With the demise of redevelopment in California, one idea put forth -- by me, among others -- is using publicly owned land as equity in a real estate deal as a way of subsidizing it. If you can’t “write down” private land (selling it to a developer for less than your bought it), maybe you should look at real estate assets your city – or some other public agency – already owns.
Here's CP&DR's roundup of recent events around the state regarding the redevelopment wind-down. Just click on the headline to read more -- sometimes from us, sometimes from other sources.
West Sac Passes Controller's Redevelopment Test; Hercules Still Struggling With Aftermath of Scandal18 November 2012 - 11:09am
West Sacramento has become the first city to emerge unscathed from a redevelopment audit by the State Controller’s Office. Meanwhile, the Bay Area city of Hercules finds its asset transfers caught in the crossfire of a variety of other problems, including alleged long-term mismanagement of the redevelopment agency.
There is some irony in contemplating the demise of state affordable housing programs at this moment. Residential values have taken a major haircut and interest rates are at record lows, the two factors together resulting in new levels of affordability. Nevertheless, over the long run, state programs have served a vital role in affordable housing and from a long term policy perspective, should remain funded and operational. The most recent decision in this area, in Housing Partners I, Inc. v. John C.
If skepticism about growth is an indication that the economy is on the rebound, then Tuesday's land use elections throughout California might be called good news.
About a dozen land use measures were on the ballot Tuesday and most cases the anti-growth forces won. Most of those that did win were focused on job creation. Several measures focused on downtown development in small cities, with mixed results.
When deciding whether to award a public litigant its attorneys’ fees against another public entity under Code of Civil Procedure section 1021.5, the trial court may only consider the public litigant’s “pecuniary interests and the pecuniary interests of its constituents” in determining the third requirement of that statute. The court may not consider the nonpecuniary motives of the public litigant in bringing the lawsuit.
Everybody in Northern California is proud of the World Champion Giants., but apparently the 49ers are a different story. The Department of Finance beancounters in Sacramento have nixed a negotiated agreement between the City of Santa Clara and other taxing agencies that would have allowed the city to keep $30 million in tax-increment funds to help finance the 49ers new $1.2 billion stadium.
Last week, I posted a blog from the American Planning Association, California Chapter, conference suggesting that the new guidelines to implement the streamlining of environmental review for infill projects under SB 226 might be making the whole process even more complicated. Relying on comments by Ron Bass and Terry Rivasplata of ICF International, I titled the blog, “Streamlining CEQA is Really Complicated,” and I concluded that because CEQA is a complicated law, simplifying it really is a complicated matter.
Though painful, the unwinding of redevelopment would seem to be a pretty straightforward process for most cities: Designate yourself as the successor agency, negotiate with your oversight committee to keep as much stuff going as possible, and try to keep the state Department of Finance from vetoing the whole situation.
The $188 million Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC), which broke ground earlier this month, is the most recent example of a fast-growing list of public facilities with big ambitions: the local transit hub that connects local and regional transit rail lines with bus service, taxies, bicycle locks and sometimes business services for travelers. The anticipation of high-speed rail also adds some drama to the Anaheim transit center.
Ever since the passage of SB 226 -- the law designed to streamline environment review for infill projects -- the state has been working on changes to the California Environmental Quality Act Guidelines to implement the law. There's a draft of the guidance out (you can find it here), and CEQA-sters Ron Bass and Terry Rivasplata of ICF International did a good job of laying out what the draft says at a session at the American Planning Association, California Chapter, conference.
Last week, in my Insight column available to CP&DR subscribers, I suggested that there were two possible reasons Gov. Brown vetoed SB 1156 and the other redevelopment bills. First, there's still bad blood between him and the cities. And second, he doesn't want to do anything that would stimulate the revival of a redevelopment lobby in Sacramento.
Barrington, Ill.—What can California learn from a sleepy exurb on the edge of nowhere? Not much, I don’t think. California has scarcely ever pretended to care much for small town America. But something that is at once very modern and very old-fashioned is afoot here on Main Street.
I mean Main Street literally. Barrington has a primary commercial street, and it’s called Main. And in the middle of that street, watching over it calmly and without imposition, stands the Catlow Theater, its neon casting a red glow over the prairie.
When Jerry Brown first proposed killing redevelopment -- back in January 2011, when he released his first budget -- he said he would replace it with some other economic development tool. After Brown succeeded -- when he released his second budget, in January 2012, just days after the Supreme Court killed redevelopment – his tune changed, ever so slightly. He said he would consider bringing redevelopment back if it didn't affect the state's general fund.
It’s safe to say that the City of Calistoga’s Silver Rose Referendum will not be the most important question on the ballot in the this November. Nor will Escondido’s general plan measure, nor even a preliminary vote on draining Hetch Hetchy reservoir.