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CP&DR News Briefs March 8, 2022: State Housing Plan; UC Berkeley Update; San Jose Open Space Suit; and More

Mckenzie Locke on
Mar 8, 2022

State Housing Plan Envisions 2.5 Million New Homes by 2030
State housing officials have released a new plan that calls on cities to build a combined 2.5 million homes by 2030, which amounts to more than double the goal from the previous target set four years ago. Additionally, at least one million must be affordable, according to the RHNA. Of the 2.5 million, six southern California counties must produce over half. Officials cited years of under-supply and rising house and rental costs that have exacerbated the housing crisis and reduced ability to afford childcare, transportation, food, and healthcare. They have also said that cities now have access to better tools to meet requirements and will face consequences if they don't, including less time to rezone land for the future and legal and financial penalties.

Supreme Court Rejects UC Berkeley's Appeal in CEQA Case
UC Berkeley will not be allowed to postpone an order to cap its enrollment for the fall and must reduce its incoming class size by 3,050 students after the state Supreme Court rejected UC's appeal of a lower court ruling. As a result, the university will send 5,000 fewer admission letters this month. To alleviate the burden of the court order, the UC may increase online opportunities and ask incoming first-year students to delay enrollment. Celebrating the court decision is organization Save Berkeley's Neighborhoods, which filed the lawsuit with the argument that UC propelled a housing shortage in Berkeley. The university continues to work with state officials to bypass the cap, a move supported by Gov. Gavin Newsom and Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín, who believe the decision exploits CEQA. (See related CP&DR analysis.)

San Jose Faces Lawsuit over Open Space
Three San Jose families who purchased a total of 126.5 acres of open land in North Coyote Valley over 50 years ago are suing the city, which made plans to protect the space from development into an industrial park. The landowners will argue that the city's proposal is "unfair," as they planned to sell and capitalize off of their properties. Edward Burg, the attorney representing the families, noted that the issue isn't about preservation but rather fairness and that the city should compensate the landowners with a fair market value, considering San Jose and environmental group partners purchased 937 acres across the street for $96 million in November 2019.

SPUR Analyzes Inequities of Prop 13
SPUR released a report that analyzes Proposition 13's inequitable impacts on Oakland residents, finding that white homeowners were more likely than homeowners of color to save more on property taxes. Notably, white neighborhoods saw an average of $10,000 in savings per home compared to $3,000 for homes in Latinx neighborhoods. Prop. 13 then causes the city to lose out on $400 million in annual tax revenue, which harms residents who could benefit from government investment in goods and services. Researchers ultimately found that Prop. 13 isn't meaningfully beneficial for most Oakland homeowners, and the law widens the Bay Area's racial wealth gap.

CP&DR Coverage: Oakland & Sacramento Contemplate Obsolete Arenas
Sacramento and Oakland have been struggling for years over what to do with outdated professional sports arenas. In Sacramento, it’s the Sleep Train Arena, which was a mid-’80s greenfield development on the north side of the city. The NBA’s Kings abandoned it for a downtown arena in 2016. In Oakland, it’s the entire 120-acre Coliseum complex, including Oracle Arena, which the Warriors left in 2020, and the Oakland Coliseum. Comparing the two cities, Sacramento is out ahead, and is about to turn the land around Sleep Train Arena into a mixed-use development with a medical school campus. Oakland is still trying to come up with a plan that re-uses the Oakland Coliseum.

Quick Hits & Updates

California Northstate University, the Elk Grove-based medical school with a proposal to build a $1 billion hospital and medical university at Sacramento's old Sleep Train Arena Site, has been placed on probation The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) . This will not alter the school's operations or its proposal for North Natomas. Reasons for the probation were not disclosed. The Sacramento City Council in February approved a zoning plan for the project, which would include 11 to 14 stories and 200 to 500 patient beds. (See related CP&DR coverage.)

The largest dam demolition project in U.S. history may move forward after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission found in its draft environmental impact report that knocking down four dams along the Klamath River would prompt meaningful benefits of migratory salmon. Public hearings on the draft now await for the $500 million habit restoration project.

Oakland and Alameda County property owners are legally challenging a pandemic-induced, 2-year-old eviction moratorium, arguing that the local governments are violating their property rights. They also believe that tenants are taking advantage of the policy.

The Sacramento Kings have put most of the former Sleep Train Arena property on the market. The organization is searching for a master developer to execute plans for a commercial and residential property in Natomas. (See related CP&DR coverage.)

Construction on the Terraces of Lafayette has been halted again after grassroots organization Save Lafayette appealed a judge's ruling that approved the project's environmental review, further delaying the decade-long project. The development would hold 315 apartments with 63 affordable units and 550 parking spaces across 14 buildings on 22 acres. (See related CP&DR coverage.)

L.A. Controller Ron Galperin submitted his third review of Los Angeles's performance of Prop. HHH, the $1.2 billion bond program aimed at reducing homelessness by producing as many as 10,000 housing units and interim shelters. According to the review, homelessness has increased over 45% since Prop. HHH passed, and pacing and funding problems overshadow progress, with one project costing over $830,000 per unit.

The first headquarters of the Black Panther Party, now home to It's All Good Bakery in Oakland, might get demolished and transformed into a five-story, 20-unit mixed-use housing development. Many Oakland residents have voiced concerns about the potential project's erasure of Black history and the impact on the city's Black community.

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