Housing bill could result in 85-foot tall buildings on El Camino

By Elaine Goodman : dailypost – excerpt

A bill introduced in the California Legislature would ease restrictions on housing projects built near transit — bypassing some of the controls over such development by the cities in which they would be built.

Senate Bill 827, introduced last month by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, would remove density limits and parking requirements for housing built close to transit.

It would also set minimum height limits that cities could impose for such development, ranging from 45 feet to 85 feet in some circumstances. A city could increase that height but not go below it…

According to Wiener’s website, the bill is sponsored by a group called California YIMBY, which stands for “Yes in my backyard.”….

City governments oppose the bill

The League of California Cities opposes SB 827, saying it would undermine locally developed general plans (called the Comp Plan in Palo Alto), housing plans and development restrictions… (more)

Opposition from irate citizens around the state convinced the senator to amend SB827, but Many people object to any further interference from the state in local zoning and planning matters under local jurisdiction. Stay tuned for updates as more bills are pouring in. (Technically, the 85 foot buildings could be over 100 feet if the state density bonus is applied to the 85 feet.)

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Scott Wiener’s war on local planning

By Zelda Bronstein : 48hills – excerpt

His next round of housing bills force cities to accept growth and displacement—without giving them the money or tools to mitigate it

On January 19, I attended UCLA Extension’s 2018 Land Use Law and Planning Conference at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Seated in long rows of tables under the glittering chandeliers of the hotel’s Crystal Ballroom, hundreds of elected and appointed public officials, developers, attorneys, and consultants are annually briefed by sharp pro-growth land-use lawyers and other like-minded experts on the latest California land-use legislation and case law.

This year the star of the show was State Senator Scott Wiener. He earned that role by authoring SB 35, the controversial “by-right” housing bill that Governor Brown signed into law in September. Like his fellow Yimbys, Wiener believes in a supply-side, build-baby-build solution to California’s housing woes and blames those woes on local jurisdictions’ resistance to new residential development. He presents himself as a brave policymaker who grapples with hard issues that others have dodged—an image belied by his evasive responses to my questions…

SB 827

Drafted by California Yimby Executive Director Brian Hanlon, and coauthored by State Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), SB 827 would prohibit cities from limiting heights to lower than 45 feet (six stories) or 85 feet (eight stories)—depending on the width of the street—on parcels within a half-mile of a “major transit stop” or a quarter-mile of “a high-quality transit corridor.” For such parcels, SB 827 would also suspend local parking minimums, density restrictions, and “any design standard that restricts the applicant’s ability to construct the maximum number of units consistent with any applicable building code.”…

SB 828

Wiener’s companion bill, SB 828, would exponentially increase both cities’ Regional Housing Needs Allocations (RHNAs) and state authority over local land use planning. I’m going to review the bill in wonky detail, because though SB 827 has gotten the lion’s share of publicity, support, and pushback, SB 828 is likely to have at least as much impact… (more)

Lots of details are covered in the article. Please read the entire story.

We attended the Town Hall Meeting, along with a group of citizens from Marin and Senator Wiener’s district 8 Noe Valley neighborhood. We’ll post a link to the video that was shot of the meeting, and anticipate more from Zelda on this subject.

A lively opposition group is already being formed to fight this legislation that grabs power from local governments and centralizes controls over local zoning. Many people who support development do not support this power grab from the state.

Temporary trailers for homeless people planned on downtown city lot

By Dakota Smith, Gale Holland and Doug Smith : latimes – excerpt

Los Angeles city leaders are planning to house dozens of homeless people in trailers on a city-owned downtown lot as a possible model for citywide temporary shelters.

A proposal that will be submitted to the City Council on Tuesday calls for installing five trailers on a parking lot at Arcadia and Alameda streets by the beginning of summer…

The trailers would house about 67 people and target the homeless population that sleeps on the sidewalks in the area around the historic El Pueblo site off of Main Street.

The shelter would operate for three years with the hope that residents placed there would move on to permanent housing within six months…(more)

Palo Alto’s regional influence grows; Mayor elected vice president of ABAG

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…

Scharff also chairs the enforcement committee of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission and serves on the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority…

Housing quotas

ABAG administers the Regional Housing Needs Allocation, quotas for cities to zone new housing that are set by the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development.
“I think the system is a little bit broken, frankly,” Scharff said.

Scharff said there’s some movement toward forming a Santa Clara County subregion committee, in which cities could redistribute housing allocations among themselves.

That way, cities could trade, for example, a certain number of affordable units for a certain number of moderately priced units with neighboring cities.

Currently, Napa, San Mateo and Solano counties have subregion committees…

“I think you want cities to want to build housing, and I think when you have the state say, ‘you must build ‘x’ amount of housing, you build up a lot of resentment,” Scharff said.

In 2013, Scharff was one of a handful of local officials to vote against the ABAG-Metropolitan Transportation Commission One Bay Area Plan, which required the region’s 101 cities to pave the way for 600,000 new apartments...

Protecting single-family homes

Scharff said he still stood behind the vote. Any push for more housing doesn’t have to be met with high-rise buildings, either.

“I don’t think you just want a wall of apartments along El Camino Real,” he said. Scharff said new apartments don’t have to jut into single-family residential neighborhoods, citing the recent update of the Comprehensive Plan’s support for these areas…

“I think we obviously need to build more housing as a region, but I think there’s a lot of local issues that should be taken into account,” Scharff said… (more)

 

Mass Transit Experience in LA: If You Build it, They Won’t Come!

By Richard Lee Abrams :  citywatchla – ecerpt

et’s look at some facts about mass transit and see whose brain gets the most pain. In particular, consider INTRA-urban fixed mass rail transit. This includes subways, light rail and trolleys within one urban area (which will cover several cities like LA, Beverly Hills, Inglewood, etc.) A train between San Bernardino and Los Angeles, however, would be INTER-Urban. That is also a subject worthy of discussion, but not for this short article.

There are three main things to examine when thinking about INTRA-Urban fixed rail mass transit: Mathematics, Topography (geography), and Finances. (See 1915 Study of Street Traffic Conditions in City of Los Angeles for extensive study of these factors.)…(more)

We are taking no position, just want to share this author’s thoughts.

 

 

Strategic Combination of FivePoint Holdings Creates Largest Developer of Mixed-Use Communities In Coastal California

prnewswire – excerpt

ALISO VIEJO, Calif., May 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Four of the most innovative, master-planned communities and their management company are being combined to form FivePoint Holdings, LLC, which is now the largest developer of mixed-use communities in coastal California.

FivePoint will own interests in and manage (1) The San Francisco Shipyard, (2) Candlestick Point in San Francisco, (3) Newhall Ranch in Los Angeles County and (4) Great Park Neighborhoods in Irvine all led by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Emile Haddad. All four communities, located in major urban areas, are planned to provide critically needed housing adjacent to job centers while maintaining the important balance between growth and the preservation of California’s unique quality of life…

Lennar Corporation, one of the nation’s largest homebuilders, formerly held equity positions in each of the four communities and the management company. Under this strategic combination of communities, Lennar has become the largest investor in FivePoint…

ABOUT FIVEPOINT HOLDINGS:

Spanning the state from Southern California to the San Francisco Bay Area, FivePoint is now the largest owner and developer of mixed-use, master planned communities in coastal California based on the total number of residential homesites permitted under existing entitled zoning. These four existing communities represent major real estate developments in three of the most dynamic and supply-constrained markets along the California coast—Orange County, Los Angeles County and San Francisco County(more)

 

 

 

Fourth Appellate District Upholds City of San Diego’s Rejection of Subdivision Project and Related MND

By Donald Sobelman : jdsupra – excerpt

CEQA decisions usually arise in the context of a challenge to a lead agency’s approval of a project and a related CEQA document.  However, in a recent decision, Kutzke v. City of San Diego (2017) 11 Cal.App.5th 1034 (certified for publication on May 23, 2017), the Fourth Appellate District resolved a court action arising from a lead agency’s rejection of a project and its MND, and did so in favor of the lead agency… (more)

Key senator vows to block climate deal that would aid polluters

By Julie Cart : CalMatters – excerpt

An irritated chairman of a state Senate Budget subcommittee says he intends to thwart a recent move by the state Air Resources Board that could give California’s biggest polluters a cushion of more than $300 million.

In a sharp rebuke of the board, Sen. Bob Wieckowski said Thursday that he’ll insert language into next year’s budget bill instructing regulators to reduce the free compensation they’re giving oil refineries and other industries covered under cap and trade, California’s signature climate policy.

Addressing a hearing, the Fremont Democrat read aloud from last week’s CALmatters story detailing the air board’s July meeting, where it unanimously voted to consider abandoning a scheduled reduction in free pollution allowances given to state industries—against the advice of its own staff and outside experts.

The board’s move came on the heels of a much-celebrated deal the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown struck to pass legislation extending the state’s cap-and-trade program to the year 2030. The bill’s author acknowledged that the fight to get a two-thirds vote required a number of deals—and that the air board’s later move was one of them.

“It was part of the deal to make sure we could get a (two-thirds) vote to extend the cap-and-trade program,” Democratic Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia of Coachella told CALmatters... (more)

When do the California citizens get to vote come in on these tax deals that will raise the costs of transporting necessary products such as food. Now they want to tax our water? What next? A tax on all citizens who live in the state? A tax to come in and out of the state for releasing carbon dioxide into the air when we breathe?

The attempt to recall Democratic Sen. Josh Newman of Fullerton, backed by a consortium of voters critical of Newman’s vote this year to raise the gasoline tax,  raised the necessary signatures, but, is being threatened by a new bill being formulated to stop it. These are the same people who are removing local rights to determine how our cities and towns are developed by imposing state levels.

RELATED:
Last-minute water tax can’t be justified however worthy the cause
Opinion: Tax water to provide clean water to Californians whose supply is contaminated

Los Angeles arena bill targets CA environmental law

By : constructiondive – excerpt

The Battle of the Bills is raging in Sacramento with little notice or public discourse outside of legal circles.

Dive Brief:  

  • A proposed change to California state law could shorten the timeline for environmental approvals for construction of the Los Angeles Clippers’ new basketball arena complex in Inglewood, CA, according to the Los Angeles Times.
  • The draft bill would require that legal challenges to the proposed venue under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) be resolved in nine months and would also restrict the power of the courts to stop construction based on CEQA violations. The measure would grant the same benefits to a nearby transit hub that is expected to serve Clippers fans and those headed to see Los Angeles Rams and Chargers games at their forthcoming $2.6 billion Inglewood stadium.
  • The team said it will comply with CEQA standards if the arena project comes to fruition, but critics of the potential new law said the Clippers would use it to get around environmental regulations…

Dive Insight:

Another proposed California state law would close the so-called loophole that allowed the Rams’ development team to skirt CEQA during the stadium’s permitting process, according to the Times. Assembly Bill 890, which passed in the California Assembly in June and is making its way through the state Senate, would prevent local governments from allowing projects to skip the environmental review process if developers can collect enough signatures to put them on the ballot…(more)

Housing crisis: Will California force its cities to OK more building?

By Katy Murphy : mercurynews – excerpt

State lawmakers are desperate to address a statewide problem that has been decades in the making.

Amid a housing crisis that is displacing the poor and forcing millennials and countless others to look outside the Bay Area to live, all eyes turned this week to the tiny Peninsula town of Brisbane where a developer wants to build thousands of homes on a 684-acre swath of wasteland.

Powerful tech companies, state lawmakers and pro-growth activists from around the region implored the City Council on Monday to allow housing on land once used as a rail yard and a landfill ​— an idea many residents oppose. But after hearing passionate arguments from both sides, the City Council shelved the decision, prolonging a land-use debate that has dragged on since 2005….

In the nine-county Bay Area, the median price for a single-family home has topped $800,000. And nearly one-third of renters statewide — 1.5 million households — spend more than half their income on rent, according to state estimates

As soon as next week, lawmakers are expected to unveil a package of affordable-housing bills that will include new tools to prod cities and counties to add their share of housing — at least, in theory.

“I think that many of my colleagues understand that individual decisions by city councils and boards of supervisors are having an extremely negative and detrimental impact on our region,” said Assemblyman David Chiu, a former San Francisco supervisor who chairs the Assembly’s housing committee. “When you have so many decisions going the wrong way on proposed housing that meets all local laws and planning and zoning requirements we have to do something different.”

But none of the pending housing bills — as written — would immediately force the city of Brisbane’s hand. And some cities have flouted existing laws with similar goals….

A more controversial proposal, Senate Bill 35, by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, would speed up the approval process for housing developments — limiting local reviews — in cities and counties that have failed to meet state goals for home-building.

Gov. Jerry Brown has made it clear that he will only sign a deal with money for affordable housing if it includes provisions to fast-track development — which, he argues, will make housing construction cheaper and quicker… (more)

A number of lawsuits are being waged by both sides of the density debate and a few of them are mentioned in this article for those who want to delve deeper. Interesting to note is the mention of the nine-county area that many recognize as the counties in the Plan Bay Area.

The argument is largely over local versus state jurisdiction. Our Governor and Lt. Governor are suing SF for the right to develop the city waterfront. What does this tell you about the pressure coming out of Sacramento? Perhaps we need to involve the citizens in a state-wide ballot over the loss of their rights.

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