The San Diego City Council approved, 5-4, new restrictions on Civic San Diego, the nonprofit that oversees downtown development. The new restrictions include more oversight and transparency, mandates for low-income housing, employee wages and local hiring. The council members who voted against the pact said the language was not firm enough, with too many potential loopholes and wanted stricter income eligibility requirements for low-income housing in CivicSD projects. CivicSD was created in 2012 to oversee redevelopment projects after the state eliminated redevelopment agencies; two of the council members are in favor of phasing out the organization entirely.
Treasure Island Plan Receives LEED-ND Platinum Certification
Treasure Island Community Development has announced that its redevelopment of Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island have been awarded LEED-ND Platinum plan certification, the highest designation possible. Treasure Island is the largest plan, in acres, to receive this certification nationwide. The project received its certification for implementing measurable strategies and best practices to achieve sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, sea-level rise adaption and overall environmental quality. The redevelopment of the man-made island created for the 1939 World’s Fair received unanimous approval from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 2011. The project includes upgrades to road, utilities and creation of 300 acres of park and open space.
Bay Area Council Assesses Housing Regionwide
The Bay Area Council Economic Institute released a report on policies that have been instituted to alleviate the housing affordability crisis in San Francisco. The organization looked at 20 housing-related state and local policies and analyzed their impacts on net affordability. The three key takeaways from the analysis is that local policies matter, building all types of housing is the best way to alleviate housing cost burdens and it is not only about increasing supply but the overall impact on affordability matters. The study noted the importance of keeping rent control in the city, building below market rate units, and the balance of requiring developers to construct a percentage of affordable units.
Proposal Could Hasten New Transportation Projects in L.A. County
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has received a proposal from Parker Infrastructure Partners centered on the concept of flexibility in funding transportation projects at different stages of progress. This new approach would offer multiple Measure M projects to be delivered sooner than anticipated. The Parker proposal is now moving into the detailed proposal phase. In February, Metro officials invited the private sector to bring their ideas for helping Metro deliver projects sooner than scheduled. The Parker Infrastructure Partners’ proposal is one of three currently undergoing initial review to see if they have technical and financial merit. The other two proposals are related to the West Santa Ana Branch Light Rail Project and the Purple Line Extension.
Study Finds ‘Filtering’ of Housing Happens Slowly in Bay Area
UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies released a research brief titled Housing Production, Filtering and Displacement: Untangling the Relationships. The study finds that in the Bay Area development of both market-rate and subsidized housing can reduce displacement pressures, but subsidized housing has double the impact of the former. While on average in the United States rental units are filtered down at a rate of 2.2 percent per year, in California and New England the rate is much lower and filtering rates have an inverse relationship with housing price inflation. It is estimated that in the Bay Area filtering rates are roughly 1.5 percent per year and rents decline by about 0.3 percent annually. In housing markets such as San Francisco, aggressive preservation strategies plus increases in subsidized and market-rate housing will help address the displacement crisis.
Nevada Stadium Proposal Moves Forward; Could Woo Raiders
The Nevada legislature passed a bill offering $750 million in public funding for a 65,000 seat, $1.9 billion stadium off the Las Vegas Strip for the Oakland Raiders. Team owner Mark Davis will contribute $500 million and billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson $650 million. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signed the bill and now three-quarters of NFL team owners must approve in January when they meet. In Oakland, the Raiders are share the aging Coliseum with the A’s. Mayor of Oakland Libby Schaaf said she would not spend public funds on building a new stadium and will not enter a bidding war with Nevada using the public’s money. Scott McKibben, head of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority, said by the time the NFL owners meet Oakland will have a plan to offer to compete with Las Vegas.
Sacramento Seeks to Demolish, Revitalize Public Housing Projects
Sacramento housing officials say it is time to demolish Alder Grove and Marina vista housing projects and replace them with a mixed-use neighborhood. Almost 2,000 residents live in the two projects and would have to be moved into temporary housing while the new denser units are constructed. The new neighborhood would include market-rate housing, to rent and purchase, including town homes and single-family homes. While residents are excited for change and city officials are pushing for the new development, the city will need federal financial help. Local housing officials are hoping HUD will give Sacramento up to $30 million through its Choice Communities Initiative grant program. However, Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency will have to partner with private developers to help close the financing gap.
Encinitas, Del Mar Face Twin Lawsuits over Ballot Measures
Two environmental attorneys are filing lawsuits against the cities of Encinitas and Del Mar over land use issues that have ended up on the ballots of both cities this November. Measure R in Del Mar would give voters the right to approve or reject projects that exceed the number of homes allowed on a property. Measure T in Encinitas gives city residents the choice of adopting the city’s housing element. One of the lawyers is representing the Affordable Housing Coalition of San Diego County and wrote a letter threatening to sue if Del Mar did not increase density in a certain part of the city designated for more housing in the housing element.
Quick Hits & Updates
The L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted to update the 20-year-old LA River Master Plan. The update will coordinate the numerous ongoing efforts to revitalize the 51-mile body of water by all stakeholders. The new plan will reflect a unified vision from all 17 jurisdictions the river passes through.
The Anaheim City Council voted unanimously to approve the $450 million LT Global’s LT Platinum Center adjacent to the Angel Stadium. The Angels were the last hurdle for the mixed-use development and received the teams approval after resolving differences related to traffic and scale.
Rents in San Jose and San Francisco have fallen for the second month in a row. A 7 percent drop in San Jose from September to October and 6 percent in San Francisco. However, rents climbed in Oakland by 5 percent to $2,358 for a one-bedroom.
The Menlo Park Planning Commission voted, 5-0, to approve two new office buildings, 200-room hotel and potentially 1,500 units for Facebook. Some community members are worried that the 6,500 employees generated by the two new buildings will not have housing provided.
San Francisco Supervisors introduced legislation to place a 60-day cap on the number of days a housing unit could be rented out as a short-term rental and require hosts to live on the premises for at least 275 days of the year.
Westfield Corp. has proposed a $1.5 billion project to turn an aging mall into a ‘live, work and play’ complex in Woodland Hills, in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley. The project includes a large indoor performing arts arena, central parks, rooftop gardens, pools, and 1,400 apartments.
Riverside County received a federal grant to move forward with a proposal to initiate rail service between Los Angeles and the Coachella Valley. The train, provided by Amtrak, would run on existing rail tracks and have limited stops in Coachella Valley and Riverside. They are gathering public comments to complete an initial study by the end of 2018.
Caltrans released its FY 2017-18 Sustainable Transportation Planning Grant Application Guide. Statewide a total of $9.3 million is available for transportation planning projects. These grants are in line with Caltrans’ current mission: “Provide a safe, sustainable, integrated and efficient transportation system to enhance California’s economy and livability.”
The Palo Alto City Council voted unanimously to provide a Ford Motor Co.- backed regional bike share program next year grow the current program from 37 to 350 bikes by June. The $1.1 million project is part of a larger plan of growing the Bay Area Bike Share system from 700 bikes to 7,055.