Headline Story

SGC Confirms Recipients of $122 Million in Grants

Following the recommendations of its staff, the Strategic Growth Council formally approved $122 million in grants for 28 projects designed to provide affordable housing and reduce carbon emissions throughout the state.

CP&DR News Summary, October 28, 2014: SD Enviro Lawyer Breaks With NIMBYs

Here’s a roundup of recent land use news items  –

San Diego Environmental Lawyer Backs Infill

The progressive Democratic community in San Diego has split openly over the question of allowing more density near light-rail stops, especially in mostly white middle-class neighborhoods.

In particular, environmental attorney Marco Gonzalez – who stood alongside former City Councilmember Donna Frye in calling for Mayor Bob Filner’s resignation last year – has now broken with Frye on the density question.

SGC Tweaks Cap-and-Trade Program As Comment Deadline Nears

As the new Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) grant program neared its October 31 public comment deadline, the program was showing a more definite sense of institutional purpose, focused on promoting dense transit-oriented urban streetscapes.

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October Coastal Commission: celebrities, a cheering squad, marine mammals, and other madness

The Coastal Commission's October docket in Newport Beach served up a fair slice of Southern California celebrity-involved madness and possibly more items than usual of old business of the it's-never-over variety.

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Pacific Legal Foundation wins Ellis Act and Coastal Commission fights

The Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) won two major takings law victories in late October. Clients championed by the property rights organization defeated a San Francisco law on compensation to tenants evicted under the Ellis Act, and managed to undo a coastal easement requirement that the court said was an unfair permit condition.

San Francisco city attorney to appeal

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Legal News Briefs, October 28, 2014: Review denied on Treasure Island case; rent control end-run blocked; more --

The State Supreme Court denied review October 22 in the major case of Citizens for a Sustainable Treasure Island v. City and County of San Francisco (Treasure Island Community Development).

The Flat-Headed Skyscrapers: A Greek Tragedy

News Item: the Los Angeles City Council has rescinded a long-standing ordinance requiring all high-rise buildings in the downtown area to have rooftop helipads. When the ordinance was in effect, all downtown buildings were flat-headed in design to accommodate the helipads.

Planning redesign in north LA County complicated by Tejon Ranch's 'Centennial' and rules for solar arrays

East branch, California Aqueduct, north of Centennial site

A new template for land use and preservation is forming across some 1,800 square miles of Los Angeles County's high, dry northeastern backlands. Its first increment could establish some key development permissions by mid-November, especially affecting the large Centennial new-town design, other construction plans, and solar energy arrays.

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Legal news briefs: Review denied on HSR, Westlands; no publication on SD's 'SOHO' case, and more

In brief legal news this week:

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Rail car builder calls off Palmdale expansion citing union pressure

Local political and business figures have joined Kinkisharyo International in blaming union-linked complaints, including a CEQA appeal, for deterring an expansion of the company in Palmdale. Kinkisharyo currently assembles light rail cars for LA Metro at a temporary plant. The expansion could have made it a major local manufacturing employer for the longer term.

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An Unfortunate Education in Prop 13

As if we needed another story about Prop 13's unintended impacts on education, here's a new twist. 

Monterey Peninsula faces tough choices to meet water deadlines and needs

From many vantage points, the Monterey Peninsula looks idyllic. But it's always been a mess when it comes to water politics.

Throw in a long stalemate on solutions among the stakeholders, along with a disliked private water utility, administrative and judicial orders to cut back existing water supplies, no connections to state water – and a drought – and it's hard to see a clear path out of this morass.

DWR must reopen environmental review on the Kern Water Bank

About 20 years after the Monterey Agreement sewed up disputes among contractors of the State Water Project (SWP), opponents of the deal have come as close to unstitching it as they've been in many years.

In an October 2 ruling on the Kern Water Bank cases, Judge Timothy Frawley ordered the EIR on the "Monterey Plus Project" settlement to be revised and submitted for recertification, but with the revisions to focus only on the environmental impact of the "use and operation" of the Kern Water Bank.

Study finds a few ways to lower affordable housing costs per unit

California's state housing finance administrators published a long-delayed study October 13 on the cost of building affordable housing. It found no single factor to blame for California's high costs per unit. But it said economies of scale tend to help, and multiple layers of restrictions don't help, and that perhaps cost containment should be a more important factor in awarding housing tax credits.

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CP&DR News Summary, October 8, 2014: State Supreme Court to review Friant Ranch case, Laguna Beach activists win a round, LA issues transportation plan

The California Supreme Court agreed on October 1 to review a major CEQA case, Sierra Club v. County of Fresno, (2014) 226 Cal.App.4th 704, in which the Fifth District Court of Appeal blocked the "Friant Ranch," a large planned development focused on seniors' housing. (See prior coverage at http://www.cp-dr.com/node/3504.)