Walt Disney Co. to Develop Branded Master-Planned Community in Rancho Mirage
Walt Disney Co. is proposing to develop a series of master-planned communities around the country dedicated to what the company describe as "storyliving." "Storyliving by Disney," will begin with a 618-acre project called Cotino in Rancho Mirage, close to Walt Disney's former Coachella Valley home, in collaboration with DMB Development. Mayor Ted Weill noted that, if completed, this would be Rancho Mirage's largest development. Though the complexes will be for all ages, one section will be dedicated to residents aged 55 and older, and options for purchase include estates, single-family homes, and condominiums. The company intends to foster a unique Disney experience while facilitating new connections between residents and plans to provide wellness, entertainment, and philanthropic services. The community will include "access to curated experiences, such as wellness programming; entertainment ranging from live performances to cooking classes; philanthropic endeavors; seminars and much more," according to a company statement.

Court Orders UC Berkeley to Curtail Enrollment to Ease Environmental Impacts
An appellate court denied a request from the University of California Board of Regents to suspend proceedings to freeze enrollment at UC Berkeley, as ordered by an Alameda County Superior Court Judge in August, while the regents move forward with the appellate process. While the regents also appealed this decision to the state Supreme Court, the move suggests that the university may be forced to reduce its incoming fall 2022 class by 3,050, which would total one-third of the class population and decrease tuition earnings by $57 million. Campus officials say this will reduce financial aid and classroom resources. In August, Save Berkeley's Neighborhoods succeeded in its lawsuit that argued that UC Berkeley's expansion plan would harm traffic, noise, housing prices, and the environment. (See related CP&DR analysis.)

Court Strikes Down Attempt to Block Housing in Livermore
Affordable housing developer Eden Housing and supporters of a downtown Livermore affordable housing project are celebrating a legal victory after Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch rejected a lawsuit filed by Save Livermore Downtown. Opponents, though, will likely appeal and continue to delay construction for two more years. The judge found that the neighborhood group's attempt to obstruct 130 units of affordable housing had no legal validity, and many believe that the group was leading with racism and classism in its opposition. The original lawsuit has already delayed the project by one year and cost Eden Housing a return of $68 million in low-income housing tax credits. Eden Housing now must reapply for funding to move forward with the project.

Report: Lessons from Pandemic-Era Tactical Urbanism in S.F.
SPUR published a report titled Temporary to Transformative that considers pandemic-era improvements to San Francisco's city streetscape and how those might be included or expanded in a more equitable and functioning city future with streets as the center of public life and health. The nonprofit determined 4 key strategies that encompass 18 recommendations and consider the benefits of San Francisco's Shared Spaces and Slow Streets programs. The 4 strategies include "[building] a comprehensive and resilient network," improving "the prototyping and feedback loop," securing "equitable and sustainable funding," and streamlining initiatives to reflect the effectiveness of quickly implementing measures to make streets safer and more lively toward the pandemic's beginning.

CP&DR Coverage: New Era of Housing Element Enforcement
Cities across the state are required to draft and adopt housing elements that not only accommodate, in most cases, significantly higher targets (for both market-rate and affordable units) than ever before but also must do so in greater detail and with a greater level of certainty than ever before. So far, roughly half the participating justifications in the state have submitted draft housing elements to HCD for review and approval. The early results suggest that there are going to be some growing pains. Out of roughly 200 drafts submitted from the Southern California Association of Governments region and the San Diego Association of Governments region, more than 70% have needed revisions—some minor, some not-so-minor—in order for HCD to deem them in compliance.

Quick Hits & Updates

A new study from researchers at the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies, "By Transit, By-Right: Impacts of Housing Development Approval Processes on Transit-Supportive Density" found that Transit Oriented Community projects are approved faster than non-TOC projects, and all by-right multifamily developments are approved faster than discretionary projects.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the California Housing Accelerator will award $923 million to affordable housing projects across the state that are ready for construction but could not move forward due to a lack of federal tax credits and bonds. 27 projects have been approved thus far, and most of them will begin construction this summer, generating 2,300 housing units, 500 of which will be for unhoused residents.

San Diego has passed San Francisco as the country's least affordable metro area, according to a recent unaffordability report from OJO Labs. The report, which compares median home prices to local incomes, found that San Diego home prices rose 14.3% year over year to $764,000.

The Watsonville City Council approved the city clerk's certification of a petition hoping to extend Measure U city boundaries until 2040, which will likely send the decision to voters on the November ballot. In 2002, residents voted to establish urban boundaries that would impact where developers could build.

In response to the HCD's finding that Anaheim's sale of Angel Stadium violated the Surplus Land Act, the city wrote back, saying it disagrees with the state's decision and offering no solution or confirmation that it would agree to a potential $96 million fine. Going forward, the state will have to decide if it will negotiate with, financially penalize, or go to court with Anaheim.

The gray wolf is back under federal endangered species protections after U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey S. White ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, acting under the Trump administration, chose to remove protections and promote gray wolf hunting, capturing, and poisoning.

Developers of One Metro West in Costa Mesa have requested that a special election be held to welcome voter opinion on a city council-approved plan for the 15.320-acre mixed-use development in northwest Costa Mesa that would add 1,057 apartments. Beverly Hills-based Rose Equities has committed to covering the maximum $500,000 cost of the election that would make One Metro West the first major project to be on a ballot under Measure Y.

San Francisco developer Republic Metropolitan is suing Santa Clara for violating state housing law and breaching a contract to construct a housing project with 170 units for students and 70 units for low-income residents. The city blocked the project after two years of planning for a mixed-use complex on land owned by the city and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

Caltrans is considering solutions to protect the 21-mile State Route 37 Corridor, the North Bay's most heavily trafficked east/west highway, from periodic flooding while also minimizing traffic congestion and creating safe travel options for pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit riders.

San Diego County Supervisors unanimously approved a master plan for the proposed McClellan-Palomar Airport near Carlsbad and have committed to conducting a sustainability plan for all county airports. The McClellan-Palomar plan includes runway extensions and safety improvements regarding noise and runway configurations.

Strada TCC Partners' plan to entirely demolish and redevelop San Francisco's Piers 30-32 and Seawall Lot 330 into 30,000 square feet of retail and 376,000 square feet of office space with floating pools and "wetlands" is generating several concerns. City commissions are worried that water recreation may be an unfair use of land, that the balance between office space and public benefits is uneven, and that pier reconstruction may not even be possible.

A 34.5 acre site in Folsom may become home to a micro-hospital, ambulatory surgery center, outpatient medical office building, and hotel if UC Davis Health succeeds with a new development proposal. The health center announced that it would work with AKT Development Corp. and Angelo K. Tsakopoulos on a proposal for a high-technology residential space near the medical campus.

The Mid-Sunset Neighborhood Association suffered a loss after San Francisco Superior Court Judge Charles Haines rejected a request for injunctive relief from the association's attorneys who hoped to block a 7-story affordable housing complex in the Sunset District. The group argued that the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation's proposal is unlawful because neither the developer nor the government considered a building with fewer floors and, naturally, fewer units.

Mountain View City Council will consider Google's proposal for reimagining a suburban office park into a walkable urban village. Google filed two proposals for two new communities located on 127 acres of office parks that would include 7,000 residential units and 3.1 million square feet of office space, shops, restaurants, and a school.