Redevelopment Cleanup Bill Sparks Relief, Outrage Among Cities

For many cities that have endured the painful process of dissolving their redevelopment agencies, the bloodletting has begun anew. 

CP&DR News Briefs, November 23, 2015: L.A. Development Moratorium; Shifting Funds from High Speed Rail to Water Storage; S.F. Tries to Curb Displacement, and More

A group calling itself the Coalition to Preserve L.A. announced that it is going to shoot for a ballot measure to block “mega-projects" in Los Angeles. The initiative would effectively freeze all development in the city that does not conform to the current General Plan and community plans. The initiative includes several major provisions: 1) halt amendments to the City's General Plan in small bits and pieces for individual real estate developer projects; 2) require the City Planning Commission to systematically review and update the City's community plans and make all zoning code provisions and projects consistent with the City's General Plan; 3) place city employees directly in charge of preparation of environmental review of major development projects; and 4) impose a construction moratorium for projects approved by the City that increased some types of density until officials can complete review and update of community plans or 24 months, whichever occurs first.

The initiative’s main backers, several of whom have actively protested major developments in Hollywood, say the initiative will help preserve the character of Los Angeles neighborhoods. The measure would apply citywide. “This ballot measure is bad for L.A., and bad for the economy,” City Council Member Mitch O'Farrell told the Los Angeles Times. “It's bad for transit-oriented neighborhoods. It will also cost thousands of good-paying jobs.” The measure requires 61,486 signatures to qualify for the November 2016 ballot. 

What Will AB 744 Do To Parking?

The High Cost of Free Parking, by UCLA professor emeritus Don Shoup’s landmark call for parking reform, was published in 2005. On the occasion of its tenth anniversary, some of his strongest devotees can, at long last, celebrate a victory in the state where the “Shoupista” movement began. 

Assembly Bill 744 (Chau) – recently signed by Gov. Jerry Brown -- ushers in a new era in parking regulations in California cities. Chipping away at rules that many consider arbitrary and anti-urban, it dictates that a city may not impose parking minimums greater than 0.5 spaces for housing developments comprising 100 percent affordable units within a half-mile radius of a major transit stop.

It extends similar benefits to developments of senior citizen and special needs housing as well as to developments with a combination of market-rate and affordable units.

»   Please Login or Subscribe to view this article.

CP&DR News Briefs, November 16, 2015: 9,100 Homes for Mountain View; L.A. Subway Cost Overruns; Housing Penalties in Bay Area?, and More

The Mountain View City Council specified the number of houses it is prepared to build in the city's North Bayshore business district, choosing the densest option of building 9,100 units in the area that's home to Google, LinkedIn, and Microsoft. “It gives us the most flexibility moving forward,” Vice Mayor Pat Showalter said at the meeting, according to the San Francisco Business Journal. “It’s not all going to be built. So having more areas where it’s allowed is better.” Getting to that number of units would require a revision of the final Environmental Impact Report, which the previous council had approved without any residential space. After that, voters put a pro-housing council majority into office last November as housing advocates said approving office space with no housing would aggravate traffic issues and promote suburban sprawl. Councilmembers supported a land-use plan that would allow residential uses for over 60 acres of land, most of which is owned by Google. Mountain View currently has 31,000 households. 

CP&DR News Briefs, November 9, 2015: L.A. Overlooks Impact Fees; S.F. Arena EIR Advances; Federal Tiger Grants Announced, and More

An audit (pdf) by Los Angeles's controller finds that the city is failing to charge developers millions of dollars in development impact fees -- frequently used to increase police and fire protection, traffic mitigation, and improve public facilities -- and has left millions in collected fees unspent.

Election Results: Turning Point on San Francisco Density?

Was Tuesday's election the turning point in the San Francisco density battles? 

There's been a lot of talk lately about how the city's longtime policy of controlling new development may be outdated now that it's the most expensive city in the country. And in the election, affordable housing, urban density, and short-term housing rentals all prevailed . In fact, more people voted on land use measures yesterday in the City and County of San Francisco than in the rest of the state's jurisdictions combined -- four time as many, in fact. Roughly 130,000 San Francisco voters weighed in on a ballot packed with six land use measures. 

Elsewhere in the state, measures to curtail development and/or preserve open space prevailed in Malibu, El Dorado County, and San Anselmo, so some things never change.

»   Please Login or Subscribe to view this article.

Community Development Director Wanted, City of Pismo Beach

Community Development Director
City of Pismo Beach

Encompassing seven miles of California’s premier Central Coast midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco in San Luis Obispo County, the City of Pismo Beach (pop. 7,860 perm./18,000-32,000 seasonal) offers an incomparable quality of life. This fiscally strong and stable city is seeking a Community Development Director to lead a staff of 10 during one of the most exciting times in the city’s history.

CP&DR News Briefs, November 2, 2015: HSR Costs May Soar; L.A. City, County Propose Housing Plans; S.D. Stadium EIR Gets Gov’s Support; and More

California's High Speed Rail project is finding more hurdles in the way of the intended 2022 finish  of its first phase from Burbank to Merced. A Los Angeles Times analysis finds that the project's first phase from Burbank to Merced will likely overshoot the $68 million budget and will almost certainly not meet the 2022 deadline because of the difficulty of punching 36 miles of tunnels through mountains north of Los Angeles.

CP&DR News Briefs, October 26, 2015: S.F. Bay Wetland Restoration; VA Campus Master Plan; L.A. Subway EIR, and More

Report: Wetland Restoration Crucial for Health of S.F. Bay

In Roundup of Local Land Use Measures, San Francisco Wins for Most Contentious City

A typically diverse array of land use measures appears on the November ballot in a handful of localities around the state. Most questions ask voters to endorse or oppose specific developments, from a golf course redevelopment in El Dorado County to a park in San Carlos. Only the City of Modesto has a sweeping, citywide question, billed as a referendum on urban sprawl. 

Then there is the City and County of San Francisco, arguably the most unique and hotly contested 49 square miles in the country. This November, it has a whole state’s worth of propositions. They range from a proposed local moratorium on development to restrictions on Airbnb and the like to a major $310 million housing bond that Mayor Ed Lee has been promoting. 

»   Please Login or Subscribe to view this article.