When 5.7 million people say they want to shield local funding from grabbing hands – as they did in November -- that should be the end of the story. At least, that's what California's redevelopment agencies would hope after this annus horribilis in the redevelopment world.
In Year Three of the Great Recession, it's comforting to think that California has heard all the bad news it's going to hear. Or at least we're so accustomed to bad news, that we've stopped getting depressed by it. As a result, many of this year's top stories come with silver linings.
The no-growth vs. slow-growth vs. build-everything debate has become a faint murmur, since not much of anything is getting built anyway. What is getting built, though, is generally pleasing to the smart growth crowd.
Fans of infrastructure development have surely cheered the progress on projects like High Speed Rail and Los Angeles Metro's 30/10 Initiative. Then again, skeptics may be assuring themselves that these projects will never get built.
Relations between the City of Alameda and developer SunCal appear to have soured in the wake of voters' overwhelming defeat of SunCal's plan to redevelop Alameda Naval Air Station. Three days after 85% of voters rejected SunCal's plan during a February 2 special election, city officials sent SunCal a notice of default, the first step in ending SunCal's exclusive negotiating agreement to redevelop the base.
The nonprofit organization GreenInfo Network has released a newly revised database that attempts to identify every publicly protected parcel of open land in California, ranging from national forest to urban pocket park. The database inventories 49 million acres of protected land composed of 51,500 separate holdings owned by 860 governmental agencies or nonprofit organizations. Downloadable for free, the information should be of use to planners, academics, government agencies, nonprofit organization, businesses and others, said Larry Orman, GreenInfo Network executive director.
Opponents of the Gold Rush Ranch 1,600-unit housing development and golf resort in Sutter Creek submitted referendum petitions with 468 signatures in early February (see CP&DR Local Watch, January 15, 2010). If as few as one-third of those signatures is valid, the referendum of the Gold Rush Ranch specific plan and general plan amendment would qualify for the ballot, possibly as soon as June.
Characterized as "the last piece in the puzzle" for Chula Vista bayfront redevelopment, a land swap between the San Diego Unified Port District and developer Pacifica Holdings has been approved by the district and the City of Chula Vista.
San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Dianne Jacob has asked the state Public Utilities Commission to reconsider its approval of the Sunrise Powerlink transmission corridor because of its potential to make the unincorporated community of Alpine into "a ghost town" due to years of construction.
A $400 million economic stimulus grant from the federal government for the proposed Transbay Terminal in San Francisco will provide the final piece of financing for construction of the first, $1.2 billion phase of the terminal project. However, federal transportation officials appear to have stepped into the middle of a dispute between local officials and the California High Speed Rail Authority over the precise terminus for high-speed rail in San Francisco by siding with the locals. In addition, one rail authority board member, former judge and state Sen.
Local road and street maintenance needs an additional $71 billion investment over the next 10 years, according to a study prepared by the California State Association of Counties and the League of California Cities. The study identified $99.7 billion worth of maintenance needed to roads, streets and their essential components, such as storm drains, sidewalks and signals. However, only $28.3 billion is expected to be available.
It's official: 2009 was the slowest year for new housing construction since the 1940s. Builders pulled permits for only 36,209 housing units in 2009, according to the Construction Industry Research Board. That was a little more than half of the 64,962 housing starts in 2008, which had been the record post-war low.