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CP&DR News Briefs August 10, 2021: Sacramento Homeless Plan; Warehouse Opposition; New SGC Director; and More

Mckenzie Locke on
Aug 10, 2021
City of Sacramento Pursues Ambitions Homelessness Plan
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg announced the 20 locations that he plans to designate for homeless shelters, tiny homes, and sanctioned tent encampments. Steinberg proposed the sites in one plan so that, when city council votes on the "Master Siting Plan to Address Homelessness" on August 10, it will be harder to single out and block individual sites. Expressing that Sacramento is experiencing an "emergency," Steinberg hopes that the sites, which could house up to 2,209 people at a time, will open in just a few months. Steinberg also hopes that his plan will move over 9,000 people into permanent housing annually. Many of the sites are publicly-owned and have previously been proposed by council members, and none of them are in the city's wealthier neighborhoods of East Sacramento, Land Park, or North Natomas.

Attorney General Targets Environmental Impacts of Fontana Warehouse Development
Attorney General Rob Bonta is challenging the City of Fontana's approval to build a 205,000 square-foot warehouse development in one of California's most polluted neighborhoods. Bonta maintains that the city's environmental review was inadequate considering the project's potential to further pollute the area, which is populated by many low-income residents and located next to a public high school and within a mile of 20 other warehouses. The Slover and Oleander Warehouse Project would yield about 114 daily truck trips and 272 daily passenger car trips, and one quarter of the space would be dedicated toward cold storage, which requires highly-polluting trucks. Bonta maintains that, without proper analysis or mitigation efforts, the warehouse project could make local residents and workers even more at risk to toxic microscopic particles that may cause severe respiratory issues. (See related CP&DR coverage.)

Newsom Appoints New Strategic Growth Council Director
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced his appointment of Lynn von Koch-Liebert as Executive Director of the California Strategic Growth Council. von Koch-Liebert, a Democrat, has been Deputy Secretary of Housing and Consumer Services at the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency since 2017. She held multiple positions at DynCorp International LLC, including Vice President of Business Development Operations, Vice President of Business Development, Staff Director, and Director of Business and Operations for the Criminal Justice Program Support Contract. She was also a Graduate Fellow at the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Pakistan Afghanistan Coordination Cell in 2010 and held multiple positions at the United Nations Office for Project Services in Afghanistan, South Sudan and Jerusalem, including Communications and Reporting Officer from 2006 to 2009. She succeeds Louise Bedsworth, who stepped down in April after nearly three years as SGC’s Executive Director and nearly a decade in state service.

Audit Prompts San Diego to Get More Aggressive on Climate Change
The City San Diego will take a more comprehensive and direct approach to tackling climate change after an audit put pressure on the city for providing vague and inadequate goals for a safer and more sustainable future. Going forward, city officials will thoroughly examine individual projects in terms of effectiveness, cost, funding sources, and shortcomings, and city departments associated with climate issues will have to submit an annual workplan that details their proposals. San Diego will also require departments to collaborate on their projects. In its approach to confronting climate change, San Diego wants to prioritize energy efficiency, cleaner energy, alternative transportation initiatives, recycling efforts, and climate resiliency. City officials hope that the new action plan will result in a more coordinated and effective approach to tackling the climate crisis.

Land Use Policies Prompt Campaign to Recall Huntington Beach Council Members
Save Surf City, a conservative group based in Huntington Beach, is attempting to recall every council member but one with the justification that the six council members, including Mayor Kim Carr, do not represent the interests of Huntington Beach residents and acted dangerously in their decision to hand over local zoning control to the state. Now that all members are aware of the the recall intent, they will have to draft a maximum 200-word response, and the recall petition will be published locally for signature collection. The Save Surf City website, which does not name any organizers or backers, criticizes the officials for “failure to protect the interests of the citizens of Huntington Beach and damaging the city charter by surrendering local zoning control to the state.” (See related CP&DR coverage.)

CP&DR Coverage: Fulton on HCD's "Prohousing" Designation
The Newsom administration recently made a big deal out of announcing its new “prohousing” policy – a process by which some jurisdictions will be designated as “prohousing” and receive bonus points for three housing grant programs administered by the state. The prohousing thing emerged as a result of AB 101 in 2019 – a housing trailer bill that got so little attention that we at CP&DR didn’t even report on it at the time. The bill instructed the Department of Housing & Community Development to designate some jurisdictions as prohousing and give them the bonus points in some state grant programs. CP&DR Publisher Bill Fulton considers the potential impact of this novel policy. 

Quick Hits & Updates 
Civil Rights Attorney Stephen Yagman filed a lawsuit concerning parking restrictions in the City of Los Angeles, maintaining that they put those living in recreational vehicles at risk. Yagman asks for $1 million in punitive damages each from Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Council members, and other city officials, some of which would remove signs that ban overnight parking.

New research from UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs professor Adam Millard-Ball sheds light on the housing, schools, parks, and other infrastructure that cities lose out on because planning prioritizes wide streets. Millard-Ball found that, in 20 of the country's most populous countries, the median 50-foot-wide residential street took space away from building more housing to address the country's affordable housing crisis.

Under the 2021-2029 Housing Element, Palm Springs will have to plan for 2,557 new units over the next 8 years to accommodate its growing population, which could more than double in the next decades. Some of the required housing would come from pre-approved developments, while much of the rest would come from accessory dwelling units.

Placer County passed an ordinance that would place a moratorium on new short-term rentals that are popular in the county's Tahoe Basin in order to prevent further housing loss, which second home ownership has propelled, for locals. Over the past year, the typical home value in South Lake Tahoe increased by 41%, and the county issued 400 to 500 new permits in 2021, which can still be renewed under the ordinance. (See related CP&DR coverage.)

The Civic Center Plaza's landlord filed an unlawful detainer lawsuit against the City of San Diego to make it easier to evict tenants who have not payed their rent or lease agreements. The move follows City Attorney Mara Elliott's attempt to void the city's 2015 Civid Center Plaza deal.

A group of ranchers, farmers, and environmentalists filed a lawsuit to stop a proposal to build the largest solar plant in the Bay Area that would power 25,000 homes annually because they believe it will destroy the rural landscape. Despite their efforts, the proposal will likely move forward for construction by mid-2022 with plans to protect the region's open space and ecosystem.

The Office of Planning and Research released a draft technical advisory that recommends ways in which the CEQA can more effectively review and approve sustainable transportation projects. Bus rapid transit, light rail service, and bus-only lane projects as well as those that center riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians are among those that qualify for CEQA exemption.

A statewide survey from the Public Policy Institute of California found that the majority of residents are worried about climate change and environmental hazards, with 63% expressing concern about the increasing severity of wildfires and drought. Concerns were shared across party lines, with a significant portion of the population expressing interest in clean energy sources.

San Diego is the next city to consider making outdoor dining areas popularized during the pandemic a permanent addition to the city's streetscape through its "Spaces as Places" initiative. In exchange, restaurants would pay the city a fee to expand outdoor dining in low-income neighborhoods and widen sidewalks, plant more trees, and make other improvements to further engage walkers and cyclists.

Placer County adopted an ordinance that would place a moratorium on new short-term rentals that are popular in the county's Tahoe Basin in order to prevent further housing loss, which second home ownership has propelled, for locals. Over the past year, the typical home value in South Lake Tahoe increased by 41%, and the county issued 400 to 500 new permits in 2021, which can still be renewed under the ordinance.