Who is causing California’s housing shortage?

Wiener World on your block

If you don’t want Wiener World on your block, learn more about the attempts to remover local community jurisdiction over land use and zoning and the players in Sacramento who are trying to gentrify the state. Attend the April 28th forum on SB 827 and Beyon.

Everyone has a theory about who’s to blame for the housing shortage that’s driving up prices and chasing families out of the region and state.

A new poll offers surprising insights into where most of us point the finger: not at the government officials who control what homes are built where, but at the tech companies and the real estate developers trying to maximize profits.

Experts say finding someone to blame is not that simple. The real answer, they say, lies tangled in a complicated web that implicates everyone involved, from businesses to local elected officials to your next door neighbor. And the stakes are high for policy makers trying to untangle that web as the housing crisis intensifies. To solve the problem, it’s crucial to understand the factors that turned the state’s real estate market into one of the country’s most dysfunctional… (more)

Who do you trust and who do you blame for the sorry state of the state of California? Why are there so many empty units if housing the homeless is a priority? Getting those units filled should be the top goal, not centralized top down planning. Attend the April 28th forum on SB 827 and Beyond.

 

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CaRLA lines up cities to sue

Renters group sues city over Haskell vote

By Emilie Raguso: berkeleyside – excerpt

As promised in February, a Bay Area renters group has sued the Berkeley City Council — again — over its rejection of a three-unit infill housing project on Haskell Street…

The renters group says the zoning board found the project in line with all city development standards, and that council did not cite grounds to reject it. The group says the state Housing Accountability Act is the legal basis for its lawsuit… (more)

San Mateo denies housing. CaRLA fights back.

San Mateo, CA – March 1, 2018: Today we signaled our intent to file a lawsuit against the City of San Mateo, CA alleging that the city violated the state’s Housing Accountability Act with an unlawful denial of a housing project. In 2017, a modest housing project was proposed for 4 West Santa Inez Avenue that would add 10 units to the Bay Area’s already scarce housing supply. On February 5, 2018, San Mateo City Council voted to deny the project.

The City of San Mateo denied the project on the grounds that “the structures, site plan, and landscaping are not in scale and are not harmonious with the
character of the neighborhood”. We allege that the city’s reason for denial of the project was based on subjective criteria, which is a violation of the Housing Accountability Act’s requirement that projects be denied for objective, well-defined criteria…(more)

The best reasons to oppose SB 827 are YIMBY, SFBARF and CaRLA. They plan to take local control away from cities, demanding high density housing everywhere, and then sue when cities don’t meet their demands.

How affordable housing mandates make housing more expensive

 : latimes – excerpt

This month the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether to hear a legal challenge to San Jose’s controversial inclusionary housing ordinance. Enacted in 2010 and upheld by California’s top court in June, this zoning law requires housing developers of 20 or more units to sell 15% of them at prices far below their market value or pay a six-figure fee instead…(more)

Westwood group sues, files petition against proposed UCLA housing project

By Jacob Preal : dailybruin – excerpt

A Westwood group is suing the University of California and UCLA over a proposed student-housing project in Westwood Village.

The Westwood History and Architecture Association and Steve Sann, chair of the Westwood Community Council, filed a petition Wednesday ordering UCLA to halt a building project at the UCLA Extension site building on Le Conte Avenue. The suit claims that UCLA and the UC have not adequately followed California Environmental Quality Act guidelines.

The act requires building projects adhere to the rules of state and local agencies regarding their possible environmental impacts. The UC’s CEQA handbook requires that UC campuses make their buildings compatible with their surroundings…(more)

Will California’s Water Wars Create A Constitutional Conundrum?

: KQED – excerpt

With nearly half the state back in drought, California’s water regulator held a contentious hearing in Sacramento on Tuesday on whether to make permanent the temporary water bans enacted by Governor Jerry Brown during the 2014-2017 drought.

The board announced it will revisit the proposed measures in March while it makes some minor revisions to the draft proposals.

Some of the proposed measures relate to restrictions against over watering lawns; hosing down driveways and sidewalks;  washing vehicles with hoses not equipped with a shut-off nozzle; and running non-recirculated water in an ornamental fountain. Certain exceptions would apply for public health and safety reasons or commercial agricultural purposes… (more)

 

Billionaire petitions US Supreme Court to keep people off beach

By : curbed – excerpt

Vinod Khoslas, the billionaire founder of Sun Microsystems, is trying to take his ten-year battle to get exclusive access to one of the Bay Area’s most beautiful and coveted public beaches all the way to the US Supreme Court.

The San Jose Mercury News reported Thursday that Khosla has appealed a unanimous ruling of the First District Court of Appeals against him last August, which held that Khosla has habitually violated California law by trying to bar the only gate to Martins Beach in San Mateo County… (more)

When someone buys property under certain conditions do they have the right to sue to change those condiitions?

Lawsuit blocks Measure B funds

Local transit projects delayed by legal challenge

Santa Clara County’s new Measure B sales tax has already collected tens of millions of dollars for a multitude of transportation upgrades, but that money is now embargoed from being spent.

An appellate lawsuit filed by Mountain View attorney Gary Wesley on behalf of Saratoga resident Cheriel Jensen is blocking the Valley Transportation Authority from spending any of the $6.5 billion in revenues expected to come from the new tax. For local communities, this means a series of crucial projects — such as plan for Caltrain grade separation and new bikeways — could be on hold for up to two years before the suit is resolved.

The suit seeks to dismantle the sales tax by arguing that the language of Measure B was overly broad and lacked specifics as to how the money would be spent…

Prior to the election, the sales tax raised some political controversy, especially in the northern areas of the county. Elected officials from Palo Alto, Mountain View and other neighboring cities complained that San Jose officials held too much sway on the VTA board. A coalition of nine cities demanded restrictions on how the money would be spent, particularly on how much would be spent bringing a BART extension to San Jose…(more)

Proposed CEQA Guideline for Highway Projects Promises Flexibility In the Measurement of Traffic Impacts, But Delivers Ambiguity

By: Robert D. Thornton, Benjamin Z. Rubin, Liz Klebaner : 

In response to material opposition from many of the transportation agencies in the State, the California Natural Resources Agency  has proposed to provide transportation agencies with the discretion to determine the metric for evaluating traffic impacts of highways and road projects.  Unfortunately, instead of putting the issue to bed, the proposed regulation introduces considerable ambiguity that will likely lead to a CEQA challenge if any project EIR relies solely on Level of Service (LOS) to evaluate the significance of traffic impacts.  The proposed regulation states:

For roadway capacity projects, agencies have discretion to determine the appropriate measure of transportation impact consistent with CEQA and other applicable requirements. 

The language “consistent with CEQA and other applicable requirements” arguably creates ambiguity as to whether transportation agencies may rely solely on measures of traffic congestion such as LOS to determine the significance of traffic impacts, or whether the State’s climate change legislation mandates a “Vehicle Miles Traveled” (VMT) analysis.

As we have previously reported, the proposed SB 743 implementing regulation represents a paradigm shift in the evaluation of transportation impacts of road and development projects, by replacing the traffic congestion-based LOS metric with the VMT metric.  With VMT, the very acts of driving a vehicle or inducing vehicle travel by improving roadway infrastructure is an environmental impact requiring analysis and potentially mitigation.  The proposed regulation generally removes traffic congestion from the required scope of a CEQA impacts analyses… (more)

Trial begins over SF waterfront height limits as state seeks to overturn Prop. B

By Michael Barba : sfeaminer – excerpt

A trial that will determine whether San Francisco voters will be stripped of their power to decide how tall developers can build along the waterfront began Wednesday with an attorney questioning the decision-making ability of voters…

The State Lands Commission, which manages public land in California including the waterfront and is chaired by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, sued San Francisco over the ballot measure that year.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos must now decide whether to invalidate Prop. B.

Jacobs argued that voters are too uneducated on ballot issues to decide the future of major development projects and limited in their ability to tweak the projects by either voting yes or no on a project. Instead, Jacobs said the Port Commission should be in charge of waterfront height limits…(more)

Are the stupid San Francisco citizens dumb  enough to vote for a former mayor who sues and insults them while he is running for office? The power grabs are coming at us from the top down brigade.

“They are attempting to put the very notion that citizens in California have a right to govern themselves on trial,” Golinger told the San Francisco Examiner…(more)

 

Prop. 54: A Ballot Initiative That Worked

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)