The state Office of Planning and Research has released a public draft of the update to its General Plan Guidelines for the state, beginning the public review period of the draft. The "general plan guidelines package," when it is completed, will include new guidelines for general plans, along with a GIS data mapping tool that will allow communities to access large amounts of free data in crafting their general plans, and an easily navigable website. The draft does not incorporate any changes from legislation in the current cycle, such as SB 379. These changes will be incorporated after the public comment period, prior to finalizing the draft. The general plan guidelines document updated with sections on visioning, community engagement, social equity, resilience, economic development, healthy communities, and climate change, as well as links to data, tools, resources, and model policies throughout. The general plan guidelines GIS based data mapping tool, currently in beta being updated during this review, will allow all users access to large amounts of free data, organized by elements and by themes, for creating their general plans. Public comment period ends December 5. (See CP&DR's preview of the general plan guidelines.)
Affordable Housing Sought for Treasure Island
San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim is pushing the Treasure Island development of over 8,000 residences to include 40 percent affordable and middle-income housing, a significant increase from the currently-approved 27 percent. Kim's proposal hinges on this year's AB 2, which establishes a Community Revitalization and Investment Authorities, allowing cities to invest property tax funds into affordable housing. Lennar Urban, the developer of the site, is unlikely to budge to 40 percent, but it could up the ante to 30 percent if it works out a deal with the state. "We have an existing development agreement in place with specific provisions for affordable housing and community benefits. If we and our partner, the city, mutually determine that this legislation creates additional funding opportunities for the project, we will move toward the 30 percent goal as outlined in our agreement," Lennar Urban regional vice president Kofi Bonner told the San Francisco Business Times. (See CP&DR coverage of Treasure Island's EIR.)
S.D. Supervisor Horn Accused of Conflict of Interest Over Development Approval
California's Fair Political Practices Commission has advised San Diego County Supervisor Bill Horn to recuse himself from a key vote on a 1,700-home development in Lilac Hills because he has a conflict of interest stemming from a property he owns near the project. The letter could spell bad news for the project, as Horn has received contributions from the developer and could prove the key vote to approval of the project, which would vastly increase the city General Plan's call for little more than 100 homes to be developed. The FPPC letter states that he has a conflict of interest because his property lies 1.3 miles from the nearest boundary of the proposal. "Under these facts, a reasonable inference can be made that the financial effect of such a major development in a relatively undeveloped, rural area would have a reasonably foreseeable material financial effect on the market value of your real property," the letter states. Though he originally stated that he would indeed recuse himself from the vote, Horn has now said that he is seeking clarification of the FPPC letter and a reconsideration of their decision.
Sacramento Streetcar Seeks New Life
Bouncing back after voters within three blocks of Sacramento's proposed downtown streetcar project rejected the financing plan, officials are now hoping to ask several hundred downtown property members to put in $30 million for the estimated $150 million project. Though the original voting group of about 1,200 within three blocks of the project were not being asked to contribute to the project costs, they had a legal right to make a call on whether to set up the community facilities district at the time. However, under the new structure, a benefit assessment district, advocates must provide a detailed engineer's report to show the project's economic benefit for each property owner along the corridor. The federal government has indicated that it would likely provide Sacramento with a $75 million grant for the 3.3-mile project, and the remaining funds would likely come from the city of West Sacramento, Sacramento County, the city of Sacramento and the state. (See prior CP&DR coverage: here and here.)
S.F. Makes Evictions Harder
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee allowed legislation to pass that will make it more difficult for landlords to evict tenants for minor transgressions. Lee had previously indicated that he might veto the legislation because of a provision that would allow tenants to take on more roommates than their lease allows, but his office refused to take a stance on the bill, instead allowing it to pass without his signature. The legislation, drafted by Supervisor Jane Kim, is largely aimed at curbing widespread evictions over lease violations like improperly painting walls.
Warriors Complete Purchase of Arena Site
The Golden State Warriors have finalized plans to purchase a 12-acre site in San Francisco's Mission Bay neighborhood to build a new $1 billion stadium development within the next two years. The deal, reportedly brokered with owner Salesforce.com Inc for $150 million, shows that the Warriors have a level of confidence to break ground soon even as the project faces a potential legal challenge from the opposition group Mission Bay Alliance. However, Mayor Ed Lee has stated that a complex traffic deal recently cut between the Warriors, the University of California, San Francisco, and the city will undermine the popular arguments of the opposition group. The traffic deal creates an annual $10 million fund fed by Warriors arena revenue for extra traffic control officers, additional light-rail cars and other fixes for potential traffic issues. The Warriors expect to have the arena up and running in time for the 2018-19 NBA season.
Report: Segregation in L.A. Declining
A new report finds that segregation in the Los Angeles area is is on the decline, as homogenous white neighborhoods and homogenous black neighborhoods have been on the decline from 2000 to 2010. The report from the London School of Economics and Political Science finds that overall the amount of people living in strongly segregated neighborhoods has decreased from 40 percent in 2000 to 33 percent in 2010, while percentages of whites living in homogenous white neighborhoods has declined from 32 percent to 21 percent by gaining significant population shares of Hispanics and Asians. Percentages of blacks living in homogenous black neighborhoods has declined from 15 percent to 11 percent, with many neighborhoods becoming black/Hispanic neighborhoods. The study used geo-computational software EquiPop to create neighborhoods by expanding a buffer around a given location until it encompasses the nearest hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands neighbors and then computes the demographic composition of the buffer population.
L.A. Metro Touts TOD Sites
Seeking to dot Los Angeles with "transit-oriented communities" where developments occur within a two-mile radius of transit stations, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Authority has picked seven locations where it wants to see affordable housing connected to transit. Choosing locations in Burbank, Duarte, Willowbrook, Crenshaw, El Monte, Union Station, and North Hollywood, Metro will now work with local governments, community groups, and private developers to expand its development goals. While it doesn't have the power to change zoning laws or the money to develop the land itself, officials said the program is the beginning of a years-long process to tie together transportation and Los Angeles communities.
Port of Los Angeles Falls Short of Pollution Goals
The Port of Los Angeles admitted that it has not completed 11 of 52 measures it had agreed to implement a decade ago to reduce air pollution in exchange for expanding the 130-acre China Shipping terminal. A decade ago, community groups settled a lawsuit against the terminal expansion, requiring the port to put $50 million in a fund to offset the effects of more trucks, ships, and cargo equipment on nearby neighborhoods. Environmental groups and the port have pointed to the changes required at the China Shipping terminal as a model for how to reduce air pollution and public health effects at seaports. "This whole time we've been led to believe that this is a much cleaner project than it has been," said Mark Lopez, who heads East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice, told the L.A. Times. Nevertheless, the Port still says that even though it did not complete several of its required measures, it still has met overall air-pollution reduction targets. Port of L.A. Executive Director Gene Seroka told the L.A. Times that the port's air-quality measurements show pollution has declined to "levels that were even better than what we attempted to produce."
Judge Strikes Down S.F. Eviction Law
A Superior Court judge struck down a San Francisco ordinance forcing landlords to pay evicted tenants the difference between their current rent and the market rate for a similar unit in the city for two years, up to $50,000. In the ruling, Superior Court Judge Ronald Quidachay said the required payment exceed the Ellis Act's reasonable relocation assistance, which he said are those which would offset the immediate costs of eviction, including first and last month's rent, the tenant's security deposit, and moving expenses. He said additional charges to "subsidize the payment of rent that a displaced tenant will face on the open market, regardless of income ... have no relationship to the adverse impact caused by the landlord's decision to exit the rental market." Nevertheless, Supervisor David Campos, the author of the ordinance, said that the city would appeal the ruling. "I think that in the midst of the worst housing crisis in the history of San Francisco, adjusting relocation payments to reflect the crisis in which we are is a reasonable step," he told the SF Gate.
L.A. River Greenway Gets Boost
The City and County of Los Angeles will provide a joint investment of $6 million in the Los Angeles River Valley Greenway, a project related to the city's ambitious master plan for the river. The greenway will fill in 12 miles of gaps in the Valley portion of the river project to allow Angelenos to walk and bike from Canoga Park to Elysian Valley. The city and county will split the costs evenly, with the city's $3 million contribution coming from funds dedicated to open space preservation and park facilities. "With this investment, we take one more step in linking our communities to each other and to the backbone of our region — the Los Angeles River," Garcetti said in a press release.