After five years, a planning effort for a new growth area in south San Jose has halted because a coalition of developers has ceased funding the effort. Coyote Housing Group, which includes Shapell Homes, Citation Homes and other developers, announced in mid-March that it would suspend funding for work on the Coyote Valley specific plan. The group cited the "extremely complex planning process" and complications with existing industrial entitlements in North Coyote Valley.
"Given these circumstances, there is simply too much uncertainty surrounding the plan and the market to continue as is," said Chris Truebridge, president of Shapell Homes.
"It means that we're done," said Laurel Prevetti, San Jose's assistant planning director. "The city does not have the money to complete the specific plan process."
Coyote Valley is a swath of about 7,000 acres of mostly undeveloped farmland and open space along Highway 101 in South San Jose. The city has already approved 6.6 million square feet of industrial development in North Coyote Valley. The specific plan process was intended to incorporate the development of 25,000 housing units in an integrated community with the industrial job centers. Development of Coyote Valley is controversial with environmentalists, south county interests and some San Jose community activists who fear an emphasis on the area could shift services away from existing neighborhoods.
The planning process started in 2003 and the Coyote Housing Group reported it has spent $17 million on planning. Although the specific plan and an environmental impact report remain incomplete, development of the industrial areas could go forward at any point, according to Prevetti.
Prevetti said the city will use some of the specific plan information and analysis in a comprehensive general plan update, which commenced last year. In addition, work on the Coyote Valley specific plan provided lessons regarding mixed use, urban school siting and parks that can be incorporated into planning other parts of town, she said.
An air pollution fee on new development in the San Joaquin Valley has been upheld by a Fresno County Superior Court. Judge Donald Black rejected numerous arguments against the fee in a lawsuit filed by the California Building Industry Association (CBIA), the Modesto Chamber of Commerce, Valley Taxpayers Association and affordable housing developer Coalition of Urban Renewal Excellence.
When 5.7 million people say they want to shield local funding from grabbing hands – as they did in November -- that should be the end of the story. At least, that's what California's redevelopment agencies would hope after this annus horribilis in the redevelopment world.
In Year Three of the Great Recession, it's comforting to think that California has heard all the bad news it's going to hear. Or at least we're so accustomed to bad news, that we've stopped getting depressed by it. As a result, many of this year's top stories come with silver linings.
The no-growth vs. slow-growth vs. build-everything debate has become a faint murmur, since not much of anything is getting built anyway. What is getting built, though, is generally pleasing to the smart growth crowd.
Fans of infrastructure development have surely cheered the progress on projects like High Speed Rail and Los Angeles Metro's 30/10 Initiative. Then again, skeptics may be assuring themselves that these projects will never get built.
Opponents of the Gold Rush Ranch 1,600-unit housing development and golf resort in Sutter Creek submitted referendum petitions with 468 signatures in early February (see CP&DR Local Watch, January 15, 2010). If as few as one-third of those signatures is valid, the referendum of the Gold Rush Ranch specific plan and general plan amendment would qualify for the ballot, possibly as soon as June.
After years of study and negotiations, the San Jose City Council has adopted a citywide inclusionary housing ordinance. The measure, which takes effect in 2013 (unless certain market conditions improve), requires market-rate developers to make 15% of new units available to households with incomes of no more than the median. If developers choose to meet the mandate off-site, the affordable housing requirement rises to 20%. The city has had similar requirements for the downtown area for years.
The Riverside County Board of Supervisors has postponed until January a decision on a new town proposal that has drawn significant opposition from hunters, bird watchers and environmentalists because of the 2,800-acre project site's close proximity to the San Jacinto Wildlife Area.
Lewis Group of Companies' proposal is called Villages of Lakeview. It would contain 11,500 housing units, a shopping center, offices, a number of community facilities and 32 miles of bike lanes, trails and paseos. About half of the site would be used for parks or preserved as open space.
A major residential and resort development on the Tejon Ranch has won unanimous approval from the Kern County Board of Supervisors. The project, known as Tejon Mountain Village, is proposed to have 3,450 housing units, two golf courses, 750 hotel rooms, a resort and extensive highway commercial development on about 5,000 acres east of Frazier Park.
Forced into negotiations by the state Legislature, the City of Walnut has dropped its lawsuit contesting the adequacy of an environmental impact report for a proposed professional football stadium and 3 million-square-foot entertainment complex in the neighboring City of Industry.
A project that had become a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) lightning rod has apparently died. Nestlé Waters North America notified the McCloud Community Services District that it is dropping plans to convert a closed lumber mill in Siskiyou County into a water-bottling plant because it is building the facility in Sacramento instead.