Cities and counties of all sizes are adopting regulations to limit development of big box stores. Jurisdictions as different as the City of Los Angeles and sparsely populated Tuolumne County are considering or have adopted new regulations.
The Bush administration announced it has dropped a plan to relax federal regulation of wetlands. For most of 2003, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers worked on a proposal to redefine which streams, ponds, wetlands and other seasonal and permanent bodies of water would be protected under the Clean Water Act.
A proposed 5,800-unit housing development in the rugged hills between the San Fernando Valley and Santa Clarita is generating controversy, intergovernmental friction and litigation even before an environmental impact report has been produced.
An initiative passed by Burbank voters that sought to restrict the expansion of Burbank Airport has been struck down by the Second District Court of Appeal. The unanimous three-judge appellate panel ruled that the State Aeronautics Act gives legislative authority for airport expansions and relocations exclusively to City Councils and Boards of Supervisors, thereby prohibiting initiatives and referenda.
The Sixth District Court of Appeal has allowed a Santa Clara County landowner to exclude his property from a subdivision approved in 1970. The exclusion was permitted by a rarely used provision of the Subdivision Map Act.
Tom Mullen was a Riverside County supervisor from 1995 until January 2003. He was the initial proponent on the Board of Supervisors of taking a comprehensive approach to development, habitat and transportation planning. That effort eventually became known as the Riverside County Integrated Project (RCIP). Mullen spoke with CP&DR about the RCIP.
Calveras County supervisors approved a 3,250-acre residential and golf course resort project near the lower foothills community of Copperopolis in mid-December. The following day, the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors voted to sue its northern neighbor because of traffic concerns about the project.
The economy may be a little sluggish, but housing prices throughout California have not stopped going up. So it's not surprising that cities and counties throughout California appear to have developed a new interest in "inclusionary zoning" programs, which require housing developers to set aside 10% to 20% of their units for low- and moderate-income residents.
Long criticized as a regulatory laggard, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District appears to be only one year away from becoming the first air district in the state to levy air quality impact fees on all new developments. The proposed fee would be based on the size and type of project, and development proponents whose projects meet certain criteria could minimize or avoid the fee all together.
Riverside's University Village - where city officials permitted a 25% reduction of required parking spaces - is evidence that when merchants, developers and a municipality are willing to flex, new retail development can thrive in existing urban areas.