dr.com/node/3395). But we’re still not quite sure whether CEQA applies “in reverse.” Does it require developers to consider not just their projects' effects on the environment, but also the potential effects on their projects from environmental hazards like landslides, earthquakes, or rising sea levels?
A generation ago, moratoriums on new water hookups were important to the statewide land use picture in bad drought years. During 1991, new hookups were banned in some large southern and coastal California cities and all of Marin County. Santa Monica made developers mitigate new hookups by buying low-flush toilets for existing users. The Metropolitan Water District suspended annexations.
Not so in 2014.
With $1.54 billion already spent on California carbon emission rights, debate continues on whether the state's cap-and-trade auction process is valid and what the auction proceeds are for.
[This item has been updated with CDPH comment.]
Officials of Healdsburg and at least three smaller water districts have been trying to shed unwanted status as poster children for the California drought.
In a January 28 press release at http://www.cdph.ca.gov/Pages/NR14-012.aspx, the Department of Public Health issued a list of 17 communities that it said were at risk for running out of drinking water. Since then, Healdsburg City Manager Marjie Pettus has been insisting she doesn't know why.
In a pair of decisions March 5, the Sacramento County Superior Court's Judge Timothy Frawley invalidated parts of the EIR that has been allowing the Kern Water Bank, a major groundwater reserve near Bakersfield, to function under its current legal framework. The water bank's physical operations and environmental safeguards were at issue, against a background that includes conservationists' criticism of influence in the bank's governance by entities associated with food and farming investor Stewart Resnick.
A Saudi prince's Los Angeles family compound plan in Benedict Canyon has won an appellate court's order clearing the way for a grading permit across a large hillside area, even though the sponsors did not file a tract map.
Writing for a unanimous three-judge panel of the Second District Court of Appeal, Justice Victoria Gerrard Chaney upheld the trial court's order, which found no tract map is required where the land in question will not be subdivided.
In a dispute between tenacious neighbors in Del Mar, the Fourth Appellate District upheld a variance for plans to tear down and rebuild a house at its existing distance from the street although it did not meet a local 20-foot front yard setback requirement. The court said property owner Jon Scurlock's right to seek a variance for his "complete remodel" was independent of the old building's existing nonconformity, and it found substantial evidence for local officials' decision that granting the variance would be fairest to the property owner while serving local planning goals.