Court looks to residents' wishes in pre-2014 mobile park conversions

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?

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Guadalupe River Park: kids' programs and salmon vs. encampments

(This is a companion article to our report on San Jose's stormwater and encampment challenges at

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."

Hydraulics of homelessness: stormwater challenges are linked to encampments in San Jose

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 more

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

Coastal Commission approves land use plan for Marin LCP update -- but with unfinished business

[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.

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Governor's May Revisions move some on IFD choices, not much on housing

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.

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CP&DR News Summary, May 13, 2014: Coastal Commission, TRPA, LA stormwater

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).

Why to read that Sacramento County court file soonest

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.

CP&DR News Summary, May 6, 2014: Tech bus CEQA appeal, ballot measures and more

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.

Legislative high season bill tracking report

As the California Legislature moves into spring horse-trading season, here's a review in links of some state-level legislation we're following that's relevant to land use, housing and the environment. In addition to the links provided here, the "Bill Information" section at has status updates and texts for all bills and helpful legislative analyses for most.

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Fitch announces improved outlook on ex-Redevelopment bonds

The Fitch Ratings service on May 1 announced it was ready to take a sunnier view of tax allocation bonds (TABs) administered by successor agencies in California's redevelopment dissolution. The changed view could affect both the sale prices of existing bonds and the interest rates available to successor agencies when they refinance their existing debt with refunding bonds.

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CP&DR News Summary, April 29, 2014: With SF ruling confirmed, local plastic bag bans may have Sept. 1 deadline

California city councils may be in a short time window when it's to their advantage to pass local bans on plastic bags. They became more safely able to do so as of April 16 when the state Supreme Court declined to review the ruling by California's First District that upheld San Francisco's ban on plastic bags last winter. That decision was ordered published in January. At the other end of their time window is a deadline that could be imposed if the Legislature passes SB 270, proposed by State Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Pacoima.

Post-Redevelopment Legislation Seeks Direction

The California Legislature's post-Redevelopment landscape is in a state of crumble and tentative growth. Like sprouts on a redwood stump, bills have crowded the space left by the 2011 abolition of local redevelopment districts and their tax-increment financing structures. The sprouts have begun variously to strengthen, clump together, or falter, but with little coherence: some of the most vigorous stems are tending in different, possibly incompatible directions. It's uncertain which if any will become new main trunks.

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How Will Demography Drive California’s Destiny From Now On?

How Will Demography Drive California’s Destiny From Now On?

Demography drives destiny, the old saying goes. And in the past few months, we’ve gotten a couple of pieces of important demographic news that are likely to help shape the future of California – if we can understand what they mean.

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Brentwood files appeal on ruling that upheld post-redevelopment clawback

As expected, the city of Brentwood has appealed a major April 2 Sacramento County Superior Court ruling that upheld a "clawback" of former redevelopment agency funds by the state Department of Finance (DOF). It's uncertain how much tax money statewide could be affected by the decision; state officials have said $3 billion or more.

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