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CP&DR News Summary, February 18, 2014: Atkins Returns With Redevelopment Bill, Netflix On The Ballot

Martha Bridegam on
Feb 16, 2014

Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins has gotten to Governor Brown's desk with a new version of a bill to smooth recurring problems in the dissolution of local redevelopment agencies. A statement from Atkins' office said the bill is similar to last year's AB 662 but drops a provision on amendments to project contracts that led Brown to veto it. The revised bill contains continuity provisions that would allow projects begun under redevelopment agencies to be carried forward. They include infrastructure financing districts, reimbursement of expenses taken on by housing authorities, and authorization to use bond proceeds on already-approved projects. 

Proponents qualify Los Gatos ballot measure to authorize new Netflix HQ

Los Gatos will vote June 3 on the "Albright Way Initiative" to allow construction of a new headquarters for Netflix. Developer John Shenk received town council approval to exceed 35-foot height limits on the project, which calls for four office buildings and a parking garage, but the project has been blocked by litigation. The ballot measure would confirm the prior approval but it was disputed whether the lengthy proposal might also add permissions beyond what the council granted. Critics said it would allow the town's community development director to be the only approving authority for any subsequent changes to the project.

The San Jose Mercury News has coverage here. A city staff report and many public comment letters appear in the town council's February 3 agenda packet.

The staff report said the DA reviewed complaints about allegedly misleading claims by petition gatherers, including that Netflix might leave the area or that there would be "no money for schools," and concluded such statements could not be proven false, hence did not amount to violations of law. The town's page on the initiative is here

San Francisco to vote on requiring waterfront height variances by referendum

Emboldened by their "No Wall on the Waterfront" win last November, San Francisco neighborhood and open-space activists have qualified a new ballot measure to require a citywide vote on any proposal for a waterfront project to exceed currently zoned height limits. The measure presumably will go to a vote June 3, 2014. (Ballotpedia has more here. The proponents' site provides the measure's text.) 

The lawsuit met almost immediately with a lawsuit from and other opponents, who claim that the waterfront is the state's turf, not the city's. 

The proposal ties into raging citywide debates on whether residential high-rise construction will reduce housing costs by expanding supply or raise them by skewing the housing stock toward luxury, and on whether large-scale construction serves or marginalizes existing neighbors and public spaces. Projects at issue include a proposal to bring the Golden State Warriors basketball team to a new waterfront arena and a large planned redevelopment of post-industrial Pier 70 in the Dogpatch neighborhood. November's "wall on the waterfront" measure defeated the 8 Washington residential development with backing from many tenant activist groups although, as proposed, the project would have contributed $11 million in mitigation fees toward affordable housing.

More coverage of the 8 Washington debate is here. On the new ballot measure,SF Weekly's Joe Eskenazi has a news analysis with emphasis on the role of former mayor Art Agnos in organizing, especially against the Warriors proposal.

 San Clemente has a General Plan

San Clemente adopted a General Plan on February 4. The adoption included a zoning change to allow senior housing on a six-acre Shorecliffs Golf Course parcel previously zoned for hotel or timeshare use.  The package included a bicycle and pedestrian master plan, a climate action plan, and even an endorsement of skateboards as "an efficient and legitimate transportation mode." Criticism at the adoption meeting came primarily from residents and management of the Capistrano Shores Mobile Home Park. City officials offered assurances that the park's designation would not change under the Plan. Park residents had previously expressed alarm over Coastal Plan drafts they viewed as seeking to dismantle their neighborhood for open space. 

 The council now turns to implementation steps: revising zoning and the Housing Element, and preparing a Local Coastal Program to receive delegated permitting authority from the Coastal Commission. The city's Web page on the plan is here at http://san-clemente.org/sc/GP2Column.aspx?PageID=1000. Details on the approval meeting are here and, in Council minutes here.

 Escondido Approves 99-Cent Store

Interpreting its unusual ordinance that restricts the location of  "fixed-price" discount stores," Escondido has voted to permit a 99-Cent Store in the downtown area. Old Navy recently left the downtown area, and a debate ensued as to whether to permit a discount store in its place. 

 99-Cent Stores are often dismissed as being too downscale for many retail districts and creating problems for neighbors � for example, shopping carts sometimes stack up at nearby bus stops. But as retailing has changed over the past few years resistance has lessened.

 The Escondido Planning Commission denied the project, claiming that it violated the Downtown Specific Plan, which calls for creative and arts-related uses of downtown spaces.  But the City Council overturned the Planning Commission on a 3-2 vote.

 

CP&DR at California APA Conference October 1-4

CP&DR supports APA conference in Anaheim (and online), Oct. 1-4, with panel discussion, booth, special offers. >>read more

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