The latest Silicon Valley housing idea: On a landfill

By Richard Scheinin : mercurynews – excerpt

Environmental watchdogs OK plan for 1,680 units at City Place

Are we this desperate for land that we need to build on a dump? Can’t wait to see the marketing materials and disclosure statements on this one. This is not the first I have heard about building on landfill. Major problems with shifting soil would seem particularly concerning in an earthquake zone. Maybe you can sell housing to non-natives, but, it may be hard to convince people to buy on landfill after watching the effects of Loma Prieta  on the Marina and other “filled areas” in San Francisco. CEQA is becoming a big toothless grin on the face of our state. I think Ruth Shikada’s comment sums it up rather well, ““But as long as we stay the course and continue to do the research and prepare the documents … then we’re going to see housing on that site.” In other words, we can afford to hire more consultants and attorneys than the pubic so we will win in the end. She left out the politicians who are busy cementing their power over the public this season in Sacramento. SB 35 is a developer’s wet dream.

SANTA CLARA — It’s not your typical site for a new housing development: a former landfill, containing an estimated 5.5 million tons of municipal waste dumped over a quarter century in the heart of this city.

But it’s looking more and more as if the Related Companies’ plan to build a $6.7 billion mixed-use complex with up to 1,680 units of housing across the street from Levi’s Stadium will come to fruition. The project represents the largest housing project ever proposed atop a landfill in the Bay Area, regulators say, and perhaps in the entire state.

Environmental overseers have accepted Related’s massive technical document, which includes elaborate safety systems to block the escape of combustible methane gas and other dangerous vapors, and to prevent groundwater contamination… (more)

Advertisements

Oregon Organic Farm Threatened With Forced Herbicide Use Reaches Settlement With County

vineyards1

by Darren Smith : jonthanturley – excerpt

Last weekend we featured two articles (HERE and HERE) describing a controversy involving the forced use of chemical herbicides on an organic farm that according to County officials was out of compliance in controlling noxious weeds that were threatening neighboring farms and crops.

The 2,000 acre organic farm in North Central Oregon is facing what could be a be an existential threat to its operations after county weed control authorities sent notice mandating that the farm use chemical herbicides to eradicate weed growth.

I attended the public hearing held at the Sherman County seat located in Moro, Oregon. Due to a very high volume of interest expressed by residents and those outside the community, the venue was changed from the County Courthouse to a gymnasium at the Sherman County High School. There was a great deal of uncertainty manifest in this hearing with strongly held opinions on many sides and one can say with near certainty that the publicity generated caused turmoil in this small community. In fact, the concern was so great, that a number of law enforcement officials were dispatched to the area to provide security to address a worry that things might get out of hand. But in the end the two sides reached an agreement that precludes the forced use of herbicides–and offered both a carrot and stick for both parties to strongly consider…(more)

How much damage can the government do before the public reacts? It appears we had two good outcomes in two states this week that prove when the public protests buildings casting shadows on parks and forced use of poisons on organic farms the government sometimes still listens.

Continue reading

The Housing Crunch Is Our Fault. We Can Fix It.

By Randal O’Toole : cato – excerpt (includes graphs)
(This article appeared in Washington Post on October 13, 2016.)

The only real solution is to repeal the state laws and local plans that created the problem in the first place.

Housing prices are rapidly rising in many urban areas. Prices in the San Francisco Bay Area are higher today — even after adjusting for inflation — than they were at the height of the 2006 bubble. Data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency bears this out:..

Yet this is not a nationwide problem. Prices in many other areas remain quite reasonable. Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth are the nation’s fastest-growing urban areas, yet they remain affordable (which is one reason they are growing so fast). Here are home prices for areas that don’t try to control urban sprawl (again, the data comes from the Federal Housing Finance Agency):…

The difference is that the urban areas with high housing prices have almost all tried to contain urban “sprawl” by limiting the amount of land around the cities that can be developed, using policies such as urban-growth boundaries, urban-service boundaries or concurrency requirements that limit new growth until infrastructure is totally financed. Anyone who understands supply and demand knows that limiting supply in the face of rising demand leads to higher prices…

The only real solution is to repeal the state laws and local plans that created the problem in the first place. That means abolishing growth boundaries and other constraints and allowing developers to build and sell homes outside of existing urban areas.

There is a growing opposition to the dense development theme. SF has ballot initiatives and LA is preparing a moratorium initiative. People do not like living in crowded conditions and do not like being told how to live.
If the Democrats do not take back the Senate maybe they will start to listen to what the citizens are saying instead of telling us how we must change. It is time for Congress to change.

 

 

 

 

Developers seal deal to build housing at UCSF’s Laurel Heights campus

: bizjournals – excerpt

The San Francisco-based development duo looking to bring a rare spate of new housing to the northern part of the city agreed to a lease deal with the University of California San Francisco to take control of its Laurel Heights campus.

SKS Partners LLC and Prado Group, which won exclusive negotiating rights with UCSF earlier this year, signed a 99-year ground lease for the campus this month. They will lease back the space to UCSF for the next five years while they work on development plans. The developers will meet formally with neighborhood groups in the coming months to unveil what will likely be a plan for hundreds of housing units and some retail space.

The developers have not yet filed any preliminary plans with the city. Soon, they will launch a website with more project information, said Dan Safier, president and CEO of Prado Group. Other groups that had vied for the site, like Wilson Meany and TMG Partners, had pitched senior housing for the site. SKS and Prado have been quiet about specifics…

The 10.3-acre site at 3333 California St., which has nearly a half-million square feet of building space, could hold up about 500 units, according to current zoning rules. There’s also a 40-foot height limit. The site could also still be used as offices, according to UCSF…

Supervisor Mark Farrell, who represents Laurel Heights and its surrounding neighborhoods, said developers will need to show that their plans do not further clog California Street traffic. He also pointed to the potential development on top of the California Pacific Medical Center site near Laurel Village – a hospital that will move to Cathedral Hill – as being “transformational” for the neighborhood.

The Laurel Heights campus “has been a sleepy campus for decades, but when UCSF decided to shutter this campus obviously there was a significant amount of interest,” Farrell said. “It’s going to be monumental over time. It’s a combination of being very exciting, but also there’s a burden that it happens in the right way.”… (more)

 

 

 

San Diego Explained: CEQA’s Effect on Development

By:

The Convention Center won’t break ground on the long-awaited expansion anytime soon.

That’s because, according to attorney Cory Briggs, the plans break a big California environmental law.

The California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, requires state and local governments to assess the environmental impact of big development projects like the Convention Center Expansion. These assessments can take months, bringing development to a screeching halt.

Projects can become more eco-friendly because of CEQA intervention. But some say the lawsuits are simply too easy to file.

READ MORE: How San Diego’s Most Disruptive Lawyer Makes His Money

In this week’s San Diego Explained, NBC 7′s Catherine Garcia and Voice of San Diego‘s Liam Dillon delve deeper into the powerful environmental law, covering how CEQA affects the environment, business development and who it really benefits… (more)

Socal CEQA appeals cases seem to fair better in Socal.