A proposed waterfront hotel in Santa Barbara appears to be moving ahead after years of controversy. City officials in early June approved design plans for a 150-room hotel on Cabrillo Boulevard next to the existing Doubletree Hotel, and construction is likely to begin next year. The city originally approved the hotel in 1993. However Fess Parker, an actor and winery owner who owns the both this property and the neighboring Doubletree, wanted a hotel with more than 150 rooms. After failing to get city consent for a larger hotel, he qualified a ballot measure that would have allowed a 225-room facility. But voters rejected Measure S in 1999 by a 2-to-1 ratio. The city's original approval remained in effect, giving Parker until 2007 to build the hotel. He continued to tinker with the design, but the city rejected several modifications, including a third story and fewer parking spaces. The approved project will have two stories and something of a residential appearance. The Santa Barbara County grand jury has recommended the county create four area planning commissions because of distrust between north and south county residents. The grand jury report, issued at the end of May, recommended separate planning panels for unincorporated areas around the cities of Santa Maria, Lompoc and Carpenteria, and for the Santa Ynez Valley. The commission did not make a recommendation for a separate planning commission for the community of Goleta, as voters there are scheduled to decide on incorporation in November. The area commissions would have the same authority as the existing countywide planning commission. The grand jury also recommended the Board of Supervisors appoint members and that volunteers do much of the staff work. Residents of the Santa Maria area, about 70 miles north of the county seat in Santa Barbara, and other outlying locations have argued for years that they are not adequately represented in county land use decisions. At the same time, county supervisors are wrestling with redistricting. Rapid growth in Santa Maria could give the north county a majority on the five-member Board of Supervisors for the first time. Santa Clara County and the City of San Jose have approved an agreement to share the city's redevelopment tax increment and to give the county a say over city redevelopment projects. The agreement, approved in late May, calls for the city to direct about $15 million in tax increment per year through 2014 to the county, about double what the county has been receiving. In exchange, the county agreed to lobby the Legislation to extend San Jose's redevelopment efforts past a 2004 sunset date. The city and county have fought for years over the city's aggressive use of redevelopment, which county officials say deprives them of general fund revenues. The city expects to collect about $140 million in tax increment this year, and about $230 million annually by 2014. Voters in San Bruno in June approved a ballot measure permitting taller than normal buildings in a 20-acre mixed-used development. Seventy-two percent of voters approved of buildings as tall as 90 feet at The Crossings, a hotel, senior housing and retail development adjacent to a planned BART station (see CP&DR Places, May 2001). The vote on Measure E allows the project to move forward as originally designed and approved by the City Council. A $98 annual park tax failed to receive two-thirds voter approval in the City of Davis during a June election. Measure S received about 59% of the vote. The city's existing $49-a-year assessment to fund park development and maintenance ends in June 2002, and the City Council may place another park tax on the ballot before the sunset date. In November, Davis voters approved a $24-a-year assessment for 30 years to purchase open space and conservation easements around the city. The Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission approved a major sphere of influence expansion for the City of Folsom in June. The decision adds 3,600 acres of oak woodlands and pastures south of Highway 50 to the city's sphere. Fast-growth Folsom has sought to gain control of the land for 10 years (see CP&DR Local Watch, April 2001). However, the land lies outside the county's urban services limit line, and county officials have fought to keep the property undeveloped. The LAFCO approval came with numerous conditions. Before it annexes any of the property, the city must prove it can provide adequate water and sewer services, and not make traffic worse on Highway 50. "I believe this is probably the most stringent set of conditions ever placed on a sphere of influence amendment, and I'm not just talking about Sacramento County," LAFCO Member and Citrus Heights City Councilwoman Roberta MacGlashan told the Sacramento Bee. Tulare County and the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment have settled the Center's lawsuit over the county's program environmental impact report for dairies. Tulare County adopted the program EIR in April 2000, after the state attorney general's office sued the county to force great environmental scrutiny of two dairies. However, the Center contended the document was inadequate (see CP&DR, August 2000, July 1999). In exchange for the Center's dropping the lawsuit, the county agreed to complete additional study of dairies' cumulative impacts on air quality and ground water, and to consider additional mitigation measures. Tulare County is already the most productive dairy county in the nation and the industry continues to grow in the region. Planners have not been processing dairy applications because of the litigation by the attorney general's office and the Center. About 60 applications are pending. The Santa Clara Unified School District conducted a lottery in late June among teachers wanting space in a new apartment complex built by the school district. About 80 teachers applies for the 40 apartments under construction at the site of a closed school. The apartments will be available to teachers at about half of market rate, or about $700 a month for one-bedroom units and $1,200 a month for two-bedroom apartments. The district developed the housing as an incentive to attract and keep teachers discouraged by the expensive Silicon Valley housing market. Although the project is reported to be the first of its kind, other Bay Area school districts are pursuing subsidized teacher housing as well (see CP&DR Deals, February 2001). A joint study by the Institute of Urban and Regional Development at University of California, Berkeley, and the Center for Environmental Design found that urban encroachment around three major military bases is likely to pose conflicts. Camp Pendleton in northern San Diego County, Miramar Marine Corps Air Station in San Diego, and Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield are likely to feel the effects of urban growth, the study found. Researchers, however, reported that rapid growth does not appear likely to affect military bases elsewhere in the state, and adequate planning should prevent land use, noise and other conflicts from occurring. Thus, researchers concluded that a single, statewide policy cannot address the issues, which tend to be localized. Researchers urged local planners to incorporate the military's concerns into planning and permitting activities. An Alameda County Superior Court judge in June prevented the Moraga Town Council from reviewing a project approved by the Planning Commission because the only appeal of the project had been dropped. In March, the Planning Commission voted 4-2 to approve a 5,600-square-foot building in the Rheem Valley Shopping Center for a Starbucks and a Blockbuster store. One project opponent appealed the decision but later withdrew the appeal. The Town Council scheduled a hearing anyway, prompting a suit from the shopping center's owner. Judge Walter Rogers ruled that the Town Council hads no jurisdiction to review a project that was no longer the subject of an appeal.