CP&DR News Briefs May 31, 2022: Anaheim Stadium Debacle; S.F. Housing Measures; Santa Cruz Ballot Measures, and More

Mckenzie Locke on
May 31, 2022

Anaheim Stadium Deal Collapses Amid Alleged Malfeasance
Angels owner Arte Moreno's development company has agreed to abide by Anaheim City Council's decision to redevelop the Angel Stadium sale. The move comes after two Anaheim officials associated with an FBI investigation of the sale stepped down: Mayor Harry Sidhu, who has been accused of bribery, fraud, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering, and Melahat Rafiei, a member of the Democratic National Committee and state party secretary, who has been accused of bribery. The team has been notified to keep documents related to the sale if further legal action is taken, and Anaheim will return the $50 million Moreno put in escrow. While the move culminates a decades-long saga for the moment, it's unclear whether Moreno will look to new negotiations in Anaheim or another city. The deal, which had been in the works for years, had been complicated by new provisions in the Surplus Land Act requiring the consideration of affordable housing on public sites. (See related CP&DR coverage.)

San Francisco Voters May Face Competing Housing-Related Ballot Measures
San Francisco Supervisor Connie Chan has introduced a charter amendment for the November ballot to streamline affordable housing construction, which has received support from several other supervisors. If the amendment, in addition to a previously released plan from Mayor London Breed, makes it on the ballot, voters will consider two contesting housing proposals. Chan's proposal, which is championed as more progressive than the Mayor's for its push for affordability over market-rate housing, would waive discretionary reviews for 100% affordable projects, teacher housing, and multifamily developments that meet affordability requirements. While the YIMBY group measure, backed by Mayor Breed, requires about 27,000 more signatures by July 11, Chan must gain the support of five of her fellow supervisors by July 26 to qualify.

Land Use Measures on Santa Cruz County Ballot
Voters in Santa Cruz County voters will consider two significant measures on their June 7 primary ballot: Measure D, the Santa Cruz County Greenway Initiative, and Measure F, a sales tax increase. Measure D would update the county General Plan's Circulation Element to accommodate the construction of an interim trail within the Santa Cruz Branch Line Rail Corridor. While supporters hope that a 32-mile trail will increase access to the outside and reduce car use, opponents believe the measure's intention is ambiguous. Measure F, meanwhile, would increase the county sales tax by 0.5% to 9.75% to fund more local services. Supporters maintain that the measure will increase affordability and livability, while opponents disagree with the directing of money to the general fund, stating that it will be difficult to ensure which programs are funded.

Climate Report Card Gives High Marks to California Cities
While most large U.S. cities are not on track to meet their climate goals, San Francisco is equitably cleaning up its energy use, according to the 2021 City Clean Energy Scorecard. The report, released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), ranks 100 major U.S. cities on efforts including reducing energy waste in homes and buildings and moving toward a cleaner power grid. San Francisco came in first place for its new program that provides free home energy-saving kits to residents living in low-income areas with high pollution. The city also updated its energy code for new buildings and received honors for its transportation programs. Los Angeles, San Jose, and Oakland took 8th, 9th, and 10th place, respectively.

CP&DR Coverage: Unpacking Burbank's Interpretation of SB 35
SB 35 permits ministerial approval of housing projects in some circumstances, assuming they meet affordable housing and labor requirements, in cities that are not meeting their regional housing targets. As Bill Fulton writes, we’ve seen SB 35 fights in many cities, but most of the time the staff has made the determination as to whether SB 35 applies – a logical approach given that ministerial, by definition, means that city councils and planning commissions don’t get to review the project. But not in Burbank, where the city council has adopted an ordinance giving itself the power to determine whether a project meets SB 35 criteria.

Quick Hits & Updates 

San Diego City Council has identified the top three finalists for the redevelopment of the Midway District's sports arena site, with affordable housing and experience with indoor arenas as the top criteria. In descending order of affordable housing units proposed, Midway Rising, HomeTown SF, and Midway Village+ will move forward in competition over developing the 48.5-acre site.

Marin County has voted to temporarily ban new vacation rental applications along the coast and in San Geronimo Valley until policymakers form a strategy for ensuring that residents' housing and job needs are met while welcoming tourism.

A plan to transform the unoccupied Woodland Hills Promenade mall into a 3.2 million square-foot urban district has shifted gears after Los Angeles Rams owner Stanley Kroenke purchased the property. While plans remain unknown, the purchase suggests that Rams presence will significantly impact the area.

An ordinance introduced by San Francisco District 10 Supervisor Shamann Walton is preventing a 5.8-acre Amazon warehouse in San Francisco's Mission Bay from moving forward. The legislation requires new parcel delivery service locations to acquire additional conditional use approval from the Board of Supervisors Planning Department, which would consider whether or not the developer properly considered community input.

The Port of Oakland's board of commissioners approved a proposal from Eagle Rock Aggregates to build an open-air sand and gravel storage and distribution operation on 18 acres that would produce $43-60 million in profits. Environmental activists have fought against the 12-year lease, arguing that it will pollute the community.

A new study from UC Berkeley on five California railways finds that transit projects frequently run over budget and behind schedule, pointing to ineffective planning and management. Researchers suggest that lessons learned, such as the necessity to plan well in early stages and ensure that builders have a platform to contribute to project design, should apply to transit projects throughout California and the United States.

Transforming 42 acres of contaminated railroad property along Cypress Park and Glassell Park into a "crown jewel" of L.A. River park land could come with a $1 billion price tag, according to a new study by the Bureau of Engineering. The City of Los Angeles purchased a piece of Taylor Yard, known as G2, for $60 million in 2017 with a plan to revitalize the L.A. River.

Kaiser Permanente has committed to doubling its Thriving Communities Fund to $400 million, which would go toward affordable housing and other projects. Their new plan is to make 30,000 units available by 2030.

L.A. Metro approved the environmental impact report for the 18-mile, 22-station Bus Rapid Transit through North Hollywood, Burbank, Glendale, Eagle Rock, and Pasadena. The plan, mostly based on the Beautiful Boulevard proposal, includes one bus, one car, and one bike lane in addition to on-street parking for each direction along Colorado Boulevard.