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CP&DR News Briefs December 25, 2018: Sacramento TOD Restrictions; Tres Hermanos Ranch Battle; Wildfire Hazards; and More

Noemi Wyss on
Dec 24, 2018
The Sacramento City Council passed an ordinance, 8-0, that would ban new gas stations, drive-through restaurants and warehouses within a quarter-mile of the city’s 23 light-rail stations. The new ordinance would also eliminate parking requirements for new housing developments within a quarter-mile of a station. The ordinance would require cannabis cultivation and manufacturing businesses and certain types of other operations opening within a half-mile of a light-rail station to apply for conditional use permits with the city. The goal of the ordinance is to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, increase transit ridership and encourage more high-density housing near light rail stations.

Southern California Cities Battle over 2,400-Acre Parcel
The City of Commerce is launching a $42 million effort to win jurisdiction over a 2,500-acre parcel called Tres Hermanos Ranch covering parts of Diamond Bar and Chino Hills, straddling the junction of Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside counties  The cities of Industry and Chino Hills have threatened to sue if Commerce moves forward with its plan. Industry owns the property through its former redevelopment agency and was approved to buy back the land by a county oversight board last year, but has not closed the deal because of ongoing lawsuits. Commerce is arguing that Industry has waived its first right to buy the property by not finishing the sale, and has asked the county oversight board to sell it the land instead. Though it in the middle of the Los Angeles region, Tres Hermanos Ranch still has cattle; it has been proposed as the site of a solar power farm. 

Analysis Shows 1.1 Million Structures at Risk of Wildfires Statewide
The Los Angeles Times analyzed wildfire hazard across the state and found that hundreds of communities from Redding to San Diego are at high risk of deadly fires. According to maps drawn by the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, more than 1.1 million structures, or roughly 1 in 10 buildings in California, lie within the highest-risk fire zones. Los Angeles has the most structures in the highest hazard zone, at least 114,000, and San Diego came second with more than 88,0000 structures. Nearly 60 percent of the at-risk structures in the state are within the jurisdiction of incorporated cities or counties meaning the burden of preparing is on local fire departments.

Study Analyzes Parking Habits of Riders of Electric Scooters 
San Jose State University released a white paper, “Where do Riders Park Dockless, Shared Electric Scooters? Findings from San Jose, California”. The group observed and photographed 530 parked scooters over two months in the summer and evaluated the “well-parked” scooters. “Well-parked” meant standing upright, placed on the periphery of pedestrian paths or in areas that are already obstructed such as street furniture, and not blocking pedestrian access. The research found the majority, 72 percent, were parked on sidewalks while 23 percent were parked off the streetscape in adjacent properties. Five percent of observed scooters were on a pedestrian street running through part of downtown. The research found 90 percent of parked scooters did not overtly disrupt pedestrian traffic. Other observations include virtually al, 97 percent, were parked uprights as required by California state law. Fewer than two percent of scooters were parked in automobile parking spaces and only three percent were parked on unpaved surfaces. (See prior CP&DR coverage.)

Controversy Swirls around USCF Building on National Register of Historic Places
Opponents of a proposed redevelopment of the University of California, San Francisco's 10-acre Laurel Heights campus have succeeded in their campaign to place a modernist building at the center of the campus on the National Register. The bid was supported by both San Francisco’s Historic Preservation Commission and the State’s Historical Resources Commission. The building located at 3333 California Street is determined by the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places to be eligible to be added to the National Register. While the property cannot be added to the National Register without the property owner’s consent, which the new ownership team opposes, the Keeper’s determination automatically adds the building to the California’s Register of Historic Places. Being listed in the Register does not preclude the redevelopment of the campus, but does provide additional protections such as legal challenges and potential delays. The development team has a plan to have the governor deem the proposed redevelopment of the campus as an Environmental Leadership Project. While this would not approve the project, it would require all legal challenges to be resolved within a year. The proposed redevelopment of the campus would include 558 residential units, 49,999 square feet of office space, 54,000 square feet of retail space, a new 15,000 square foot childcare center, 896 parking spaces, and 236,000 square feet of open space.

PPIC Report Calls of $50 Billion to Redevelop California Higher Ed Campuses
The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) released a report on financing higher education and found the state is facing increasing demands for affordable higher education and a need for adequate facilities suited to a rapidly evolving economy. The report estimated by 2030 the supply of college graduates would fall 1.1 million short of workforce demand. The three major challenges include a growing need for more capacity in current facilities, historical underinvestment, and decentralized decision making. Estimates reported by UC, CSU, and community colleges reflect that facility modernization and maintenance could cost more than $50 billion through 2022-23.  According to a recent PPIC survey, two-thirds of adults in the state favor a potential state bond measure for higher education construction projects.