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CP&DR News Briefs October 11, 2022: San Diego Housing; Fire Danger Areas; Bay Area Housing Poll; and More

Mckenzie Locke on
Oct 11, 2022

San Diego City, County Agree to Affordable Housing Plan
San Diego County and the City of San Diego approved a plan to add 10,000 affordable units to the housing stock by 2030. The new projects would be built on government-owned land near transit lines, feature accelerated permitting processes, promote climate and job goals, and escalate city and countywide density. Planners will consult a GIS mapping tool of available public parcels once the technology is developed by the San Diego Foundation, and they still must raise $90 million to meet their new housing goal. Housing organizations hope the new plan will alleviate rent burden for low-income residents, 81% of whom spend over half of their income on housing and are subsequently at risk of homelessness.

State Releases Guide for Development in Areas of High Fire Danger
The recently-released Wildland-Urban Interface Planning Guide, published by a collaboration of five state agencies, unpacks the best planning tools for ensuring wildfire risk remains low and improving resilience. Planners, wildfire mitigation practitioners, and policymakers are encouraged to consult the guide for projects on any scale, from the home, to the neighborhood, to the entire district that are subject to the risks of an increasingly warm and dry environment. Designed in alignment with the Governor's Office of Planning and Research's Fire Hazard Planning Technical Advisory, the guide includes nine case studies ranging from Carlsbad to Mariposa and Shasta Counties that are evaluated based on relevancy, efficiency, innovation, effectiveness, replicability, equity, collaboration, and sustainability. (See related CP&DR coverage.)

Poll: Attitudes Toward Housing in Bay Area Vary Wildly by Race, Income
According to a recent poll from the San Francisco Chronicle, when it comes to tackling San Francisco's affordable housing crisis, opinions on the problems and solutions correlate with age, race, and income. While most residents (74%) said that unaffordable housing is a major issue that requires government solutions, Black residents reported the highest levels of concern (92%) for the housing crisis, and 84% of Hispanic residents signaled that affordable housing should be prioritized. On the other hand, people of all races over the age of 40 making more than $100,000 per year expressed the lowest level of support (35%) for prioritizing affordable housing. The data suggests that generally, younger and low-income residents and residents of color are more concerned about housing affordability and support more aggressive housing policies.

State to Make Commercial Properties Available for Conversion to Residential
The Department of Housing and Community Development and Department of General Services has made five more state-owned excess properties available for affordable housing development the under the Excess Land for Affordable Housing Executive Order N-06-19 . The sites include two former office buildings, a commercial building, a vacant CalTrans site, and a property near the Atascadero State Hospital, all of which could create hundreds of new homes in urban and rural areas. The new homes will supplement 4,400 homes currently underway through the excess properties program as the state continues to work with affordable housing developers and local communities.

Oakland Lawsuit over Raiders' Move, Value of Coliseum Fails
Oakland's effort to sue the National Football League for damages has come to an end after the Supreme Court refused to review the case. In 2018, after NFL teams voted to relocate the Raiders to Las Vegas, Oakland claimed damages of over $240 million as well as loss of tax revenue and a decrease in the property value of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The city also highlighted that, in advance of the relocation vote, the Raiders paid other NFL team owners $378 million. Though Oakland claimed that the league should have expanded to meet fan demand and make room for more financial gain, the NFL responded that it has no legal obligation to expand. Meanwhile, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals maintained that Oakland has not demonstrated significant financial harm from the decision.

CP&DR Commentary: How AB 2097 Changes the Housing Debate
With the possible exception of the ill-fated SB 50, no land use bill in memory has gotten as much attention as AB 2097, writes Bill Fulton. It remains to be seen whether AB 2097 will bring about a huge increase in housing construction in California. Although we are seeing some increases in apartment construction since the passage of SB 35 and SB 330, the only previous law that dramatically and quickly “unlocked” latent housing production was the accessory dwelling unit reform of 2017. Yet underneath all the publicity and self-congratulations about AB 2097 lies a familiar set of divisions about housing in California. In this case, the housing production advocates won. But the opponents who lost consisted of an increasingly common strange-bedfellows coalition of NIMBYs and affordable housing advocates.


Quick Hits & Updates
The Department of Housing and Community Development has invalidated the San Francisco City Attorney's determination that the "Builder's Remedy," as well as other consequences for a noncompliant adopted housing element, would not be in effect for 120 days after the Housing Element deadline expires.

Nonprofit group Californians for Homeownership is suing the City of Claremont for failing to comply with the state housing element law. The organization, which intends to improve housing affordability and accessibility, has sued nine other cities.

Despite no opposition to the project from the public, the San Francisco Planning Commission rejected a project that would transform an unused parking lot into 57 studio apartments. The commission suggested that, with only eight units below market rate, too few of the units would be affordable. (See related CP&DR coverage.)

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission released maps that present specific options a new transbay tube for BART and possibly other rail systems. While one map would allow BART and regional rail trains to run side by side, another design would form two tunnels -- one for each train.

New analysis of Measure ULA, a Los Angeles City ballot measure that would increase transfer tax rates on real estate sales of at least $5 million to help pay for affordable housing and homelessness, suggests that, if passed, the measure could result in about 26,000 affordable housing units, 43,000 new construction jobs, and significant rental assistance and income support.

San Dimas filed an environmental lawsuit against the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority for its decision to place a parking area next to its station along the 9.1-mile L Line foothill extension. If construction is delayed, the lawsuit could mean that the station will not be built.

The City of Oakland published a draft 2023-2031 Housing Element, which proposes several zoning reforms intended to increase housing production, particularly for the missing-middle, and minimize air pollution and toxic environmental dangers.

In response to a referendum to the Los Gatos 2040 General Plan hoping to limit the amount of housing units planned, the Los Gatos Town Council approved a "stopgap" measure that will put previous development standards in place until it decides how to handle the two repealed elements. While officials cannot place land use or design element measures on the 2022 ballot, voters may see them in a special election in 2023 or on the 2024 ballot.

More San Francisco home buyers relocated than any other metro area nationwide in July and August, followed by Los Angeles. Though fewer people left this year than last, the numbers reflect the impact of high mortgage rates and inflation.

Train tracks that run along the Del Mar bluffs are at risk of a cliff collapse, but the San Diego Association of Governments has a $3 billion plan to relocate the tracks to an underground tunnel by 2035. The project is moving forward with a $300 million state grant and would run 80 feet underground.