CP&DR News Briefs July 5, 2022: SF Fourplexes; LA housing element; SB 375 Efficacy; and more

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San Francisco passes controversial citywide upzoning ordinance

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance by a 6-4 vote aimed at allowing four-family homes citywide and six-unit apartments on all corner lots. The ordinance allows property owners to construct semi-detached houses throughout the city. Owners can then get a density exception to build a total of four or six units, with the additional units subject to rent control. While housing advocates are celebrating the initiative, many are also concerned that it would not significantly increase housing density, particularly because there are multiple limits to who can build new homes. In particular, the regulation stipulates that all units that go beyond a second home are subject to rent control; Critics say this limitation all but ensures that anything larger than a duplex is unlikely to even be built. The ordinance is the city’s enabling legislation for SB 9, requiring cities statewide to eliminate most forms of single-family home zoning.

The state accepts Los Angeles’ revised housing element

The City of Los Angeles’ updated housing element, Plan to House LA, has been approved by the Department of Housing and Community Development. In the future, city planners will have to approve zoning changes that will see 255,000 new homes by 2024. The HCD had previously rejected the draft for the 2021-2029 housing element, suggesting the plan failed to invest in green space and economic development in low-income communities, resulting in impaired equity. In response, the city has proposed centering projects in high-opportunity areas, rehabilitating lots with public amenities, implementing comprehensive community services, building more ADUs, and supporting low-income homebuyers. In the future, the city will be able to receive government grants to help it achieve its goals.


Air Board Draft Report Faults Strategies for Sustainable Communities

The State Air Resources Board released its draft 2022 Progress Report on the State’s Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act (Senate Bill 375) for public comment. The report includes progress updates on reducing greenhouse gas emissions related to transportation, land use, and housing indicators. In particular, the report emphasized that an increase in car use caused by slow implementation of driving disincentives plans leads to pollution, higher costs and a degraded quality of life, particularly for low-income and communities of color. The researchers also stressed that despite the importance of the policy, local entities have largely failed to create enough affordable housing in resource-rich neighborhoods. The board is accepting public comments until July 14, 2022.

Los Angeles places affordable housing and homelessness measure in November election

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously agreed to pass a measure that would pass a sales tax on more than $5 million in real estate in November’s vote, giving Los Angeles voters a say in whether wealthy landowners should pay higher taxes should pay to fund affordable housing and homelessness prevention programs. If approved, the tax on properties valued at $5 million to $10 million would increase by 4%, and properties valued at over $10 million would see a 5.5% tax increase, totaling 3% of the relates to real estate sales. Many affordable housing developments would be exempt from the tax. The House LA initiative has support from Unite to House LA, a coalition of advocates for affordable housing and jobs.

HCD hires Melinda Coy to oversee housing responsibilities
Melinda Coy has been appointed Proactive Accountability Chief of Land Use and Local Government Relations in the California Department of Housing & Community Development. This role oversees the department’s work to ensure that local governments implement their post-adoption housing elements, the implementation of the Surplus Lands Act to ensure affordable housing developers have access to available surplus sites, and the Housing Preservation Notice Act . Coy was previously a senior policy specialist for the California State Department of Housing and Community Development, responsible for supporting the implementation of housing and land use laws and policies, including reviewing local housing elements of the general plan and providing technical assistance to local governments. Coy holds bachelor’s degrees in geography and political science from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Southern California.

CP&DR legal defenses: Cities cannot sue COGs over housing targets

Cities cannot sue their governing council for the housing targets they are given as part of the regional housing needs assessment. That’s the decision of a San Diego appeals court, based on a 2009 Orange County ruling. In the SANDAG case, the San Diego Division of the Fourth Circuit found that the situation was identical, although the issue of weighted voting was not an issue irvine Most importantly, the court referred to a 2004 law that eliminated and cited judicial review of the RHNA process irvine with the words: “The City of Irvine Court … noted that its conclusion that the legislature intended to preclude judicial review of RHNA assignments was also supported by the fact that in 2004 the legislature expressly AWAY a statutory provision authorize judicial review of RHNA assignments.

Fast access and updates
Angels owner Arte Moreno is asking the city of Anaheim for $5 million to cover costs of organizing the defunct Angel Stadium sale. Although the city has already agreed to repay $50 million in escrow fees, the Moreno development company will file a claim with the city for reimbursement of property, inspection and attorney fees. Despite its attempts to distance itself from the failed Angel Stadium deal and the resignation of Anaheim’s mayor amid a corruption investigation, the Anaheim City Council faces the heat of an Orange County grand jury whose report alleges that officials a Lack promoted transparency in the transaction by prioritizing corporate interests. (See related CP&DR coverage.)
A plan to build a 320-foot hydroelectric dam near Pacheco Pass is being dismissed with a lawsuit saying the $2.5 billion reservoir proposal will reduce the environmental impact of drilling and other geological interventions are not taken into account. The lawsuit stems from the Stop the Pacheco Dam Coalition, a group of environmentalists and landowners whose properties are said to be flooded.

Governor Gavin Newsom has named Tony Tavares as Caltrans’ new director. Tavares is the current director of Caltrans District 7 and has held various roles in the department since 1997.

A Fresno County judge issued a preliminary ruling that would prevent Adventure Church from halting the sale of the historic Tower Theater to the city, effectively securing the city’s ownership.

The Encinitas City Council has approved an updated plan for a 250 unit multi-story gated community on the southern edge of Olive Grove with 50 units designated as affordable. The move comes in response to pressure from Attorney General Rob Bonta and state housing officials.

The San Diego Housing Commission study of affordable housing across the city received an Award of Excellence from the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials. The report also recommends several approaches to ensure continued affordability based on data from an inventory of existing deed-restricted affordable housing units.

A proposed vacancy tax that would tax homeowners with vacant lots to reduce idle space and raise money for affordable housing projects is likely to appear at the November Santa Cruz vote. Officials are considering studying water bills to identify vacant homes.

Culver City Council approved3-2, a plan to draft an ordinance that would eliminate citywide minimum parking spaces and provide recommendations for maximum parking spaces.

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