Cities across California are eliminating parking minimums in order to reduce automobile dependency and promote better urban design. The state legislature is getting in on the act too.
Surplus Land Act Upends Public Agency Development Plans
According to the Surplus Land Act (SLA), a relatively new state law whose implementing guidelines went into effect in January, all of these properties must be made available to affordable housing developers first. While state officials defend the guidelines, the landowning agencies say the law will undermine their vision for the property – and maybe even hinder their ability to build the affordable housing that the law seeks to create.
Updated Cal EnviroScreen Will Improve State’s EJ Efforts
In March, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) released the draft of its fourth iteration of CalEnviroScreen (CES). First released in 2013, CES is a database of environmental hazards that forms the basis of myriad state and local efforts to limit human exposure and strive for environmental justice.
Proposed Legislation Would Give Cities Fewer Excuses for Blocking Housing
The California Legislature has come roaring back in 2021 with a whole new set of bills affecting planning and development
How Berkeley Will Move Away From Single-Family Zoning
The council vote was unanimous, but now comes the hard part: Implementing an upzoning in a city with strong homeowner advocacy and fire-prone hillside neighborhoods.
SCAG Shoots Down RHNA Appeals
Many housing advocates considered the assignment of 1.3 million new housing units to Southern California via 2019’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation process to be a serious win. It was followed up by an intra-regional allocation process that weighted units toward high-cost, high-demand coastal cities, for another win. Last month, they scored a few more wins — 50 to be exact.
The Rise of Zoomtowns
While many in the state do not have the means to pick and choose exactly where they want to live, the combination of remote work and pandemic ennui has prompted untold numbers of well-off urban Californians to retreat to suburbs and to exurban “Zoomtowns.”
SCAG Sees Revolt Against RHNA Allocations
60% of Orange County cities challenge their targets, which are much higher than last time around
Wildfire Danger, Housing Needs Collide on Urban Fringe
Already an epic-scale tragedy, California’s wildfires–consuming a record 4 million acres this year–are effectively shrinking the amount of land available for housing and prompting planners to make tough choices between growth and safety
New RTP/SCS Documents Must Grapple With More Housing
Southern California and Bay Area MPOs must get more aggressive to meet RHNA goals and SB 375 goals.
Cities Confront Environmental Justice In General Plans
OPR issues guidelines for implementing SB 1000, which requires local governments to address EJ directly in planning for the first time
COVID Crisis Revives Tactical Urbanism
Low-cost transformation of streets to public — and restaurant — spaces may help enliven city neighborhoods and revive their sales tax bases
Planning Meetings Move Online
Visual depictions of projects remain an issue — though accessibility might actually be improved for some. Brown Act has been loosened for the duration of COVID-19
Housing Development Likely To Crash Because of COVID
Even entitled buildings won’t be built unless they have financing
Virus Crisis Forces Planning to Go Virtual
As the coronavirus shuts down California, planning departments across the state are adapting and staying on-task
What’s On The March 2020 Ballot?
A typical jumble of land-use measures — but they suggest California’s future direction
New Housing Laws Bring Design Standards to Fore
To cut down on discretionary review, new housing laws require cities to approve housing projects so long as they conform to “objective” design standards. Cities are scrambling to draft standards that promote housing and promote desired aesthetic goals