Gov. Jerry Brown considered over 600 bills that came to his desk this legislative session. Some of the most contentious involved land use, particularly bills concerning redevelopment and the California Environmental Quality Act. The City of Los Angeles got a CEQA exemption for its proposed football stadium and infill developments have received special dispensation; speculation is that other such exemptions may be on the horizon.
When the City of Morgan Hill annexed an 80-acre plot of land over public outcry, city residents fought back by approving ballot measures limiting the development that could take place on that parcel. With a recent appeals court ruling – 31 years after the initial annexation -- a developer's project is high and dry, with the court ruling that the city's actions did not amount to inverse condemnation or illegal spot zoning.
This month – October 10, to be exact – marks the 100th anniversary of initiative and referendum in California. It's hard to imagine that Gov. Hiram Johnson, the godfather of the constitutional amendment, could have imagined all the different ways that the initiative process would be used – especially by the moneyed interests that were his target in 1911. But it's equally hard to imagine that Johnson could have foreseen the way the initiative and referendum process would transform planning and development in California.
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.
While the Tea Party movement has been trying to "take back America" on the national stage since the election of Barack Obama, Tea Party activists have also turned their attention to taking back California – and, specifically, Senate Bill 375, the 2008 law that seeks to combat climate change by promoting density in the state's metro regions.
Assessments for services traditionally funded by property tax have faced an uphill battle after the passage of Proposition 218, the 1996 voter initiative that requires the local governments and special districts to seek voter approval for any proposed new or increased assessment before it could be levied. That hill has gotten steeper in the wake of a recent decision.
Last week the Nevada Legislature—usually not an entity with much to say on California land use—issued a decision that would make King Solomon blush.
After 31 years as a supposedly equal party in the Bi-State Compact governing the Lake Tahoe basin, Nevada has taken its first steps towards pulling out of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and thereby negating the agreement under which the two states have governed and managed Lake Tahoe and the surrounding basin.
Even with the preoccupation over the state budget--and especially the fate of redevelopment--Sacramento lawmakers have managed to advance a typically broad array of bills related to land use.
Several of those bills focus on redevelopment reform, most notably Sen. Alan Lowenthal's SB 450, which seeks to preserve funds for affordable housing, and Sen. Rod Wright's SB 286, aimed at comprehensive reform -- but not elimination -- of the state's redevelopment system. Both bills have the support of the League of California Cities and the California Redevelopment Association.
When you are hog butcher for the world, you become Chicago. When you make bacon and sausages for Southern California, you face a rather different fate.
Assembly Speaker John Perez introduced last month AB 46, a bill that would take the singular action of forcing the disincorporation of a city that many consider noxious in more ways than one: the Los Angeles County city of Vernon.
For over 100 years Vernon has operated more as an industrial park than a traditional city, and city leaders have vowed to fight -- and even sue -- to maintain cityhood and its distinctive business environment.