San Jose Seeks to Nullify Builder's Remedy Projects
San Jose, aiming to regain control over housing development, has rejected builder's remedy applications filed after June 20, sparking potential legal conflicts over several large residential projects. Mayor Matt Mahan emphasized that builders' remedy is for boosting housing, not downsizing, amidst a controversy affecting 29 projects due to the city's delayed housing element submission. Notably, the downsizing of the Berryessa BART Urban Village project, from 3,450 to 940 units, drew criticism for undermining transit-oriented development. The city argues that its housing plan was compliant since adoption in June, disputing the validity of post-June builders' remedy applications until state approval. Additionally, San Jose questions the application of builders' remedy to projects not aiding housing production goals, potentially intensifying legal battles with developers. Despite the rejection, developers can pursue projects through the regular planning process, but legal disputes loom over the city's stance. Last week, San Jose finally received certification of its housing plan after a year of revisions, securing a blueprint to add 62,200 homes over the next decade. Certification relieves the city of penalties and restores its eligibility for state grants for affordable housing and transit.
$2.5 Billion Disneyland Redevelopment Plan Includes Takeover of Anaheim Streets
Disneyland plans a $2.5 billion reimagining of its Anaheim resort within its current footprint, requiring taking over some city streets, sparking concerns about increased traffic and insufficient tax revenue for Anaheim. The plan, dubbed DisneylandForward, aims for an enhanced "immersive" experience by integrating attractions, hotels and shops. Disney requests zoning rule relaxation to redesign the resort, including Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park. However, privatizing some streets and the expansion plan raise concerns about traffic, rent hikes and community displacement among residents. Despite promises of economic benefits, the proposal follows a city corruption scandal, prompting calls for Disney to make more significant commitments to affordable housing.
Fullerton Agrees to Adopt Housing Element for 13,209 Homes
Attorney General Rob Bonta, in collaboration with the Department of Housing and Community Development, reached an agreement to bring the City of Fullerton into compliance with the state’s Housing Element Law. The city will adopt a plan allowing for the development of 13,209 housing units, including 5,187 low- or very low-income units, by November 5, 2024. This agreement, reached through a stipulated judgment, addresses Fullerton's failure to adopt a compliant housing plan for the 2021-2029 period by the statutory deadline of October 15, 2021. Under the agreement, Fullerton will also modernize its zoning code to accommodate affordable housing by December 29, 2024, and comply with the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing statute. Failure to comply may result in penalties or loss of authority to approve certain developments.
Controversial Light Rail Station Gains Approval in Sacramento
Sacramento region leaders approved a new light rail station near a River District public housing complex after initially denying it. County Supervisors Patrick Kennedy and Pat Hume, along with other officials, reversed their votes in a recent Sacramento Regional Transit board meeting, citing new information from staff. The decision came after the California Strategic Growth Council clarified that grant funds could only be used for permanent structures, not for new bus routes as previously proposed. RT secured additional funding, reducing the project cost to about $42 million. Despite some opposition, advocates, including the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Authority, emphasized the need for the station to serve residents of the newly finished Mirasol Village.
CP&DR Coverage: Sacramento Considers Ways to Regulate Warehouses
In recent years, city councils across the Inland Empire--including Colton, Rialto and Riverside—have enacted moratoriums to freeze warehouse development. Others, like Jurupa Valley, have implemented other forms of control that stop short of moratoriums. Now, however, the state legislature is considering wider regional restrictions on warehouse development. Last year, two bills, AB 1748 and AB 1000, would have put the force of state legislation behind this movement. The bills have been supported by environmental justice advocates, who cite the health impacts of diesel trucks on local residents, especially historically disadvantaged minority communities that are clustered in some of the most heavily trafficked areas.
Quick Hits & Updates
The Fifth National Climate Assessment, published by the federal government, presents dire findings about climate change impacts, including unprecedented temperature increases, frequent wildfires and ongoing drought in the West. Despite the challenges, the report emphasizes the need for action and possibility. The water shortage in the Southwest, including California, is a persistent issue exacerbated by climate change, with reduced snowpack affecting the region's variable water supply. Addressing the problem requires reducing consumption, starting with changes in agriculture. Elected officials are urged to pursue innovative water management strategies in response to the ongoing water crisis.
UCLA will receive $200 million from the state to transform the former Westside Pavilion Mall in Los Angeles into a research park focused on immunology and quantum science. The research park, set to be completed in May 2027, will house the California Institute for Immunology and Immunotherapy and the UCLA Center for Quantum Science and Engineering, aiming to position the university and the state at the forefront of these rapidly expanding fields of research.
The historic town of Falk, located within the Bureau of Land Management Headwaters Forest Reserve, has been designated as a National Historic Place, recognized for its significance and deserving of preservation. Falk, once a bustling logging and mill town from 1884 to 1937, played a vital role in the region's lumber industry, with infrastructure like a railroad and mill pond supporting its operations and, although the site fell into decline after operations ceased, its historical importance is now highlighted through interpretation and restoration efforts by the BLM Arcata Field Office and Friends of Headwaters.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion to collaborate with L.A. Metro and the City of Palmdale on establishing a significant bus and passenger rail manufacturing facility in Palmdale, anticipated to bring substantial economic benefits and over 100,000 jobs. The project aims to address industry needs, foster technological advancement, and promote inclusive planning, with plans underway for a 2 million-square-foot manufacturing center at Palmdale Airport.
Senator Scott Wiener introduced Senate Bill 969, which aims to create "Entertainment Zones" in California's city centers, allowing bars and restaurants to serve alcohol in public spaces to invigorate downtown areas hit hard by the pandemic. With the goal of boosting foot traffic and supporting local businesses, the bill seeks to emulate the vibrant street life seen at festivals and events, potentially sparking an economic resurgence in cities like San Francisco. Supported by mayors and industry advocates, the initiative aims to draw people back to downtown areas, stimulate business growth, and revitalize communities post-COVID.
The Fresno City Council voted to file an injunction to prevent the closure of La Hacienda Mobile Estates mobile home park in northeast Fresno. The decision comes after the council criticized the park owner, Harmony Communities, and may signal a change in the city's approach to the closure of the park.
San Diego's new Preservation and Progress initiative seeks to update the Heritage Preservation Program, aiming to streamline home construction processes while protecting historically significant sites. Mayor Todd Gloria emphasized the initiative's goal to prevent misuse of historic preservation to obstruct revitalization and new home construction, promoting a comprehensive review to ensure the protection of architecturally significant structures in San Diego.
The Brentwood Planning Commission unanimously recommended against amending the city’s housing plan due to concerns about urban sprawl, excessive commuting, and fair housing. Commissioners expressed doubts about the proposed amendments' effectiveness and opted to send the matter back to the City Council for further discussion, along with other topics such as the appointment of a chairperson and vice chairperson for the Planning Commission and approval of a conditional use permit for a commercial building.
A judge declined to block San Mateo County from purchasing a hotel in Millbrae for low-priced rental housing, giving a temporary win to Governor Newsom's Project Homekey. However, the judge indicated she would consider Millbrae's argument that the purchase requires voter approval under the state Constitution, potentially posing a challenge to the project's implementation.
Brian Kelly, CEO of the California High-Speed Rail Authority since 2018, will resign, intending to stay on during the transition to a new leader. Under his leadership, the agency focused on completing construction segments in the San Joaquin Valley, securing funding, and prioritizing operational readiness. While praised for his contributions, Kelly emphasized the need for a leader with expertise in passenger rail operations as the project transitions towards operations.