By Liam Dillon : latimes – excerpt
Bike lanes, mixed-use residential and commercial construction near transit and other development projects might get easier to build in California after regulators on Monday released a long-awaited overhaul of the state’s environmental law.
Regulators say the proposed changes, which modify rules under the California Environmental Quality Act or CEQA, will help the state meet its ambitious goals to combat climate change. That law requires developers to disclose and minimize a project’s impact on the environment…
“These rules make clear that reducing vehicle miles resulting from projects is a state goal and an environmental benefit,” said Ken Alex, director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, in a statement.
Modifications to CEQA are often politically fraught because numerous powerful interest groups, including builders, environmentalists and unions, have significant stakes in how the existing process works…
Regulators are opening public comment on the CEQA overhaul in the coming weeks and will hold at least one public hearing before the proposal becomes final, according to a spokeswoman for the California Natural Resources Agency. Regulators are hoping the new rules will go into effect sometime in 2018… (more)
This article that ran in the LA Times holds very little useful information. If this is the future of the news we are in trouble. (This happens to be the first story I have seen since the Sales of Times to Meredith was announced.)
Regulators don’t overhaul CEQA laws. Legislators do. This appears to refer to a bill that has not yet passed, with no reference to the identity of the bill, the author, or Committee the bill is in or came out of. There is no indication of where in the process the bill is now. This looks like a PR piece not a news article.
If you agree with that statement, and want a transparent system that informs and engages the public in legislative and administrative changes BEFORE they become law instead of notifications after, please consider supporting this letter and sending it along with your personal comments on this process to the recipients. This letter was drafted after much time and consideration by a coalition of neighborhood groups our supervisors.
Dear Mr. Joslin,
Please see attached letter from the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods (CSFN) on the Urban Design Guidelines (UDGs).
Thank you very much.
Rose Hillson for George Wooding, President
CSFN-UDGs Letter 2017Nov21.pdf
Text version: CSFN UDGs Letter 2017Nov21.docx
BY ALLISON LEVITSKY : padailypost – excerpt
Palo Alto’s regional voice on housing matters has been amplified with the election of Mayor Greg Scharff as vice president of the Association of Bay Area Governments, or ABAG. “We’re actually a regional player at the moment,” Scharff told the Post Thursday (Nov. 16).
Scharff pulled in 123 votes from Bay Area City Council members and county supervisors, more than his two opponents combined…
By Miller Starr Regalia : jdsupra – excerpt
On October 15, 2017, Governor Brown vetoed SB 80 (Wieckowski), a bill that would have added to CEQA’s already detailed notice requirements.
Specifically, SB 80 would have amended Public Resources Code §§ 21092.2, 21092.3, 21108 and 21152 so as to require, inter alia, that state and local lead agencies: (1) offer to provide scoping notices, notices of preparation, and notices of determination by email to persons so requesting; (2) post all such notices on the agency’s website (if any); and (3) file with OPR or the County Clerk, as applicable, all Notices of Exemption (NOEs) for approved projects found exempt pursuant to the categorical exemptions contained in the CEQA Guidelines (as opposed to other possible bases for exemption).
The bill would have also required county clerks to post on their counties’ Internet Web sites EIR scoping notices and notices of preparation for EIRs and negative declarations, for specified periods… (more)
By Atlas Novack : smmirror – excerpt
There’s nothing politicians and lobbyists in this state hate more than the ballot initiative process to which they all pay hypocritical verbal homage every chance they get.
It’s easy to see why they don’t like lawmaking by the public, the essence of initiatives: The process takes important issues out of their hands. It can alter their working conditions in ways they don’t like.
Sure, politicians will occasionally make use of initiatives, as Republican businessman John Cox and Orange County GOP Assemblyman Travis Allen are doing now in making pet initiatives the centerpieces of their underdog campaigns for governor. Cox is pushing a measure to multiply by 1,000 the number of state legislators, while Allen has virtually appropriated the effort to repeal the state’s new gas tax increase…
But politicians generally hate ballot initiatives unless they’re making such use of them. Brown, for example, opposed the landmark 1978 Proposition 13 property tax cuts because they interfered with his own efforts at tax reform. Most legislators fought tooth and nail against Proposition 20, which created the Coastal Commission and has limited development near beaches and view areas.
But it’s hard to find an initiative that has affected legislators more than Proposition 54, which passed just over one year ago and requires that proposed laws cannot be passed unless they’ve been available in print or via the Internet for at least 72 hours before passage.
Because of Prop. 54, voters could see the final form of Brown’s proposal for California to join a Western regional electricity grid before it actually passed, rather than having to react after the fact as has happened with many last-minute bills in recent years. Because of that notice and the possibility this plan might cause a new energy crunch, opponents could organize loud protests and the proposition died – for now…
No one can be sure just how many lousy measures Prop. 54 spared Californians, because the notorious gut-and-amend proposals that have been common in recent decades were drastically lessened this fall. In that process, legislative proposals which already have a name and number have often been totally changed to cover subjects unrelated to those affected by the original bill. When that’s done at the last moment, the public has no chance for any input… (more)
by jon wetheirm : cbsnews – excerpt
(includes video and a graphic map that charts ground movement)
The Millennium Tower opened to great acclaim with high-priced, posh apartments. But those accolades and property values are sinking, along with the building’s foundation
It’s a story as old as cities themselves: prosperity comes to town and triggers a building boom. In modern San Francisco, rows of skyscrapers have begun lining the downtown streets and recasting the skyline, monuments to the triumph of the tech sector. Leading this wave, the Millennium Tower. 58 stories of opulence, it opened in 2009 to great acclaim, then the tallest residential building west of the Mississippi. Though priced in the millions, the inventory of posh apartments moved quickly. Yet for all its curb appeal, the building has, quite literally, one fundamental problem: it’s sinking into mud and tilting toward its neighbors. Engineering doesn’t often make for rollicking mystery, but San Francisco is captivated by the tale of the leaning tower and the lawsuits it’s spawned. It’s a story positioned — albeit at an angle — somewhere between civic scandal and civic curiosity, an illustration of what can happen when zeal for development overtakes common sense…
“Nobody has owned up to why this building is not performing.”… “Everybody is afraid to tell the truth. Because if we get to the bottom of this, they are worried that it is going to, in some ways, slow down the building boom that is happening in San Francisco.”… Aaron Peskin.…(more)