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CP&DR News Briefs May 3, 2022: Anaheim Stadium Deal; Desalination Plant; S.D. Padres Housing Development; and More

Mckenzie Locke on
May 3, 2022
Complex Deal Paves Way for Redevelopment of Angel Stadium
The City of Anaheim and the Department of Housing and Community Development have reached a settlement over Anaheim's violation of the Surplus Land Act, allowing the Angel Stadium land sale to move forward to Angels owner Arte Moreno. Moreno's development company plans to transform the 150-acre parking lot parcel into a site with homes, shops, restaurants, hotels, and offices. While Moreno does not plan to construct much affordable housing on the site, he has agreed to use $96 million out of the city's $124 million in credits to build 1,000 affordable units elsewhere in Anaheim in order to comply with the Surplus Land Act. Attorney General Rob Bonta supports the agreement. Once the city council ratifies the settlement, the deal should not face any more legal challenges. (See related CP&DR coverage.)

Coastal Commission Staff Recommends Against Orange County Desalination Plant
Coastal Commission staff members voiced their opposition to Poseidon Water's persistent attempt to desalinate ocean water off Huntington Beach and produce tap water for Orange County. In their report, officials noted that the project risks environmental harm for vulnerable communities and is too expensive, totaling $1.4 billion. They recommended that the commission votes against the project during the May 12th public hearing. If the commission rejects the project that would produce 50 million gallons a day, Poseidon's efforts may come to an end and set a precedent for future desalination proposals. Thus far, Poseidon has spent over $100 million in research, marketing, planning, and political efforts and asked the commission in a letter to disregard the staff's recommendation.

Padres Affiliate to Develop 1,800 Units Near PetCo Park
San Diego officials approved the $35.1 million sale of Tailgate Park to a developer group run by the San Diego Padres. The team has a plan to transform the four-block parking lot into a $1.5 billion residential project, with 270 of the 1,800 proposed units reserved for low- and middle-income households. One council member voted against the sale, stating that the plan did not include enough affordable housing, while other members noted that the sale is an important step in creating more affordable housing and confronting homelessness. If the transaction does not close escrow before the end of 2022, officials will have to restart the process and designate 25 percent of the units as affordable.

Study: California Environmental Regulations Disfavor Minority Communities
A new study from the University of California San Diego's School of Global Policy and Strategy reveals more evidence that California's environmental regulations preferentially protect white people from exposure to air pollution, leaving communities of color more at-risk to health burdens. Researchers compared patterns of air pollution both before and during COVID-19 shutdowns and found that Black communities continued to face higher pollution from emission sources that did not shut down with the in-person economy, and Asian and Latinx communities saw an increase in air pollution when businesses returned to in-person. Additionally, low-income communities are regularly exposed to more pollution in a fully-functioning economy. Researchers suggest that the evidence signals a policy failure to confront systemic environmental racism.

Study Analyzes Relationship between New Construction, Tenant Protections, Displacement
A new study from a coalition of researchers analyzes the impact of new housing construction, rent stabilization, and just-cause eviction policies on displacement in the Bay Area. Key findings in the research show that market-rate housing production typically serves the most wealthy residents, and while displacement for low- and moderate-income residents is not as high as is feared when market-rate housing is built, it is consistently associated with a higher likelihood of downward mobility. Research also shows that rent stabilization and just cause eviction protections minimize displacement but also make it harder for low-income residents to move in.

CP&DR Coverage: Excessive Homeownership "Tenure" in California Cities
A recent report from the real estate listing site Redfin reveals a slow pace of life, at least for Los Angeles's homeowners. As of 2021, the median Angeleno homeowner has stayed put for 18.1 years. Los Angels ranks dead last among the 74 cities that Redfin analyzed. Every single one of them. Other California cities follow closely: San Jose, Oxnard, and Anaheim all have average tenures of over 16 years. San Diego and San Francisco are over 15 years. Tenures in all California cities in the report are well above the nationwide average of 13.2 years and are, respectively, 3-4 years longer than the study's 2012 benchmarks. The causes and effects are equally dispiriting, according to CP&DR's Josh Stephens. 

Quick Hits & Updates
Orange County's Airport Land Use Commission is pushing back against plans from Newport Beach and Irvine to increase affordable housing availability by constructing new housing adjacent to the airport, noting that future residents may be at risk to environmental pollutants and noise disruptions. The commission cannot reject the cities' plans but can file complaints that force cooperation or a city council vote.

The Inglewood City Council approved a proposal to construct the 1.6-mile Inglewood Transit Connector that would connect the Crenshaw Line's Downtown Inglewood Station to SoFi stadium and the future Intuit Dome. Construction is estimated to cost $1.4 billion, though officials are hoping to attain new funding sources following a federal environmental review process in order to complete the extension before the 2028 Olympics.

Instead of pursuing a regional transit center involved in the redevelopment of the U.S. Navy's Old Town NAVWAR site, San Diego leaders are chasing a two-part plan that includes a rail transit connection to the airport in the short-term and a larger transit hub in the long-term.

The City of Fontana and Attorney General Rob Bonta have reached a settlement over a planned warehouse development adjacent to Jurupa Hills High School. The project will still move forward but with restrictions intended to protect at-risk communities from industrial pollution, including emissions reductions through clean energy and the establishment of a community benefit bund to increase green spaces at the high school.

About 78,000 very low-income Sacramento renters cannot find an affordable home to live in, according to a recent study from the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Researchers also reported that thousands of low-income residents spend over 30% of their income on rent and that only 41 affordable and available homes exist for every 100 very low-income household in Sacramento.

The U.S. Supreme Court chose to not consider an appeal from the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles, a landlord group attempting to overturn the city's eviction moratorium. The move will ensure that eviction protections for renters burdened by the pandemic remain in place, delivering a win to tenant advocates.

Most registered voters, including 70% of Democrats, continue to support a statewide high-speed rail system, according to a new study, even though construction has been a slow process since voters approved funding 14 years ago. Meanwhile, 35% of voters were opposed to carrying on with the project.

The Coastal Commission rejected a federal plan to confront water pollution and other burdens of cattle ranching in the Point Reyes National Seashore. The commission noted that the plan, which would allow park staff to shoot some of the park's tule elk to minimize fighting over property, is insufficient and unclear.

San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney has defeated former Supervisor David Campos in a special state Assembly election that left Haney with roughly 63% of the votes. Haney has the support of a coalition of labor unions and housing advocates. He had recently been involved in a controversy over the disapproval of a high-rise building in his district; other supervisors overruled his support for it. (See related CP&DR coverage.)

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