San Diego Overhauls Neighborhood Planning Groups
The San Diego City Council approved reforms intended to improve diversity and organization within 42 neighborhood planning groups, but the move is facing mixed responses. Moving forward, community groups will no longer be able to appeal development approvals without a cost, and developers will be "encouraged" to meet with groups but not required. The reforms face support from those who say that they will meaningfully increase inclusivity by setting more severe term limits and involving more renters and people of color. While supporters also say that this will make it easier to approve dense housing developments, opponents claim that increasing requirements will become a burden to planning groups, reducing their power.
State Releases Updated Housing Dashboard
The Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) released updates to its Statewide Housing Plan Dashboard and Affordability Calculator that will improve the public's ability to navigate housing conditions. The new dashboard includes updated data from Census Bureau surveys. Now, researchers, elected officials, and the general public will more easily be able to analyze data on household demographics, housing needs, median home value and rents, and housing production. The HCD has also released an updated Housing Affordability Calculator for local governments to report on the lowest income category for which a unit would be affordable based on the year built.
Study Measures Acceleration of Coastline Erosion
Sea level rise and shoreline erosion is accelerating along the coast, with California's northernmost counties experiencing the fastest crumbling, according to a new study from UC San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography. According to the researchers, Humboldt Bay and Del Norte County include the most affected locations. Cliffs accompanied by sandy beaches have tended to erode the fastest due to coarse materiality of sand. The authors suspect that more rainfall and larger waves may be responsible for causing more erosion in the north compared to Southern California. However, the entire coast saw an average loss of 2 inches annually between 2009-2011 and 2016, a figure that includes major outliers such as a 16-foot loss in Martin's Beach and Big Sur. (See related CP&DR coverage.)
Los Angeles County Settles Homelessness Suit; Commits $236 Million
Los Angeles County officials have committed to spending hundreds of millions of dollars on the housing and homelessness crisis in a settlement agreement to put legal challenges from the LA Alliance for Human Rights to rest. The original lawsuit argues that city and county officials have failed to care for unhoused residents and have consequently put them at constant risk. Through 2027, officials intend to spend $236 million on outreach, permanent and temporary housing, and more services such as case management, physical and mental health support, and childcare. This funding supplements the $530 million for homelessness spending approved by voters in 2017 raised using a sales tax.
California Cities Lead Nation in Cost Burden for Residents
In SmartAsset's sixth study on nationwide housing inaccessibility, Glendale, Los Angeles, and Anaheim were all included among the top ten most severely cost-burdened cities. Glendale ranked first for the highest percentage of households who spend at least 50% on housing, with 31.08% of its households severely cost-burdened. Nationwide, renters tended to be more burdened than homeowners are, and 37.77% of Glendale renters were reported to face this challenge. Renters in San Bernardino, Santa Clarita, and Moreno Valley were also some of the most cost-burdened. Los Angeles came in fifth for all households, though homeowners were more burdened than renters. In addition to New York and Florida, California had some of the highest percentages of cost-burdened residents.
CP&DR Coverage: California APA Conference
CP&DR writers attended the conference of the California Chapter of the American Planning Association October 1 through today in Anaheim. Bill Fulton analyzed the expected impacts of the two major new laws to facilitate conversion of commercial properties into residential, AB 2011 and SB 6. Josh Stephens mused on the significance of holding an urban planning conference across the (very wide) street from an institution famously dedicated to fictional built environments -- and to making piles of money along the way. Earlier this week, CP&DR ran an interview previewing one of the conference's spotlight panels, a discussion of the legacy of "sundown towns" in California. Thanks to everyone who chatted with us, shared story ideas, and stopped by our exhibit table.
Quick Hits & Updates
Oakland officials intend to return five acres of land currently owned by the city to Indigenous peoples who have long lived around the East Bay. The city will continue conversations with the East Bay Ohlone Tribe, Confederated Villages of Lisjan Nation, and Sogorea Te' Land Trust in the transfer process.
A revised redevelopment plan for the Oceanside Transit Center includes a hotel, hundreds of housing units, retail spaces, offices, and nearly 1,800 parking spaces. The center would serve Amtrak, commuter, light-rail, and Metrolink trains as well as buses.
U.S. Rep. Judy Chu from Pasadena presented a nearly $1 million check to the nonprofit group Nature For All to enable people to visit Angeles National Forest using public transit. While the only way to reach the green space right now is by car, this plan would allow visitors to use a van or bus service that starts from the Metro L (Gold) Line in Pasadena.
Mountain View officials have committed to ensuring that rent-controlled apartments set to be demolished for new rental units are replaced with housing that remains "naturally affordable." While this policy already applied to renters making less than 80% of the area's median income, apartments will now be deed restricted across the board to ensure affordability instead of increasing rental rates.
IDS Real Estate purchased the 63 acres of land that encompasses Irwindale Speedway. The new developer has plans to redevelop the speedway into an industrial park due to its location near transportation arterials and the regional transportation network.
Metro will open Los Angeles's Crenshaw/LAX rail (K) line on October 7, three years behind schedule and with free rides for that entire weekend. The line runs eight and a half miles and will eventually reach LAX and the South Bay, though construction delays have set back that route until 2026.