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CP&DR News Briefs September 13, 2022: L.A. Fairgrounds; S.D. Midway District; Climate Legislation; and More

Mckenzie Locke on
Sep 13, 2022

487-Acre Public Parcel in L.A. County to be Redeveloped
Pomona's 487-acre Fairplex campus, which typically hosts the LA County Fair and other large events, will be redeveloped, though Fairplex and county officials have not yet decided into what. County and city officials are proposing affordable housing, retail and restaurants, and a green space and will continue to consider public opinion as they develop ideas over the next few years. Fairplex CEO Walter Marquez says the organization also plans to involve the impact of a Metro rail extension stop near the site. While planning officials are nowhere near finalizing a plan, they are already facing concerns about water use and other environmental impacts.

Group Challenges Ballot Measure to Raise Building Heights in San Diego Midway District
While San Diego wants to raise the 30-foot building height limit in the Midway District, the nonprofit whose lawsuit invalidated the first ordinance to do so is again challenging the ballot proposal. Environmental group Save Our Access is disputing the legality of Measure C, which would allow San Diego to move forward with the redevelopment of a 48-acre sports arena site. Save Our Access is urging the city to analyze environmental impacts, but a ruling before the November election, which will include the ballot measure, is unlikely. The same judge who sided with Save Our Access in 2020 will rule on this case, though the city believes that it could be in the clear since officials have examined the visual impacts of buildings up to 100 feet tall.

Legislature Passes Major Climate Change Bills, with $54B in Spending
State lawmakers approved several pieces of legislation aimed at tackling emissions reductions, permitting $54 billion in climate spending. The initiatives also include oil and gas drilling restrictions and a commitment to slashing and offsetting carbon dioxide emissions entirely by 2045. Controversially, lawmakers also voted to continue operating the state's last nuclear plant for five years in order to meet electricity demands as they continue to expand renewable energy sources, a move that aligns with severe heat waves leading to power outages across the state. While significant, officials have not yet created implementation plans to act on their goals. The only unapproved proposal was a goal to eradicate greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

UCLA Releases Tool Tracking Effects of Extreme Heat
The UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation and Public Health Alliance of Southern California released a new tool that tracks the neighborhoods that are most vulnerable to rising temperatures and where protections should be prioritized. The California Healthy Places Index (HPI): Extreme Heat Edition studies how high temperatures will rise; who is most at-risk to extreme heat; community resiliency as understood by green spaces, clean air, and clean water; and resource availability, including programs that provide air conditioners to low-income residents or funding for urban greenery. Importantly, the HPI demonstrates intersections between these factors to help state agencies, local and tribal governments, education officials, nonprofits, and more understand where to concentrate investments.

CP&DR Coverage: Do More Housing Laws Equal More Housing?
For the fourth year in a row, Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed major legislation designed to increase housing production – a surprise this year, which began as a year when it appeared as though the rush to expand housing production legislation would slow down. So maybe now is a good time to ask whether all these bills are actually increasing housing production. What’s really happening on the ground? If you think a lack of housing supply is part of California’s housing affordability problem, then the numbers are clearly encouraging: We see a 15% increase from last year and a 35% increase from 2019. That’s far below Newsom’s campaign promise to quintuple housing production but it’s better than nothing.

Quick Hits & Updates

Carpinteria voters will weight in on a contentious debate over the future of a beachside parking lot on the November ballot. While one group wants to change its zoning status to keep the open space, another is hoping that the current zoning will allow for a two-story boutique hotel.

SANDAG's plan to pay for its $172 billion Regional Transportation Plan with a road user charge will proceed after receiving approval from the state Air Resources Board. A pilot program for the road-user charge is planned to launch in about four years.

San Benito supervisors have voted to spend up to $50,000 on an education program about the proposed Strada Verde Innovation Park and Measures Q and R following concerns that county residents have misinformation about the interrelated initiatives. While there is no plan to build housing, residents are pushing back against housing construction on Strada Verde.

Santa Rosa leaders have unanimously approved a ban on new gas stations in an effort to disincentivize fossil fuel dependence and make a transition to renewable energy sources. The move follows the state's decision to ban the sale of gasoline vehicles by 2035.


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