The 2003-04 legislative session has closed with the passage of dozens of mostly minor land use bills, and the failure of dozens of others. Still, lawmakers did pass a bipartisan measure creating a new Sierra Nevada Conservancy, and they continued to hammer on local governments about affordable housing development.
The City of Los Angeles will require economic impact studies for proposed Wal-Mart supercenters and certain other big box stores. The studies are intended to determine the effect of a new big box store on a neighborhood's existing jobs, wages and businesses.
Fighting over water is a popular sport in the West, where generations of lawyers have refined the practice until it approaches an art. Often, the quantities at stake are prodigious, the output of entire watersheds. In other instances, however, the volume is so minuscule as to leave outsiders puzzled by all the fuss. A dispute of the latter sort is threatening to break out in Ventura County, where a broad coalition has united behind one of the largest dam-removal projects in American history.
A ruling by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals appears to have thrown into doubt many of the approximately 100 mobile home rent control ordinances in effect in California cities and counties. A divided three-judge panel ruled that the City of Cotati's mobile home rent control ordinance was unconstitutional because, under the ordinance, the possibility existed that tenants might receive what amounts to a transfer of equity from landowners when tenants sell their mobile homes.
A ballot initiative that was adopted by a city council was not subject to review under the California Environmental Quality Act, even though the city deviated from state election law regarding ballot measures, the Fourth District Court of Appeal has ruled. The court held that the city's process did not deviate from the Elections Code requirements enough to make the city's action more than ministerial. Ministerial projects are exempt from CEQA.
A county airport land use commission may not exempt a specific plan adopted by a city or county from compatibility standards for development in the vicinity of an airport, according to a state attorney general's opinion. The opinion was written at the request of Riverside County.
California Planning & Development Report offers this list of land use bills that passed or failed in Sacramento during 2004. The governor has until the end of September to act on the legislation that received lawmakers' approval.
Now that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has received the California Performance Review, what will he do with it? This massive report is thousands of pages long and contains about 2,500 individual recommendations. Many are no-brainers, some are clearly from some interest group's agenda, and a few conflict with each other.
Is a proposed high-density project in Redwood City an example of smart growth, or a gridlock-inducing suburban nightmare? That is the question voters will answer in November, when they vote on whether to allow 17 high-rise towers to be built along the city's San Francisco Bay waterfront.
Every month when the news media reports the latest "record trade deficit," what often goes unsaid is that this deficit means cargo handlers in Southern California are busier than ever. With the country's ever-increasing reliance on imported materials and goods, the logistics industry appears to be thriving. But developing the warehouses and distribution centers has become an issue in many Southern California communities.