Headline Story

Insight: Does Supply Create Its Own Demand?

A couple of weeks ago, the satirical newspaper The Onion reported that the City of San Francisco was looking to relocate because its current location had become too expensive. Funny though this was, I expected the follow-up story to focus on the economic development incentive package being put together to keep San Francisco where it is. 

A week or so later, Gabriel Metcalfe – head of the respected San Francisco urban planning organization SPUR – published a provocative piece in CityLab blaming the city’s affordability crisis on progressive politics – especially progressive politics of the no-growth kind. Progressive San Francisco, he argued, “had a fatal, Shakespearean flaw that would prove to be its undoing: It decided early on to be against new buildings. It decided that new development, with the exception of publicly subsidized affordable housing, was not welcome.”

All up and down California – especially in the expensive coastal enclaves around San Francisco and Los Angeles – community activists have been lately decrying how the rising cost of housing is making it impossible for normal people with normal incomes to live in these towns. Yet, as Metcalf points out, most of the time these same community activists are arguing that the trend toward high housing cost must be countered with... less housing construction. Or at least less market-rate housing construction. 

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Battle between Football, Brunch Rages in L.A.

I went to brunch a few Sunday mornings ago at Louie’s, a place that I will unironically describe as a gastropub. My Sunday rituals usually consist of visits to the farmers market and worrying about deadlines.

High-Speed Rail: Coming (Slowly) to a City Near You

There is, perhaps, no place on Earth so supremely well suited for high-speed rail as the leeward side of the island of Formosa. Sheltered from the Pacific winds, all of Taiwan's major cities hug the island's western coastal plain, unbroken by the mountains that characterize the interior. Running in nearly a straight line, the train covers the 214 miles from the Taipei to Zouying in two hours. It now carries 44 million passengers per year.

CP&DR News Briefs, January 6, 2015: Chumash Fee-to-Trust Application Granted, County to Appeal; Brown Opens Fourth Term with Climate Change Goals; Moreno Valley May Create Foreclosure Registry

As anticipated, the Bureau of Indian Affairs has approved the application by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians to have its 1400-acre Camp 4 property taken into federal trust. The Tribe has stated intentions to build housing, a community center and related buildings on the property. Local critics have expressed fears about what could happen after trust status takes the property out of state and county jurisdiction and exempts it from local taxation.

South Bay Growing Pains at Issue in El Camino BRT Debate

Look up the El Camino Real BRT project online, and the first impression is one of cheerful support. But that's from transportation advocates such as the TransForm organization, which has given it extensive promotion, and materials posted by the lead sponsoring agency, the Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority (VTA), which would build the route from Palo Alto to South San Jose along an old arterial south of I-280.

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CP&DR News Briefs, December 30, 2014: 9th Circuit Sides with Federal Regulators; New Laws; Plastic Bag Ban Challenge May Qualify

Defending a federal agency's discretionary authority, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on December 22 upheld a 2009 restriction on water pumping meant to protect chinook salmon and other fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

CP&DR News Briefs, December 23, 2014: Bakersfield Settles Litigation on High-Speed Rail Route; Marin Wins Landfill Litigation; Barriers to L.A. Demolitions

The city of Bakersfield reached a settlement December 19 with the California High-Speed Rail Authority in which the rail agency agreed to consider a different route than originally proposed. The L.A.

Strategic Growth Council Posts AHSC Program Revisions Informally

The Strategic Growth Council (SGC) released a semiformal response on Friday to critiques received in October on its proposed design of the new Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) program.

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SANDAG ruling included holdings on project alternatives, impact analysis

Although the question of Executive Order S-3-05 was the main event in the Cleveland National Forest v. SANDAG appellate ruling, Presiding Justice Judith McConnell’s split-decision majority ruling covered a number of other important areas interpreting how the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) should be used in the context of a regional transportation plan.

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Tribe’s Development, Trust Status Efforts Stir Legal and Political Concerns

The Santa Ynez Valley in Southern California brands itself as bucolic wine country, a mix between grape-covered hills and Old West charm. The Chamber of Commerce touts the hospitality and diversity of the valley’s several thousand residents. But one thing that isn’t mentioned in the Chamber's materials is the Chumash Casino Resort, a business run by the government of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians that generated a reported $366 million in revenue in 2008.

Aided by the casino's success, the Tribe has been able to buy additional land near its 146-acre reservation. What it plans to do with that land has been a subject of angry debate.

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CP&DR's Most-Read Stories of 2014

New laws that bring back redevelopment in a limited way. The Office of Planning & Research's effort to do away with the traffic "level of service" standard. And whether you can live in California without a car.

These are just a few of the most-read stories from California Planning & Development Report in 2014. And now you can check them out again. Here's CP&DR's Top 20 List – in order:

Ventura Foothill Neighbors Win Appeal on Already-Built Hospital

The Second District Court of Appeal has affirmed a lower court ruling in favor of Ventura residents who sued Ventura County over a hospital project, contesting an addendum to the environmental impact report issued 11 years after the original EIR. The court held the Ventura Foothill Neighbors' petition was not time-barred under state law and that a supplemental EIR should have been prepared instead of an addendum to the EIR. The project in question has been completed in the meantime.

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CP&DR News Briefs, December 16, 2014: Fresno General Plan Nears Approval; Homeless Vets Win Order In L.A. VA Campus Case; CA S.Ct. To Review Seawall And Railroad Preemption Cases

Fresno's 2035 General Plan proposal has been moving through packed public meetings toward final approval this month. The city's Planning Commission approved the proposal December 8. The City Council took it up in a packed public discussion hearing November 11.

Planners Face Climate Planning Woes In The Upper San Joaquin Valley

California's mandates pressing large urban regions to reduce vehicle travel are tough. They possibly just got tougher with a recent San Diego appellate court ruling.

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The SANDAG Ruling's Disturbing Message About Executive Power

For now, the environmentalists have won their lawsuit challenging the San Diego Association of Governments’ sustainable communities plan (which is part of SANDAG’s regional transportation plan). SANDAG has appealed the ruling to the California Supreme Court.

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Los Angeles' Slow Burn

I noticed the da Vinci apartment complex for the first time only a few months ago. How could I not notice it? It looked like a plywood ocean liner beached against the northbound side of the 110 freeway. Rising 4-5 stories at the time, it hovered over the freeway, uncomfortably close to the roadway. I remember hoping that it would have serious soundproofing. And air filtering. 

CP&DR News Briefs, December 9, 2014: San Jose 'Jungle' Camp Evicted; Supreme Court Case Could Limit Rules On Public Signage; Kinkisharyo Deal Salvaged, But At What Cost?

Restrained congratulations were circulating in late November over a deal brokered by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti that persuaded the Kinkisharyo company to expand its rail car assembly operation in Palmdale after all. The Japanese rail car manufacturing company had threatened to move the planned expansion of its U.S. branch elsewhere after activists supportive of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 11 filed a CEQA appeal with the Palmdale City Council against the expansion. (See prior coverage at http://www.cp-dr.com/node/3601.)