Google to Develop Major Mixed-Use Project in Mountain View
The Mountain View City Council unanimously approved Google's 30-year plan for 7,000 new homes, 3 million square feet of office space and upwards of 26 acres of parks and open space in the city's North Bayshore area. Some council members are concerned over the number of affordable homes included in the plan. The plan originally included 1,400 of thee 7,000 planned homes to be affordable, but in a March 2023 master plan, the number of affordable homes diminished by 350. Google cited financial reasoning behind the decision. The project is the largest development ever approved in the area. Presently, aside from a mobile home park in the area, North Bayshore has remained a suburban office park. The project aims to create a complete neighborhood, with a zoning amendment in 2017 to accommodate.

Newsom Proposes $4.68 Billion for Mental Health Treatment, Homeless Housing
Governor Newsom proposed a legislation package including a $4.68 billion bond and modernization of the 2004 Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) for voter approval on the March 2024 ballot, dedicated to building 10,000 new beds in new treatment campuses and facilities. The plan is designed in part to alleviate the state's homelessness crisis, and it calls for housing and behavioral health treatment in unlocked, community-based settings . Prior to the March 2024 ballot vote, two-thirds of lawmakers would need to approve the two bills. MHSA taxes 1% on income more than $1 million for mental health services with a proposed change to allow counties to spend 30% of funding from housing taxes for additional mental health and addiction resources. The act would also, in addition to bond funding, would revise the name to the Behavioral Health Services Act.

California Cities Get Mixed Reviews in Walkability Ranking
Smart Growth America's Foot Traffic Ahead (FTA) report found most metropolitan cities grew in walkable urban areas, ranking San Francisco as fifth in the country for walkable areas and Los Angeles as eighth of the 35 major cities studied. The study identifies changes in walkability in these 35 cities since 2019. The report used Los Angeles as a case study, highlighting the discrepancies in race and income, as well as income-segregated neighborhoods, ranking the city last on its Social Equity Index despite its wide range of walkable areas. The study found that 19.1% of the total U.S. real gross domestic product and 6.8% of the U.S. population are located in walkable urban places that represent just 1.2% of total landmass of the top 35 U.S. cities. The report seeks to present information on walkability publicly for advocates, community members, policymakers and researchers. The report ranks Sacramento 24th and San Diego 28th. The top spot went to New York City; the bottom spot went to Las Vegas.

Study Identifies Publicly Owned Sites for Homeless Housing in Los Angeles
The Committee for Greater L.A., a group of civic, business and philanthropy leaders, commissioned a study of 126 publicly-owned sites for shelter and permanent housing across the city, keeping pressure on Mayor Karen Bass and her pledge to build 1,000 beds in her first year of office. The nonprofit Center for Pacific Urbanism conducted the study to create the committee's new public, online database identifies sufficient parcels owned by a City of Los Angeles public agency or other public agencies. The 126 parcels were identified out of over 2,800 publicly owned parcels citywide. The suitability of sites was evaluated using a mixed methods approach that combines GIS spatial analysis tools, qualitative data from stakeholder interviews, a literature review of best practices, precedent studies, and architectural feasibility reviews on an individual site-by-site basis. The study proposes a timeline of six months to produce over 1,000 beds. Mayor Bass responded she has her own timeline and database of over 3,300 land parcels, with 500 interim beds submitted to Governor Newsom with a completion goal of July 2024. Some of the proposed sites in the study, like the site of the former Oso Elementary in the West Valley, have already faced public outcry over potential homeless housing.

CP&DR Coverage: Summary of Pending Builder's Remedy Cases Statewide
Santa Monica may have settled its builder’s remedy cases. Redondo Beach and Huntington Beach may be resisting the whole idea of a builder’s remedy. But in several other jurisdictions around the state, developers are trying to use the builder’s remedy to move their projects forward. In many cases, the applications are being made by developers who have been trying to obtain approval for many years. In some cases, they are adding multifamily affordable units to a single-family proposal in order to qualify. By one count, more than two dozen builder’s remedy cases are pending around the state. But more are popping up each week, mostly in expensive and traditionally slow-growth cities such as Palo Alto, Santa Barbara, Fairfax and Claremont.

Quick Hits & Updates

The Office of Planning & Research published final guidelines and application materials for the Regional Resilience Grant’s first round of funding. Applicants must submit their complete applications on August 29, 2023. OPR staff are hosting eight application workshops to support applicants with navigating the Final Guidelines and completing the RRGP application.

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) issued a warning and June 22 deadline to respond to the city of La Cañada Flintridge after the city council once again denied a builder's remedy application. The city claims they are not eligible for builder's remedy projects since the adoption of their Housing Element, although unapproved by HCD.

The Santa Clara County Local Agency Formation Commission postponed its decision on Gilroy's potential annexation of 55 acres of land for the third time this year, slotted for 307 residential units. In a letter to the commissioners at the Santa Clara County Local Agency Formation Commission, the Executive Director strongly recommend the commissioners vote against the annexation.

A new poll of Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba counties found housing affordability a large concern of residents, as almost half of the poll do not describe their neighborhood as affordable. 64% responded there has been an "increased cost of housing." The poll also found reliance on personal vehicles in the area remains high, with a vast majority of respondents stating they mainly use a personal vehicle.

A preliminary proposal in San Jose could result in an added 1,000 residential units at the site of a former casino, closed restaurant and a number of other businesses. The 10.3-acre site would be bulldozed for the project, and would include 13,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.

Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo signed a bill granting $380 of public money to the Oakland A's for the construction of a new ballpark, the day after the Nevada legislature approved the deal. The deal solidifies the A's departure from Oakland.

The receivership appointed two months ago to manage the largest nonprofit Skid Row housing provider is at risk of insolvency. The receivership oversees 1,500 tenants across 29 properties requested emergency action and support from a Los Angeles County Superior Judge in obtaining funds to cover $1.7 million in unpaid bills.

An Apple co-founder will sell his 14,100-acre ranch in Carmel Valley to the Wildlands Conservancy for $35 million. The Wildlands Conservancy plans to open the ranch to the public for free, creating an open preserve the size of the city of San Francisco.

Amid mounting opposition, the San Diego Planning Commission voted unanimously to delay implementing state Senate Bill 10, pushing the continuation to August. The bill could allow up to ten units on one parcel of land within a half-mile of a major transit stop, but would be permanent once implemented and not allow the commission to reduce the density. (See related CP&DR coverage.)

Irvine City leaders indicated they will look into creating a new housing agency dedicated to affordable housing following concerns the Irvine Community Land Trust is not keeping up with affordable housing needs. In the last development cycle, Irvine built 20,000 more new units than any other city in Orange County, while the land trust has only created 475 affordable units since 2006.

Huntington Beach secured a $25 million reimbursement from the Department of Finance following a 2018 lawsuit alleging the state did not reimburse the city for projects falling under the state's former redevelopment program . The court ruled the state owed the city for a $22.4 million loan issued in 1988 plus interest. City officials see the reimbursement as "a win" against the state as ongoing legal battles persist over state housing policy. The state's Department of Finance announced they will not appeal the ruling.