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CP&DR News Briefs, November 25, 2014: Review denied on ParkMerced ruling; AVAP EIR approved; SF to bid for 2024 Olympics

Martha Bridegam on
Nov 24, 2014

In land use news this week:

  • The State Supreme Court denied review of San Francisco Tomorrow v. City and County of San Francisco (ParkMerced Investors Properties), Case No. S221844. William Abbott of Abbott & Kindermann recently posted an analysis of this case, which approved a major rebuilding and expansion of the ParkMerced highrise complex in southwestern San Francisco. See also http://www.cp-dr.com/articles/node-3555.
  • The Strategic Growth Council announced it will move back its meeting on formal adoption of guidelines for the new Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities cap-and-trade grant program. Originally scheduled for December 11, the meeting was moved back to January 20, 2015. Some commenters had sought more review of the proposed guidelines, in part because precise numbers on emissions monitoring and application scoring were still awaited as of the last publicly circulated draft. The League of California Cities' comment was among those asking for more public discussion. For more on comments from advocates for affordable housing and rural areas, and hopes in areas defined as disadvantaged under the program, see http://www.cp-dr.com/articles/node-3627.
  • The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on November 12 certified the EIR for the Antelope Valley Area Plan (AVAP) and gave initial consideration to the Plan itself. The Statement of Proceedings reports the Board certified the EIR, adopted the Findings of Fact and Statement of Overriding Considerations, and adopted the plan's Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program. The Board did not actually approve the AVAP nor its related zoning changes, instead stating its intent to adopt a list of revisions, including a promise that "if a conflict exists" between the AVAP and "any new or existing Significant Ecological Area (SEA) ordinance" the AVAP would control. (As discussed in CP&DR's news feature on the AVAP at http://www.cp-dr.com/articles/node-3603, an SEA Ordinance for areas both in and outside the AVAP area is moving on a separate track in the county's General Plan revision process.) The amendments that the Supervisors previewed are mainly technical but in general reduce possible impediments to project approvals. One amendment also spells out the requirement of compliance with the Southern California Association of Governments' Sustainable Communities Strategy. For plan materials see http://planning.lacounty.gov/tnc/. The Supervisors' Nov. 12 agenda and materials are at http://bos.co.la.ca.us/BoardMeeting/BoardAgendas.aspx.
  • San Francisco's city government announced it would bid to host the 2024 Olympics.
  • The Saltonstall petitioners lost again at the appellate level in their effort to halt construction on the new Sacramento Kings arena. Dale Kasler of the Sacramento Bee has details. Earlier the Bee reported the Kings basketball team released plans for mixed-use residential, commercial and office construction ancillary to their new arena in downtown Sacramento.
  • A lawsuit charging that a tribe did not follow the Williamson Act has been dismissed by a Santa Barbara County judge. The Santa Maria Times reported Judge Timothy Staffel dismissed a lawsuit by the Save the Valley group against Vincent Armenta, as tribal chair of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. According to the paper, the suit alleged that Armenta failed properly to assume responsibility for Williamson Act ag-preservation commitments when the Tribe purchased the 1400-acre Camp 4 property, because the Tribe wrote clauses into the transfer documents "including that nothing in the assumption agreement would limit or erase the tribe's sovereign immunity or change the tribe's terms of ownership." The paper reported Judge Staffel cited the Tribe's sovereign immunity in dismissing the case.
  • The State Water Board issued a proposed ruling November 21 responding to 37 challenges, mainly by municipal governments, to Los Angeles' main MS4 permit, issued November 8, 2012, limiting pollution in runoff from local streets and municipal storm sewers. The permit affects the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers but not Long Beach. The permit imposes Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) limits on the amounts of trash and specified pollutants allowed to flow out of municipal storm sewers. The water board announced a workshop on the proposed ruling December 16 and set a public comment deadline of January 21, 2015. As of this writing the text had not yet been posted on the Los Angeles area stormwater page of the State Water Board, which is at http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/losangeles/water_issues/programs/stormwater/municipal/. The proposed ruling would agree to some revisions in the 2012 permit's language but would essentially uphold it. Among the proposed revisions is an alternative program to reward extra effort toward compliance for dischargers that cannot meet the prescribed water quality standards immediately. The proposed ruling interacts with, but is not directly pursuant to, a major 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on LA-area local governments' responsibility for cleaning up municipal street runoff, NRDC v. County of Los Angeles (2013) 133 S.Ct. 710. (The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a Ninth Circuit offshoot from that case last spring, on which see http://www.cp-dr.com/articles/node-3489 for coverage and links to context.) The litigation, however, concerns the 2001 predecessor to the 2012 regulation at issue in the new draft ruling. And in the new draft ruling the water board says the 2013 Supreme Court case "did not invalidate any requirements of the Los Angeles MS4 Order and did not result in any changes to the Order." This summer the EPA featured the Los Angeles runoff permit among several examples of innovation in the field: see http://www.epa.gov/npdes/pubs/sw_ms4_compendium.pdf. The program requires permittees to require building owners to either retain runoff on their property or do something to compensate for failure to do so.
  • The Association of California Water Agencies warns ahead of its conference in San Diego Dec. 2-5 that exhibitors may receive calls from people falsely claiming to be with a company contracted to provide housing for exhibitors. The conference itself has a solid-looking lineup of panels.
  • Sacramento is still courting officials of Major League Soccer, hoping to land an expansion team.
  • The State Supreme Court rejected a depublication request in City of San Diego v. Shapiro, the case invalidating the San Diego special hotel tax district that had been meant to pay for a convention center expansion. For coverage of the underlying case see http://www.cp-dr.com/articles/node-3545.
  • Land use obsessives may or may not find it heartwarming that the Ocean Beach Town Council in San Diego County voted to designate the Ocean Beach Community Plan as grand marshal of the OB Holiday Parade.
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