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CP&DR News Briefs May 5, 2021: OPR Maps Hazards, Resilience Efforts Statewide; and More

Robin Glover on
May 4, 2021

OPR Maps Hazards, Resilience Efforts Statewide
The Governor's Office of Planning and Research developed the ResilientCA Adaptation Planning Map (RAP-Map), an open data tool, to inventory local government climate risk, adaptation, and resiliency planning efforts across the state and track progress towards statewide adaptation planning goals. Users can click on cities and counties on a map to quickly access the planning details of local jurisdictions, including links to vulnerability assessments; adaptation goals, strategies and implementation measures; and updated and adopted General Plan Safety Elements, Local Hazard Mitigation Plans, or other stand-alone adaptation or resilience plans. A color-coded RAP-Map categorizes local governments based on planning efforts that reflect key components of climate adaptation planning in California (i.e. vulnerability/risk assessments and adaptation policy development) and were updated or completed since January 1, 2017.

Los Angeles Conducts Comprehensive Study of Walking, Biking
The Los Angeles Department of Transportation published findings and data from its inaugural study counting the number of people biking and walking on Los Angeles streets. The count, which took place over several weekends in 2019, reveals trends in active transportation while observing the demographics of Angelenos traveling through the city. Observations show a significant increase in the number of people walking and biking in locations where LADOT has made safety and complete street improvements. While the survey showed that women make up only 14% of people biking, there is a 120% increase in female riders on streets with dedicated bike paths. The report identifies locations for future bicycle and pedestrian improvements, tracks how travel trends and behaviors vary across geographic areas and street topologies, and tracks usage before and after transportation projects and programs are implemented.

Estimate Puts Cost of Infrastructure for Oakland A’s Ballpark at $12 Billion
According to figures from a newly released development agreement, the Oakland A’s proposed ballpark and accompanying development is expected to cost at least $12 billion in tax-generated revenue from the site to fund infrastructure costs. A statement from the mayor’s office said the proposal “appears to request public investment at the high end for projects of this type nationwide.” In the term sheet, the A’s agreed to enter into a non-relocation agreement if the project is approved. By all indications, the city is committed to working with the A’s despite the large public ask. For over a year, representatives from both camps met at least three times a week to craft the term sheet and financial agreement, in which the A’s agree to enter into a non-relocation agreement if the project is approved.

New Group Arises to Promote Urban Resilience
A nonprofit formed by members of the defunct 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) initiative, has launched the California Resilience Partnership (CRP), a multi-million dollar public-philanthropic collaboration. The partnership’s stated goal is to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders, state agencies and organizations to support statewide priorities as California faces resilience challenges linked to climate change, the pandemic, racial injustice and economic issues. The CRP model is designed to attract funding for resilience projects, with a goal to secure at least $30 million from public, private and philanthropic sources within five years to help scale those projects throughout the state, though no specific location or project details have been released. (See prior CP&DR coverage.)

CP&DR Coverage: Agencies Confront Constraints of Surplus Land Act
According to the Surplus Land Act (SLA), a relatively new state law whose implementing guidelines went into effect in January, all of these properties must be made available to affordable housing developers first. While state officials defend the guidelines, the landowning agencies say the law will undermine their vision for the property – and maybe even hinder their ability to build the affordable housing that the law seeks to create. With the release of SLA guidelines by the HCD in December, transit agencies say that the SLA not only may interfere with their vision for their surplus properties, especially those that are ripe for high-density transit-oriented development, but also may hinder the creation of affordable housing as part of larger projects.

Quick Hits & Updates 

For the first time in history, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that California will lose a seat in Congress. According to the Census Bureau, California saw a 6.1 percent population increase, down from the 10 percent growth seen in the 2010 census. The census results can impact state budgets, public transportation funding and federal financial aid programs.

The federal judge who ordered Los Angeles to put $1 billion into an escrow account to be used for homelessness has agreed to stay his order targeting the money and instead give the city 60 days to come up with a plan showing how the full $1 billion would be spent on homelessness. His action does not affect the appeals, which were filed with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Palm Desert officials are wary of approving a proposed sports arena that is moving closer to final consideration by the Riverside County Planning Commission; numbers presented in a town hall meeting projected $5 million a year in added police and fire costs in addition to traffic impacts that haven't been sufficiently addressed, officials say. The developers are pushing back against the city's projections.

The Solana BeachCity Council adopted its final draft of the 6th cycle housing element this week and sent it to the California Department of Housing and Community Development for approval. The housing element includes plans to fulfill the city's requirement of 875 new units, relying on ADU's to get over the finish line, including 316 extremely low/very low-income level units.

As Point ReyesNational Seashore finalizes a plan to continue cattle ranching in the park, opponents are waging a last-ditch effort to rein in the tradition. The scrutiny comes as the park’s newly updated management plan heads to a final public hearing Thursday at a meeting of the California Coastal Commission. 

Canals overlaid with solar panels could solve a twofold problem: water that would have otherwise evaporated would remain earthbound, and the shading panels would collect energy. In the Nature Sustainability journal, scientists have published results that found panels covering 4,000 miles of California canals would save 63 billion gallons of water from evaporating each year while providing 13 gigawatts of renewable power annually.

The City of Berkeley lambasted UC Berkley in a 75-page letter for the university's 2021 Long Range Development Plan. In the letter, the acting head of the city's planning department wrote that "the City is concerned by the lack of any enforceable commitment to provide adequate housing and necessary public services for current and future students and staff.”

Fresno County supervisors voted unanimously to rescind their approval of the Friant Ranch project. A new environmental impact report for the project is in the works. The developer is paying about $300,000 for a new environmental impact report and up to $395 for Fresno County staff time and outside legal counsel. (See related CP&DR coverage.)

Major plans have been officially unveiled by the Walt Disney Corporation to significantly expand Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. Disneyland Forward, the name of the project, ould be a westward expansion of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure on the footprint of the vast surface parking lots and a portion of Downtown Disney. This expansion would grow the combined theme park footprint at the resort by roughly 25%.

The Suisun Marsh —the largest swath of contiguous wetlands on the West Coast — has become the Bay Area’s latest battleground between fossil fuel producers and environmentalists. Sunset Exploration Inc. announced it wants to explore for natural gas by drilling a section of the 116,000-acre marshland. If the well yields enough gas, the gas would be tapped to serve an estimated 30,000 homes in the surrounding region for up to 10 years.

The Los Angeles Metro board has appointed Stephanie Wiggins as CEO for a four-year term. Wiggins served as Deputy CEO of Metro before becoming Chief Executive Officer of Metrolink, Before Metro, she served at Riverside and San Bernardino transportation agencies. She succeeds Phil Washington, who is retiring after six years.

Governor Gavin Newsom appointed the Executive Director of Transform, Darnell Grisby, to the California Transportation Commission (CTC). As Executive Director of TransForm, Grisby brings almost a decade of experience working on transit policy at the national level as Director of Policy Development and Research at the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

San Francisco Baykeeper filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration to list the local population of longfin smelt as an endangered species. Scientists and environmentalists say that reduction is a direct result of too much water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin river system being diverted to farms and other water users rather than flowing through the bay to the Pacific.

The Getty Center and the City of Los Angeles announced the Los Angeles African American Historic Places Project. The work aims to identify and help preserve the places that best represent these stories and work with communities to develop creative approaches that meet their own aims for placemaking, identity, and empowerment. 

A study in Cityscape examined Los Angeles’s Measure JJJ, which created a new inclusionary zoning program near rail transit stations. The researchers found evidence that the program resulted in almost as many building permits than the density bonus program. Second, detailed financial analyses of hypothetical new residential development demonstrate that that density increases coupled with affordability requirements in the TOC program is more financially attractive than exclusively market-rate development.

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