Senate Committee Puts Damper on Newsom's Infrastructure Plan
The Senate Budget Committee voted, 3-0, to recommend shelving Gov. Newsom's highly publicized package of bills designed to promote development of climate-friendly infrastructure, partially through CEQA streamlining. The three-member committee, consisting of two Democrats and one Republican, voted unanimously against the ten-bill package. Committee members said that the package, which was introduced only two weeks ago, is too complex for the legislature to properly consider it before the September 30 legislative deadline. June 2 is the deadline for bills to move out of their respective houses of origin. The package could still prevail in budget negotiations, or Newsom could re-introduce it via policy committees. “The overwhelming agreement is that we need to build clean faster and cut green tape,” said Committee Chair Sen. Josh Becker, as quoted in CalMatters. “Although... we are rejecting the governor’s trailer bill proposals based on process, as seven days is insufficient to vet the hundreds of pages of policy nuance in these proposals, we look forward to working with the administration on all of these critical issues.” (See related CP&DR coverage.)

Santa Ana Asks State for Exemptions from Key Housing Laws
The Santa Ana City Council will consider filing for exemption of properties from two state housing laws in an effort to exact more local control. Set to vote on the exemption resolution, Santa Ana received a letter from Attorney General Rob Bonta's office urging the council to vote at a later date and consider the impacts of the resolution. The properties eligible presently under state law allow residential development on commercially-zoned sites with little to no local control from planners. Under Assembly Bill 2011 and Senate Bill 6, Santa Ana can label that land as exempt and find other eligible, alternative sites for residential development. City officials stated they are considering the exemption not to avoid state housing law, but because they are already complying. The city has already reached 52% of their Regional Housing Needs Allocation and has a state-certified Housing Element. The City Council will consider the resolution later next month.

Redlands Puts Pause on Warehouse Development; Seeks Housing Instead
Redlands City Council voted to extend a moratorium for the next year on the development of 15 warehouse properties. The city council hopes to rezone the properties for residential use and affordable housing during that time. Council members indicated that they want to prioritize housing over logistics. The original moratorium in June 2022 was only 45 days for new warehouse projects at 15 Commercial Industrial District properties falling within the East Valley Corridor Specific Plan. The housing plan designates more housing under the state's housing inventory for Redlands. City staff extended the deadline to make further adjustments to Redlands' Housing Element, with an anticipated spring 2024 completion.

Report Identifies Roadblocks to Housing Production in L.A.
A report by the Los Angeles Business Council (LABC) found entitlement processes are impeding Los Angeles's ability to meet its lofty housing production goals. The study referenced UCLA and California State University, Northridge's findings that the city is not keeping up with housing demands and its ability to meet California's Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) would require the city to complete 57,000 units per year. Presently, the city completes less than 9,000 annually throughout the last decade. LABC's report concludes fast-tracking approval of affordable housing projects and state laws exempting qualifying mixed-income projects from discretionary reviews would add a significant number of housing units. LABC recommends extending those measures to market-rate housing and increasing coordination between city agencies.

CP&DR Coverage: Cities Slow to Adopt SB 10 Streamlining
A faint successor to the failed SB 827 and SB 50, Senate Bill 10 clears the way for cities to zone for up to ten units on infill parcels currently zoned for as few as one home so long as they are within a half-mile of a major transit stop. Specifically, it carves out a CEQA exemption for the upzoning to save time and money—and, importantly, preempting many would-be lawsuits— in the name of infill development. But more than a year after SB 10’s passage, interest from cities and counties has been tepid. Reluctance prevails despite aggressive Regional Housing Needs Assessment goals that many jurisdictions have to achieve in their housing elements and accompanying zoning codes. Humboldt County and the City of San Diego, though, appear to be blazing a trail. Both are considering incorporating SB 10 into their housing action plans. San Diego is drafting its “Housing Action Package 2.0,” and Humboldt County is working on its “Multifamily Rezone Project.”

Quick Hits & Updates

Following two lawsuits against the Coastal Commission, a homeowners' association in Half Moon Bay is encouraging the commission to reconsider the homeowners' plans to build a seawall around expensive beachfront homes facing rising sea levels. The association is continuing to legally push against the city's proposed relocation plan of the homes, hoping to set a precedent against relocation and in favor of protecting expensive beachfront properties along the state coast.

Voters in Sierra Madre approved Measure M, a zoning map amendment as well as a plan and development agreement for a contentious 17-acre, 42-unit housing development. The project stalled since November's failed Measure HR almost changed the zoning plans against the development.

MLS announced an investor will pay $500 million for expansion rights in San Diego for a new club and home of California's fourth MLS team. The team will start playing by 2025 in the 35,000-seat Snapdragon Stadium, owned by San Diego State University (on the site of the former Jack Murphy Stadium). The Sycuan Indigenous Tribe will take a minority stake in the team, making it the first Indigenous tribe to take an ownership stake in a soccer team in the US.

Following the expiration of the Oakland A's contract with the Port of Oakland at Howard Terminal, the Port announced plans to develop a 50-acre site to support exports from the Central Valley and inland, potentially including overnight truck parking and temporary dry and refrigerated storage.

The Moreno Valley City Council voted to approve the city's planning commission recommendation that the proposed plan for the Moreno Valley Mall move forward. The plan includes transforming the Moreno Valley Mall into four apartments totaling 1,627 units, two different hotels, 40,000 square-feet of retail space and additional office space. The city will consider mixed-income housing and job opportunities.

A new study found the U.S. lost 8% of its affordable housing units during the pandemic due to a number of units converting to market rate. This loss amounts to 500,000 affordable units for low-income renters.

In the midst of the ongoing legal dispute between Los Angeles City and a coalition of downtown residents suing the city for allowing inhumane and unsafe conditions to worsen downtown, the city petitioned a federal appeals court to end the lawsuit. The city claims the U.S. District Judge overseeing the case has overstepped his legal jurisdiction in refusing to accept a settlement between the group and the city.

A group of investors and business owners are pushing a large-scale transformation of San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, including a food hall, interactive museum, short-term apartment rentals, and public space centering on and around Pier 45.

The Long Beach City Council is once again considering a plan to replace a Terminal Island freeway with a large park space to work as a green buffer between the Port of Long Beach and the western part of the city impacted by traffic congestion and air pollution.

UC Berkeley's Terner Center for Housing Innovation released a nation-wide report on how states are incentivizing local housing production by analyzing state pro-housing laws. The database and typology of state laws is used to understand trends in overall housing legislation on the state level.