San Diego City Council Rejects Mayor's Housing Package
The San Diego City Council rejected Mayor Todd Gloria's Housing Action Package 2.0, initially perceived as uncontroversial. The proposal faced opposition over two elements: redirecting fee waivers from studio to three-bedroom units, and altering rules requiring on-site affordable units for dense developments. A council block tried unsuccessfully to modify or remove these changes, resulting in a deadlock vote of 4-4 with one member absent. Ultimately, the council voted, 5-3, against the package, possibly sending it back to the Land Use and Housing Committee or the full Council for further review.

State Lawsuit Against Huntington Beach May Proceed
A federal judge dismissed Huntington Beach's housing regulations lawsuit against the state. The judge cited previous Ninth Circuit Court rulings, stating that the city lacked standing to challenge the state's housing mandates in federal court, advising the city to pursue the matter in a state court, emphasizing that the decision on the constitutionality of state housing laws falls within the state's jurisdiction. Huntington Beach's City Attorney expressed plans to appeal the federal court's decision to the Ninth Circuit, believing that the city's lawsuit deserves a comprehensive legal review. Despite this setback, Attorney General Rob Bonta intends to continue his legal battle in the state court to enforce California's housing laws, stressing the necessity for collective efforts in addressing the state's housing crisis. The dismissal of the federal lawsuit allows the state's case against Huntington Beach to proceed in the state court, reigniting discussions on potential penalties if the city does not comply with housing mandates. (See related CP&DR coverage.)

"California Forever" Proposes Land Exchange for Conservation
The planned city California Forever proposed a land exchange to Solano County Fairfield, and Solano County Water Agency, offering 1,573 acres of high habitat land on Jepson Prairie near Travis Air Force Base in exchange for 1,403 acres of pasture further away. The swap aims to align with the Department of Defense’s environmental program and preserve the Solano County Habitat Conservation Plan. The exchange, conditioned on voter and regulatory approval, includes a $1 million contribution towards the conservation plan and aims to finalize by December 31. However, the group behind the large acquisitions is under scrutiny for potential foreign backing, although it recently revealed their largest US tech investors. However, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) continues to investigate the project amid concerns of undisclosed foreign investment and national security risks. Critics remain skeptical of the project's funding sources and its alignment with local interests.

Los Angeles Mayor Signs Order to Streamline Housing Approvals
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass issued an executive directive aimed at enhancing housing affordability and accessibility across the city. This directive seeks to incentivize the construction of housing for people of various income levels, placing a particular emphasis on affordable and mixed-income housing. It outlines measures to reduce barriers to homeownership, expedite housing projects, convert existing buildings into housing and streamline the permitting process. These steps aim to address the longstanding housing crisis by encouraging faster housing development, especially for affordable units and navigating environmental reviews for projects effectively. The directive further establishes an interdepartmental working group to drive organizational improvements and permit clearance coordination, aiming to reduce processing timelines for housing projects by up to 30%. Additionally, technological advancements and enhanced counter services will be pursued to further facilitate the development and coordination of permitting for various projects.

State Receives $443 Million in Housing Funds from Feds
The State of California and the Biden Administration received a $443 million infusion of federal housing funding for fall 2023. The funding will support various programs to address housing needs throughout the state, with a particular focus on small and rural communities. These programs will provide grants and loans to support affordable rental housing, rental assistance, home-ownership assistance, property rehabilitation and infrastructure improvements, aiming to serve historically underresourced communities. The investment is designed to help bridge the housing gap in all parts of California, including underserved rural areas. This funding is part of a historic effort to ensure equity in housing funding reach and provides smaller jurisdictions with opportunities to access federal dollars to meet their residents' critical housing needs. The funding is expected to have a transformative impact on small and rural areas in California. The programs include the National Housing Trust Fund, HOME-American Rescue Plan Rental Housing Program, HOME Investments Partnership Program and the HOME-ARP Housing Plus Support Program, among others.

ICYMI: The Saga of the Oakland A's (Probably) Ends
CP&DR has been around since the days of Ricky Henderson, Dennis Eckersley, and the Bash Brothers. In that time, the Oakland A's and their stadium have provided these pages with a steady stream of news, both in standalone articles and, especially, in countless news briefs. In the most recent, and seemingly final, chapter, the team failed to close a deal on its proposed Howard Terminal stadium and development, and the City of Oakland, along with A's fans, tried in vain to prevent the team from moving to Las Vegas. It was for naught. Last week, Major League Baseball approved the move. Here is a selection of CP&DR coverage of the A's stadium saga over the years:

With the 120-acre Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Complex now bereft of major league teams, the city now gets to see which developer(s) are willing to play ball on the site of "Baseball's Last Dive Bar."

Quick Hits & Updates

After 56 seasons, Major League Baseball owners unanimously approved the Oakland Athletics' relocation to Las Vegas, ending their time in Oakland despite the A's owner's efforts and a failed stadium search. The move leaves Oakland without an MLB team as early as 2025 and signals possible MLB expansion, although it's uncertain if the Bay Area could become a candidate following the A's departure.

In San Jose's Coyote Valley, a proposal for a massive family compound on a 4.6-acre lot has sparked a heated debate over land preservation versus private property rights. The Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority seeks to acquire the land through eminent domain to protect the area's rural character and invested funds, while the landowner insists on building an 8,465-square-foot house, leading to a contentious legal battle over the future of the landscape.

The California Department of Housing and Community Development certified the City of Walnut Creek’s Housing Element, outlining plans for 5,805 new housing units, including 3,501 affordable homes, from 2023 to 2031.

Berkeley and BART officials have tentatively agreed on a community benefits package for housing plans above the Ashby station's parking lot. However, concerns remain regarding a power facility expansion that might not address residents' hopes for the area's development, leading to clashes between community groups and BART regarding its design and placement.

A new report on proposed legislation in San Francisco suggests that changes aimed at creating opportunities for small businesses could bring 270 to 1,300 new jobs to the city, with potential economic gains ranging from $62 million to $300 million over the next 25 years. However, the impact on housing, particularly the conversion of corner lots into commercial space, could lead to a net job growth of 278 to 1,347 jobs over the same period.

Over 40,000 individuals have applied for federal rental assistance in San Francisco, seeking a spot on a waitlist for Section 8 housing vouchers, indicating a high demand for housing support in the expensive market. Despite 6,500 spots opening on the waitlist, only 1,000 rental vouchers are currently available, and it's anticipated to take approximately two years for those on the waitlist to secure a voucher, reflecting the challenges in meeting the housing needs in the city.

Los Angeles City Council President Paul Krekorian reached an agreement with the hotel workers' union, Unite Here Local 11, to withdraw a ballot measure requiring hotels to participate in a program placing homeless residents in vacant rooms. Instead, a new set of regulations for hotel development will be introduced, necessitating a more extensive approval process and mandating developers to replace demolished housing, while the union's proposal for housing homeless residents in hotel rooms becomes voluntary, resembling the existing Inside Safe program.

Boeing's electric flying company Whisk concluded its flight program at Long Beach Airport by conducting the inaugural public demonstration of an autonomous electric vertical take-off and landing ( eVTOL) air taxi flight in the Los Angeles area. The company is the first eVTOL air taxi to carry out public flights in Los Angeles County.

LA Metro's Board of Directors voted 12-0, with one absence, to extend the MetroMicro pilot program until September 2024. The on-demand rideshare service, launched in 2020, initially planned for a three-year pilot, and the extension aims to refine the Micro schedule for efficiency, though concerns about the $42 cost per $1 ride have prompted considerations of a fare increase to $2.50. Metro plans to explore ways to streamline Micro service, particularly in areas with limited public transit options, and will conduct a study to assess the program's viability after the extended period.

A recent poll sponsored by the Bay Area News Group and Joint Venture Silicon Valley shows that Bay Area voters are hesitant to support subsidies for commuter rail systems through conventional means like tax, toll, and fare increases. While 56% believe commuter rail is important for the Bay Area and are willing to pay more to maintain it, these levels of support may not meet California's current approval requirements for special taxes, signaling shifting attitudes towards transit investment.