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CP&DR News Briefs August 7, 2018: LAO on Rent Control Measure; $1.8 Billion for Flood Control; River Protections; and More

Noemi Wyss on
Aug 6, 2018
The Legislative Analyst’s Office summarized Proposition 10, the proposed measure that would expand local governments' authority to enact rent control on residential property by suspending the Costa-Hawkins Act. The fiscal impact conclusion was that there would be potential net reduction in state and local revenues of tens of millions of dollars per year in the long term. Depending on the actions taken by local communities, revenue losses could be less or considerably more. Prop. 10 would repeal the measure in Costa-Hawkins that limits local rent control laws. Under the proposed measure, cities and counties can regulate rents for any housing (including single-family) and can limit how much a landlord may increase rents when a new renter moves in. Prop. 10 also would require that rent control laws allow landlords a fair rate of return. Overall, the LAO analysis found the measure would reduce state and local revenues in the long term, with the largest effect on property taxes.


$1.8 Billion from Army Corps to Protect Sacramento
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded $1.8 billion in federal funds to complete multiple flood protection projects in the region, including levee work and raising the Folsom Dam. These projects, along with a separate levee project along the Natomas basin, will provide Sacramento with a 300-year flood protection level. The majority of the funding will be used to build deeper seepage walls inside the levees and more protection from erosion around the Pocket neighborhood, strengthen the Arcade Creek and the Natomas East Main Drainage Canal, and widen the Sacramento Weir Bypass which diverts high water flows to the Yolo Bypass. The remaining funds will help raise Folsom Dam by 3.5 feet, increasing storage space in the lake by 40,000 square-feet. The Army Corps allocated all the funding up front, allowing work to begin as soon as next year and take about 5-7 years to complete.

Huffman Calls for Federal Protection of North State Rivers
California 2nd District Congressman Jared Huffman introduced a bill that would protect 260,000 acres of North Coast land and hundreds of miles of rivers in Humboldt, Del Norte, Mendocino, and Trinity counties from development. The Northwest California Wildernesses, Recreation, and Working Forests Act not only includes wilderness protection but also new trails, coordinating cleanup of illegal marijuana grows on public land, and bolstering defenses against large wildfires. The bill would prohibit new damns, major water diversions, logging, mining and other development on about 380 miles of rivers. The bill also calls for the creation of 730,000 acres of forest restoration areas in the South Fork Trinity River, Mad River, and North Fork Eel watersheds to reduce the danger of large wildfires.

Study Looks Into Social Equity in Oakland
City University of New York’s Institute for State and Local Governance released a study on Oakland’s racial disparity. CUNY chose Oakland to be the first city for which it would produce a racial equity report card that could help city officials set policies and practices to ensure fairness. The city scored a 33.5 points out of a possible 100, with 1 representing the highest possible inequity and 100 representing highest possible equity. One finding was the median income for white households was $110,000 while median income for black households was $37,500. Asian households had a median income of $76,000 and Latino households $65,000. One in four blacks and more than one in five Latinos live at or below the federal poverty level in Oakland.

Quick Hits & Updates 

The City of Mountain View has barred companies from fully subsiding meals for their employees in an effort to promote nearby retailers. The ruling applies to the Village at San Antonio Center and the new Facebook offices. The project-specific requirement passed in 2014, but attracted little notice because the offices were years away from opening.

A new report on the Downtown Los Angeles Streetcar has revealed an even larger budget for the project- just under $291 million. That’s $16.5 million more than an estimate for the project last year. However, the project doesn't anticipate any further delays with construction potentially beginning next year and completion expected in 2021. The rail line will have 23 stops along its 3.8 mile loop through downtown.

The City of Westminster has given a local developer a 25-year tax subsidy to build a four-star hotel, banquet hall, and mixed-use residential project. This would be the city’s first full-service hotel project. The Bolsa Row project is based on French colonial architecture in Saigon by developers Bac Pham and Joann Pham. The project would also include a festival street for outdoor events, 37,550 square-feet of retail space, 15,689 square-feet of event space, a 144-room hotel, and 201 multi-family residential units.

Five transformative public spaces in the US, Spain, and China have been selected as finalists for the ULI’s 2018 Urban Open Space Award. One of the finalists is Ricardo Lara Park in Lynwood. The 5-acre linear park links neighborhoods divided by the I-105 freeway. The park opened in 2015 and includes a community garden, shade pavilion, dog park, children’s play area, adult fitness area, and bioswales and basins to treat runoff. The winner will be announced at ULI’s 2018 Fall Meeting, set for mid October in Boston.


The Madera City Council voted unanimously to waive 75 to 100 percent of city plan review and building permit fees for at least the next one to two years in the hopes of spurring redevelopment in parts of downtown. The Downtown Development Incentive Program came about after interactions with residents, business owners, and City Councilmembers grappled with high vacancy rates, blight, and a long, steady decline of Madera’s downtown business area. The program will allow the waiver of 100 percent of engineering fees and 75 percent of planning and building inspection fees.

Sonoma County Superior Court Judge René Chouteau has voided Sonoma County’s controversial sale of public land to a developer. The judge said county officials erred in determining their agreement to sell the 82-acre site of the old county hospital complex was exempt from state law that triggers environmental review.

The City of National City may become the first in San Diego County to embrace rent control. The community currently has more than two-thirds of the residents as renters. City Council voted unanimously to place a resident-drive initiative on the November ballot.

A new report “Automobility” released by traffic consultant Bruce Schaller analyzed ride-hailing apps effects on city traffic. Schaller’s findings include nine cities account for 1.2 billion, or 70 percent of all rides in 2017 and ride-hailing trips are far more popular in San Francisco than anywhere else. The report also found that Lyft and Uber have an overall 180 percent increase in driving on city streets. Schaller also found that self-driving cars would be most useful in the form of shuttle-like group commutes. Currently, ride-hailing services are primarily single-passenger trips.
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