There was a time when the biggest opponents to infill development were the interstate highway, the barbeque grill, and the American dream. Following the failure of Assembly Bill 710, you might be able to add advocates of affordable housing to the list.
Well, local governments around California finally got their wish: The staff at the state Department of Housing & Community Development that reviews housing elements has been cut to the bone. So what does this mean about state review of housing elements – and, by extension, state law about housing elements as well?
The process of planning for affordable housing in California just got, inadvertently, more affordable.
Among the many cuts that Gov. Jerry Brown enacted in his effort to balance the budget is a $1 million hit to the Department of Housing and Community Development Building Equity and Growth in Neighborhoods Fund. That fund supports the department's housing element review activities; with roughly 20 staff members, the housing element review staff will be effectively cut in half.
In the first quarter of 2011, 53% of buyers could afford the median-priced single-family in California, and 60% could afford the median-priced condo or townhouse, according to the California Association of Realtors.
In order to avoid having your takings claim dismissed, your timing must be just right. Unfortunately for Colony Cove Properties, LLC, the timing was off, and its multifaceted takings claim was rejected by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal for being both too late to challenge a rent control ordinance and too early to challenge how a city applied its ordinance.
The unique geography of the San Francisco Bay ensures that there is only one Bay Area. Uniqueness and unity are not, however, the same thing, and planners are now working to convince the Bay Area's own residents and public officials that there is indeed One Bay Area.
The recession has hindered the production of affordable housing in California – even while it has heightened the demand for affordable housing. Yet cities in California are increasingly moving away from affordable housing requirements.
To some, infill development still occupies a quaint niche in the world of city-building. But over the past few years, greenfield development on the urban fringes has gone fallow and a host of economic, social, and regulatory forces have made infill more viable. Attempting to lead that charge is the newly formed California Infill Builders Association, a professional group made up of established and aspiring infill developers who seek mutual support in their effort to bring new development to urban areas.
The core of California redevelopment law tells redevelopment agencies what they can fight against – blight – and it enables them to identify project areas in which to do so. Generally, the law does not, however, indicate what blight should be replaced with. As a result, critics have charged that redevelopment often funds vanity projects such as stadiums at the expense of what they consider more socially beneficial developments.