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CP&DR News Briefs November 15, 2022: Olympic Valley Resort; 469 Stevenson EIR; Chuckwalla National Monument, and More

Mckenzie Locke on
Nov 15, 2022

Placer County Supervisors Reject Resort Development at Olympic Valley
A large development proposed at Tahoe's Olympic Valley, adjacent to Palisades Tahoe ski area, will not move forward after the Placer County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to reverse its approval in response to a lawsuit from environmental nonprofit Sierra Watch. The developer, Alterra Mountain Company, intended to construct high-rise condo hotels, a rollercoaster, and a 90,000 square-foot waterpark, all on a massive scale that would significantly impact the mountainous landscape and its ecosystems. In response, residents and volunteers fought against the project alongside Sierra Watch to prevent further damage to the area, increased traffic, reduced workforce housing, heightened fire risk, and restricted water supplies. (See related CP&DR coverage.)

Report Contradicts S.F. Supervisors' Claims about Controversial High Rise Proposal
The draft environmental impact report for 469 Stevenson, a proposed 495-unit San Francisco housing development, suggests that concerns from the Board of Supervisors about gentrification and displacement are unfounded, largely because the development is replacing a parking lot and therefore does not have a direct impact. While UC Berkeley researchers suggest 10 to 41 households may be indirectly displaced, the report indicates affordability requirements, such as the inclusion of 73 affordable units and $8 million for other low-income projects, will minimize impacts. In response to arguments that the project would harm historic and cultural resources and pose an earthquake safety risk, the report offered mitigation measures for heavy machinery used during construction and emphasized that the foundation would be seismically safe. (See related CP&DR coverage.)

700,000 Acre National Monument Proposed Southeast of Joshua Tree National Park
A new national monument intended to identify 700,000 desert acres as land for recreation and protect ecosystems and important cultural and historical sites may soon be placed along the southern edge of Joshua Tree National Park. The initiative involves the Chuckwalla National Monument, which gets its name from a lizard that lives in the Sonoran and Mojave Desert. The Protect California Deserts campaign, which is behind the move, is hoping to create a resource for the surrounding community and additionally plans to add 20,000 acres of state land to the national park. In order to come to realization, the Biden administration must issue an executive order, or Congress would need to approve the monument.

California Coast Faces Increasingly Rapid Sea Level Rise
Sea level rise is accelerating at different rates along the California coast, with Humboldt Bay experiencing the fastest rate on the West Coast, according to a new report from the California Ocean Protection Council. Humboldt Bay's decline is due to tectonic activity allowing the coast to sink, which could lead to a one foot rise by 2030 and 3.1 feet by 2060. Intense storms, also a result of climate change, are exacerbating the issue. Homes, wastewater treatment plants, part of Highway 101, and a nuclear waste storage facility could all face consequences. (See related CP&DR coverage.)

CP&DR Coverage: Deep Dive into Redondo Beach "Builder's Remedy" Project
Amid Redondo Beach's longstanding aversion to new development, a developer purchased an outdated power plant in 2018, and in August submitted a preliminary proposal for One Redondo, a large mixed-use development that includes a hotel, retail and office spaces, 22.5 acres of green space, and, most notably, 2,290 housing units. Importantly, 458 of which are low-income. The combined projects have drawn criticism from both city officials and residents, many of whom have long opposed the development of housing in part on the grounds that, regardless of housing pressures in coastal California, more residents will strain the city’s streets. “Builder’s Remedy” laws, codified primarily in the 1990 Housing Accountability Act and put into play by ambitious Sixth Cycle RHNA goals, may enable the project might go forward whether the city likes it or not.

Quick Hits & Updates

After hearing hours of public comments, Beaumont officials unanimously rejected a general plan amendment that would have permitted a proposal for a 1.2 million square-foot warehouse project called Summit Station's to move forward.

In response to complaints from homeowners, the San Diego Planning Department has formulated a plan to redefine "transit priority areas." The change would include a new category, "sustainable development areas," which identifies areas within a one mile radius along pedestrian pathways rather than a half-mile around a transit stop to ensure that locations are accessible. The homeowners remain unhappy, but city officials are concerned they just want to reduce housing density overall.

Five California tribal nations will reclaim stewardship over coastal land with $3.6 million in state support. Over 200 miles of coastline and marine ecosystems will receive protection from the tribes as part of the Tribal Marine Stewards Network. The tribes plan to monitor salmon populations, test for toxins, and pass on knowledge to future generations.

The California Association of Realtors has released an apology for its part in worsening racial segregation. The group is now working to confront its history, collaborating with nonprofits that focus on racial equity, supporting a bill that would overturn a law that complicates affordable housing construction, and committing to improving intergenerational wealth for Black households.

The new nine-mile Arrow train service from San Bernardino to Redlands is open for riders. The train will operate over twenty trips per day and one daily express train between Downtown Redlands and Los Angeles' Union Station. (See related CP&DR coverage.)

The Napa City Council has voted unanimously to adopt its 2040 General Plan, which includes significant input from the General Plan Advisory Committee (GPAC), formed to improve community outreach. The GPAC's members include local residents who collaborated with city staff.

Gov. Gavin Newsom's approval of a bill that prohibits new oil and gas wells from operating within 3,200 feet of community areas has been met with a referendum proposition to reverse the law. A lobbying firm that represents Exxon Mobil and Chevron has started gathering the 623,000 signatures it needs to place the proposition on the 2024 ballot.

Since San Francisco will not be able to meet a rail loop construction deadline, the city must return a $15 million grant from the federal government intended to help the city make Market Street car-free. Construction on the F loop has been indefinitely postponed.