Zoning changes could put a hurt on Black homeownership

By Badly Barber : wired – excerpt

I am a Black grandparent, homeowner and member of the Altadena Town Council. I grew up in a single-family home, and my husband and I have lived in our house in Altadena for more than two decades. Homeownership helped my family build wealth and provide stable, quality housing, and gave us our piece of the American Dream. But state and local politicians are threatening homeownership among the Black community by damaging single-family zoning laws…

Our homes have been sanctuaries that people know they can always return to, and we plan to pass our homes to our children so they can build wealth. We also are very engaged in our community because we have a vested interest as homeowners. Our homes, in a real way, give us political power and a voice at the table. But state and local elected officials in California–and across the United States– now seek to alter single-family zoning so that big developers can rush into middle- and working-class communities of color, demolish single-family homes and build pricey, market-rate apartments in their place. That dangerous agenda is playing out in California through Senate bills 9 and 10, which would gut single-family zoning and open the door for predatory developers — many of whom are regular campaign contributors to state and local politicians…(more)

MTC Makes a Mockery of Citizen Engagement

By Susan Kirsch : marinpost – excerpt

MTC has devised a frivolous and virtually meaningless two-month public participation process that failed to identify a range of stakeholders or identify appropriately geared activities to engage them. They cheerily call their report Pop-Up Events Get People Talking About Bay Area’s Future.

If you want to good laugh (or cry), go to the Plan Bay Area 2050 website and check out their summary of the results of the pop-ups, called Comments from Plan Bay Area 2050 Fall 2019 Pop-up Events(more)

 

More Building, Lending Catapult San Francisco Office

By Lisa Brown : globest – excerpt

Construction-to-permanent financing of $93 million was recently secured for One De Haro, a four-story 60-foot tall building with two-thirds office and one-third light industrial uses totaling 133,427 square feet.

SAN FRANCISCO—Construction continues in the city, in an attempt to satisfy growing demand. One project in specific, One De Haro, is located at the intersection of SOMA, Potrero Hill and Showplace Square districts. Designed by Pfau Long Architecture, the project is a four-story 60-foot tall building which will have two-thirds office and one-third light industrial uses for a total of 133,427 square feet.

Construction-to-permanent financing of $93 million was recently secured for the mixed-use building. A NorthMarq team led by managing director Dennis Williams and vice president Briana Harney secured the funding through a life insurance company relationship on behalf of the Sponsor, SKS Partners of San Francisco…

Even with the delivery of the fully leased 750,000-square-foot Park Tower, San Francisco supply is exhausted trying to keep up with the ever-increasing tech demand, according to a first quarter report by Avison Young. The first quarter closed with a total of 3.8 million square feet of available space on the market. However, with total tenant demand of 8.8 million square feet and new construction deliveries 67% preleased, this amount of space will not satisfy the overall appetite.…(more)

Fremont Councilman Bacon to run for Alameda County supervisor

By Joseph Geha : eastbaytimes – excerpt

District 1 incumbent Scott Haggerty has been unopposed since 2000

FREMONT — Fremont City Councilman Vinnie Bacon is planning a 2020 run for Alameda County Supervisor in District 1, offering a challenge to longtime incumbent Scott Haggerty, who hasn’t faced an opponent for nearly two decades.

“If you want someone new, here I am,” Bacon said Sunday in an interview with this news organization.

“We need debate,” he said. “It’s just wrong for anybody to go into office without a challenger.”…

Bacon said he’s hoping to win over voters with a platform focused on evening out the jobs-housing imbalance and limiting what he called overdevelopment, which he said have led to cascading effects of untenable traffic congestion and school overcrowding.

“I think my ability to argue for better planning and development that doesn’t lead to all the traffic problems we have, I think that is my experience in Fremont, and it is applicable to a more regional office like that,” he said… (more)

2019-20 Budget – Considerations for the Governor’s Housing Plan

LAO : The Legislative Analyst’s Office
The California Legislature’s Nonpartisan Fiscal and Policy Advisor

Summary

Housing in California has long been more expensive than most of the rest of the country. Addressing California’s housing crisis is one of the most difficult challenges facing the state. The 2019-20 Governor’s budget includes various proposals aimed at improving the affordability of housing in the state. Specifically, the Governor proposes (1) providing planning and production grants to local governments, (2) expanding the state Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, (3) establishing a new state housing tax credit program targeting relatively higher-income households, and (4) expanding a loan program for middle-income housing production. The Governor’s housing proposals raise questions about which populations to prioritize. The Legislature will need to decide if it agrees with the Governor’s approach to spread the state’s housing resources among broader income levels—including middle-income households—or whether it prefers to target the state’s resources toward the Californians most in need of housing assistance. Because the need for housing assistance outstrips current resources and there are fewer policy options to address affordability for low-income households, we suggest the Legislature consider prioritizing General Fund resources towards programs that assist low-income households. Given that the Governor’s proposals are largely conceptual at this stage, we highlight key questions the Legislature might want to ask the administration as it considers the merits of the proposals, including: (1) the timeline for awarding new affordable housing funding, (2) plans to fund future maintenance costs associated with affordable housing developments, and (3) the state’s approach for administering the newly proposed state housing tax credit program. Lastly, we note that the enormity of California’s housing challenges suggest that policy makers explore a variety of solutions. While the Governor proposes a few approaches to address the state’s high housing costs, the Legislature could pursue a variety of other tactics that address these and/or other facets of the state’s housing crisis.

Conclusion

Addressing California’s housing crisis is one of the most difficult challenges facing the state’s policy makers. Millions of Californians struggle to find housing that is both affordable and suits their needs. The crisis also is a long time in the making, the culmination of decades of shortfalls in housing construction. And just as the crisis has taken decades to develop, it will take many years or decades to correct.

In light of the state’s housing crisis, the Governor’s interest in investing state resources on affordable housing is commendable. However, we questions the expansion of housing assistance programs towards broader income levels when other options are available to assist middle‑income households cope with high housing costs. Furthermore, given the conceptual nature of many of the Governor’s housing proposals, we highlight key questions the Legislature should ask the administration as it considers the merits of the proposals… (more)

Download pdf of full report

 

My turn: Don’t blame environmental law for California’s housing crisis

By Ashley Werner : calmatters – excerpt

California is facing a housing crisis of unprecedented proportions. Lower-income residents across the state must choose whether to pay for rent or food. People who can’t cover housing costs are forced to leave their homes, their neighborhoods and even the state.

But as legislators resume discussions regarding policy solutions, we must be clear: California’s environmental regulations did not cause the housing crisis and eviscerating the California Environmental Quality Act would harm disadvantaged communities.

Some developers claim the California Environmental Quality Act is a major factor behind the state’s unmet housing needs. But multiple studies have shown this act, a bedrock of California environmental law, plays a limited role in determining whether and where housing is built…

These policies would move us closer to ensuring all Californians have an affordable, decent quality home. We can and must address the housing crisis without sacrificing California’s core environmental protections.

Ashley Werner is a senior attorney for the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability in Fresno, awerner@leadershipcounsel.org. She wrote this commentary for CALmatters... (more)

City Attorney Outlines Impacts on Santa Barbara of State Housing Legislation

By Giana Magnoli : noozhawk – excerpt

With laws ‘basically designed to strip local control,’ city planners are working to create objective design standards for development projects.

Santa Barbara city planners will spend the next year creating objective design standards for development projects in response to the package of state housing legislation that then-Gov. Jerry Brown approved for California in 2017.

Assistant City Attorney Tava Ostrenger presented a breakdown of the legislation’s local impact to the Planning Commission on Thursday and said it was “basically designed to strip local control.”

The intent of the legislation is to boost housing development and affordability, streamline development, and increase accountability and enforcement of cities’ and counties’ housing goals… (more)

State builders, construction unions working on deal to ease pay, CEQA requirements

By Scot Rodd : bizjournals – excerpt

Developers and construction unions are reportedly working on a deal that could ease regulatory barriers to construction and improve wages and benefits for some construction workers.

Statewide business and union groups appear to be working together in an effort to write new legislation to address issues related to pay, benefits and training for workers in exchange for easing environmental regulations that impact development, the Los Angeles Times recently reported. The agreement has reportedly been in the works for more than a year and the talks now involve Gov. Gavin Newsom(more)

Litigation isn’t the answer for more affordable housing, Mr. Governor, overhauling CEQA is

By Tyler Diep : ocregister – excerpt

In one of his first official acts as Governor, Gavin Newsom has declared hostility against one of the cities that I have the honor of representing in the Legislature: Huntington Beach. Governor Newsom announced the lawsuit this past Friday, along with Attorney General Xavier Becerra, to litigate high density housing into our neighborhoods.

Like many other immigrants, I still believe that owning a home is part of living the American Dream. However, for the Governor to exclusively file suit against Huntington Beach is not only unfair but he also fails to recognize the true impediment to more affordable housing – the California Environmental Quality Act, known as CEQA…

According to Joel Kotkin and Marshall Toplansky’s California Feudalism, the Squeeze on the Middle Class, “Barely 5 percent of the state is developed, including all the suburbs and exurbs, and California has the highest urban densities in the nation, even higher than New York.”… (more)

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