Slow growth advocates won eight of 14 easily classified local land use ballot measures in the March primary election. However, development supporters won elections in some long-time strongholds of slow growth, including Napa County and the City of Scotts Valley in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Welcome to Celebrity Architectural Boxing. In this corner is the reigning champion, the New Urbanism. (Cheers.) Although he looks older than his years, this youngster is a good citizen when it comes to walkable streets, parks, open spaces, human scale and contextualism. (Yay!!) On the other hand, he has suffered some defeats in his bouts with style. At times a golden haze of nostalgia descends over New Urbanism, like a scene out of "The Natural." (Boo-o-o-!!!)
A water connection fee charged by a special district is a development fee not subject to the constraints of Proposition 218, the Third District Court of Appeal has ruled. However, a "fire suppression" assessment levied by the same district is subject to Proposition 218 and required two-thirds voter approval.
The controversial formation an assessment district that includes territory outside the water district that will receive the money has been upheld by the First District Court of Appeal. The court rejected arguments that Solano County manipulated the formation and election processes to circumvent residents who objected to the county's plans.
Worried about water reliability and feeling neglected, Bay Area water agencies that get water from San Francisco's Hetch Hetchy system are taking the situation into their own hands. The agencies are working with state lawmakers on various approaches that would force San Francisco to repair and update the system, and would even let the agencies raise the capital improvement money themselves.
The Interior Department has announced plans to withdraw temporarily "critical habitat" designations for 19 different species of salmon and steelhead throughout the West. The March revelation came in the context of a federal judge's decision to order economic impact analyses of the critical habitat designations.
Dawn Serpa is president of The Surland Companies, a private, 13-year-old residential and commercial developer that builds 100 to 200 houses per year. It is currently building Redbridge in Tracy, a 450-home project that mixes an array of housing sizes and styles in one subdivision, and plans to build Tracy's first mixed-use urban village.
Unlike some developers, Serpa does not fear the "smart growth" movement. She even complains that many local regulations prevent traditional neighborhood developments. CP&
Remember the "see-through" office building phenomenon that hit Houston during the mid 1980s and then Los Angeles in the early 1990s? Well, it's back. This time, it is the Bay Area that is afflicted with empty office buildings.
A public agency's proposed water treatment plant is subject to local zoning and building ordinances, the Sixth District Court of Appeal has ruled. The court held that the Government Code exemption to local zoning for "facilities for the production, generation, storage or transmission of water" did not extend to a water treatment plant.