Voters in the Santa Clara County city of Morgan Hill have changed their minds and approved a growth control modification to permit additional housing development in the downtown area. Measure A keeps in place Morgan Hill's population cap of 48,000 by 2020, but permits 500 more units downtown than had been allowed.
In November 2008, the nearly identical Measure H failed by 10 votes. When the governor called a special election, the City Council quickly placed Measure A on the May 19 ballot. This time supporters ran a more aggressive campaign, winning 58.8% of the vote.
Downtown Morgan Hill has rebounded during recent years, but city officials and a downtown association say the district would benefit from additional private investment and a built-in base of residents to patronize businesses.
A residential development control system first approved by voters 30 years ago limited downtown development. Measure A modifies the growth-control system in a fashion that supporters say encourages "smart growth," mixed-use development and housing that appeals to a broader demographic than Morgan Hill's single-family subdivisions. City councilmembers envision a bustling, walkable neighborhood and often point to nearby Los Gatos as a model.
After years of study and negotiations, the San Jose City Council has adopted a citywide inclusionary housing ordinance. The measure, which takes effect in 2013 (unless certain market conditions improve), requires market-rate developers to make 15% of new units available to households with incomes of no more than the median. If developers choose to meet the mandate off-site, the affordable housing requirement rises to 20%. The city has had similar requirements for the downtown area for years.
Slow-growth advocates won major victories in November 3 local elections when voters rejected a housing project in Davis and a shopping center in Mendocino County, as well as sewer extensions in Modesto.
But slow-growth forces suffered some unexpected losses. In Santa Barbara and Ventura, two cities with a history of voter-controlled development, initiatives that would have imposed strict height limits on new buildings were rejected. In the Bay Area, Walnut Creek voters approved amended parking standards necessary for the construction of a Neiman Marcus store downtown.
Opponents of the proposed construction of two houses on a coastal bluff in San Clemente may pursue their lawsuit to overturn the California Coastal Commission's approval of the projects, even though the suit was filed after a statute of limitations had ostensibly expired, the Fourth District Court of Appeal has ruled.
A state appellate court has upheld the City of Los Angeles's refusal to grant a conditional use permit for the sale and on-site consumption of alcohol at an adult cabaret. The court ruled that the decision to deny the permit strictly concerned alcohol and did not prohibit the expression of protected speech.
The California Supreme Court has reversed an appellate court ruling that regional park and open-space districts said would have greatly diminished their ability to acquire and manage land. The court said that a regional park and open-space district can dispose of property if it has not officially declared – such as by adopting a resolution – that the property is "dedicated" for use as a park and open space.
In this month's roundup of land use news, both the developer of a Calaveras County golf course built without permits and the county must decide how to proceed after supervisors refused to approve the project after-the-fact; the Obama administation has reversed a controverial Bush-era Endangered Species Act rule; a conservation plan for an endangered salamander in Sonoma County has died; developer DMB Associates has announced it is abandoning a new town proposal in San Benito County but has a new 12,000-unit project in Redwood City; and a whistleblower lawsuit over redwoods logging has been settled.
A City of Los Angeles ordinance that subjects replacement rental units to the city's rent control scheme has been upheld by the Second District Court of Appeal. The court rejected the argument that the ordinance violates the Costa-Hawkins Act, which exempts newly constructed units from local rent control measures. >>read more
The San Bernardino Local Agency Formation Commission may proceed with the proposed consolidation of two water districts, the Second District Court of Appeal has ruled. The court rejected the argument of one district that the proposed consolidation is not subject to the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Government Reorganization Act and that the consolidation is actually a dissolution.
A state appellate court has upheld a Santa Clara Valley Water District rate increase as exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act, rejecting multiple arguments from a retail water company that the increase was subject to environmental review.
In balloting November 4 on local land use measures in California, slow-growth advocates won 22 of 39 elections. Opponents of development rejected an ambitious plan for the San Diego waterfront, endorsed a tight growth control initiative in Redondo Beach, and extended agricultural land protections in Napa and Solano County. But pro-growth forces won high-profile victories in Oxnard, where a subsequent vote requirement was proposed for most projects, and in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, San Marcos and Redwood City.
Redevelopment may have been the biggest winner in Tuesday's primary election. Statewide, voters rejected Proposition 98, an initiative to prohibit the use of eminent domain for economic development purposes. In San Francisco, voters supported a huge redevelopment project at the former Hunter's Point shipyard and Candlestick Point. And in Napa County, voters rejected a slow-growth initiative that was aimed at halting redevelopment of a former industrial site just south of Napa.