The housing market slide that began during late 2006 and picked up speed in 2007 has become a full-fledged disaster in 2008. Housing starts are at their lowest level since anyone started keeping track, and prices continue to fall. Neither developers nor lenders are willing to start new projects, and analysts say the market may not turn around for at least three or four years.
A charming anecdote from the childhood of the future Queen Victoria can be found in Lytton Strachey's classic biography. When still a young noblewoman of five or six, she is introduced to the aging King George IV. "Give me your paw," says the fat, dissolute monarch to the future Empress of India, who duly complies. At that moment, the biographer writes memorably, "Two ages touched hands."
Two ages also touch hands, in a metaphorical way, in the specific plan for Loma Vista in Clovis.
In this month's collection of land use news from around the state: The California Redevelopment Association has sued the state over a shift of revenues to schools; a San Diego property owner is ordered to pay the city $4.3 million in attorney fees; corruption in San Francisco; a CEQA lawsuit in Healdsburg; a subdivision in Tuolumne County; Sacramento acquires dilapidated downtown properties; land conservation in Sonoma County; Diablo Grande gets new owners; K rat critical habitat shrinks.
With an economy based on construction, shipping and warehousing, and heavy industry – and with some of the most conservative politics in the state – the Inland Empire would appear to be an unlikely place for a "green" movement. However, a public-private initiative is under way that seeks nothing less than a transformation of the region to one based on green technology and sustainable living.
Little Italy is one of San Diego's most popular neighborhoods today. In some ways a high-priced residential district with an Italian theme, Little Italy also provides an example of what a city can do to restore a down-on-its heels area. Twelve years ago, few had heard of this area north of downtown San Diego. But since the late 1990s, the area has grown and prospered.
The California Fish and Game Commission must consider listing the California tiger salamander on the state endangered species list, the Third District Court of Appeal has ruled. The court determined that the Commission should have accepted a petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and considered adding the salamander to the list of species protected by the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). "The Commission acted outside the range of its discretion in denying the petition," the court concluded.
The California Supreme Court has accepted yet another California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) case for review, this one involving the question of whether denial of a conditional use permit extension is subject to CEQA. In an unrelated matter, the court has dismissed a Proposition 218 case regarding assessments for a business improvement district.
A quarry in San Diego and a closed garbage dump in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson provide the locations of huge urban infill projects. The San Diego project recently won City Council approval, while work has begun on the Carson development.
In a decision with enormous potential ramifications for environmental regulation, a federal appellate court has ruled that a Bureau of Reclamation mandate requiring a Ventura County water district ensure adequate river flow for an endangered fish species was a physical appropriation of the water. The court ruled that the Casitas Municipal Water District's claims should be considered under the physical takings doctrine, not under the much narrower regulatory takings standard.
The City of Rancho Palos Verdes' 30-year moratorium on new home construction in an area the city says is prone to landslides is an unconstitutional taking of private property, the Second District Court of Appeal has ruled. The decision marks a rare takings victory for property owners in state court.