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CP&DR News Briefs August 2, 2022: S.F. Upzone Veto; San Jose-Santa Clara Truce; Fair Housing; and More

Mckenzie Locke on
Aug 2, 2022
San Francisco Upzoning Ordinance Faces Veto by Mayor Breed
A controversial proposed ordinance that would do away with single-family zoning throughout San Francisco -- but impose what critics describe as onerous burdens on land owners who want to develop small mulit-unit buildings -- is effectively dead. Mayor London Breed wrote a letter to the Board of Supervisors promising that she would veto the ordinance if it passed. Breed suggested that the ordinance's approach to development of fourplexes in residential neighborhoods and six-unit homes on corner lots would undermine SB 9 by increasing restrictions that make it harder to build housing. As only six board members supported the measure, the board cannot override the veto. However, supervisors continue to disagree with the mayor's decision, urging that they worked diligently to ensure the law would encourage both density and local land use decision making. The Department of Housing and Community Development, meanwhile, voiced its support for the mayor's veto, stressing that the proposed law would have severely undermined SB 9.

San Jose, Santa Clara Reach Settlement in Long-Running Feud
In a settlement agreement with Santa Clara, San Jose is drafting a plan to invest $38.5 million in transit infrastructure aimed at minimizing congestion in the northern part of the city. The plan would open up opportunities to build more affordable housing near key transit areas that does not, as previously required, have to pair with commercial space. In return, Santa Clara will not sue San Jose over the construction process. San Jose has committed to ensuring that 20% of total new housing is affordable, though the first 8,000 built would be market-rate. The agreement follows two decades of legal turmoil between the cities, though Santa Clara County has not yet approved the agreement due to the unfinished construction of several San Jose projects. 

HCD Releases Online Tool to Promote Fair Housing
The Department of Housing and Community Development released a new feature of its Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Data Viewer that will more comprehensively identify the impacts of segregation. The Racially Concentrated Areas of Affluence (RCAAs) map layer builds upon a metric established by researchers at the University of Minnesota to consider racism and segregation specific to California's geography. In an effort to confront policy that has systemically driven racially concentrated areas of poverty and affluence, the AFFH and RCAA will remain accessible to the public, including researchers, nonprofits, and elected officials, who would be able to reference data as support for affecting change.

SANDAG Advances New Housing Agency
A new regional affordable housing agency may come to fulfillment after the San Diego Association of Governments' board of directors voted in favor of amendments to SB 1105. The new program, titled the Regional Equitable and Environmentally Friendly Affordable Housing Agency, would center housing accessibility for residents making 120% or less of the area median income. It would raise finances through taxes and applying for state and federal funding, though that opportunity would not come until the 2024 general election. Its tax and governance structure and proposed effectiveness is facing pushback from nonprofits such as the San Diego Housing Federation and other elected officials, implying many debates to come before the program can be established.


Quick Hits & Updates 
The Bay Area's Metropolitan Transportation Commission's Operations Committee and Applied Wayfinding Inc. have agreed to a $6 million contract to establish a mapping and wayfinding system for Bay Area transit agencies across the region. Information would include information on pedestrian access to bus stop, shuttle, and major transit hub locations.

Despite vociferous criticism from equitable housing activists, St. Francis Wood has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, which will severely restrict the construction of new housing in the neighborhood. Though the St. Francis Homes Association claims the area will be inclusive, the decision continues to face criticism for preserving racial and economic segregation.
Rising housing values statewide have created a new, very large (1.2 million) group of residents who have become millionaires due to the appreciation of their homes. These millionaires, according to data from the PPIC, are typically older, white or Asian, have paid off their mortgages, and are long-time homeowners.

The Costa Mesa City Council is considering a ballot measure that would slightly minimize the impact of Measure Y, which allows voters to decide the fate of large-scale development projects. Due to the minimal approval of such projects, officials are proposing a new measure to go in front of voters that would exempt proposals to meet state housing goals from voter approval. The potential for housing exemptions in commercial and industrial neighborhoods under Measure Y, though, is not yet set in stone and may in fact be relaxed, as city officials will continue to update the ballot measure before handing its fate off to voters in November.

Palmdale will join an updated Joint Powers Agency intended to facilitate the construction of a high-speed rail system between Antelope and Victor valleys that connects to Las Vegas. The city will work with Los Angeles County, Lancaster, Adelanto, and Victorville, with LA Metro potentially joining as well.

Though Elon Musk ditched his plan to build an underground tunnel for high-speed transit between the Rancho Cucamonga Metrolink station and Ontario International Airport, the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority intends to move forward with an updated $492 million two-tunnel plan for simultaneous travel in both directions in less than 10 minutes.

Colton Joint Unified School District officials have entered a deal with an Orange County warehouse developer to swap the land that holds Zimmerman Elementary to avoid a plan that would surround the school with 2.7 million square feet of warehouses. The developer will spend $45 million to construct a new school, though community members remain concerned by the extreme level of warehouse pollution throughout Bloomington.

The Glendale City Council is reviewing two plans for a streetcar line that would connect downtown Glendale to other regional services, spanning a 2.6 square-mile area. Transit officials intend for the system to eventually lead into Burbank.

The Port of Long Beach's Board of Harbor Commissioners is reviewing the cost of restoring the Queen Mary after the ship's prior operator filed for bankruptcy. As the city attempts to transfer the ship to the port, officials estimate that an assessment of the Queen Mary will cost $3 million and that restoration and upgrades will total hundreds of millions.

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