CP&DR News Briefs October 4, 2022: SD Neighborhood Councils; Dashboard housing HCD; Coastal erosion; and more
San Diego revises neighborhood planning groups
The San Diego City Council has approved reforms to improve diversity and organization within 42 neighborhood planning groups, but the move faces mixed responses. Going forward, community groups will no longer be able to appeal development approvals at no cost, and developers will be “encouraged” to meet with groups, but not required. The reforms are backed by those who say they will significantly increase inclusiveness by setting tougher term limits and involving more tenants and people of color. While proponents also say it will make it easier to approve dense housing developments, opponents say the increased requirements will become a burden on planning groups, reducing their power.
State Releases Updated Housing Scorecard
The Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has released updates to its Statewide Housing Plan Dashboard and Affordability Calculator that will improve the public’s ability to navigate housing conditions. The new dashboard includes updated data from Census Bureau surveys. Now researchers, elected officials and the general public will be able to more easily analyze data on household demographics, housing needs, median house values and rents, and housing production. The HCD has also released an update to the Local Government Housing Affordability Calculator to reflect the lowest income category for which a unit would be affordable based on year of construction.
Study measures acceleration of shoreline erosion
Sea level rise and shoreline erosion are accelerating along the coast, with California’s northernmost counties experiencing the fastest collapse, new research from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography finds. from UC San Diego. According to the researchers, Humboldt Bay and Del Norte County include the most affected locations. Cliffs with sandy beaches tended to erode the fastest due to the coarse materiality of the sand. The authors suspect that more precipitation and larger waves could be responsible for the increased erosion in northern compared to southern California. However, the entire coast experienced an average loss of 2 inches per year between 2009-2011 and 2016, a figure that includes major outliers such as a loss of 16 feet at Martin’s Beach and Big Sur. (See related CP&DR coverage.)
Los Angeles County settles homelessness lawsuit; Commits $236 million
Los Angeles County officials have pledged to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on the housing and homelessness crisis in a settlement agreement to end legal challenges from the LA Alliance for Human Rights. The original lawsuit argues that city and county officials failed to care for homeless residents and therefore put them at constant risk. Through 2027, officials plan to spend $236 million on outreach, permanent and temporary housing, and more services such as case management, physical and mental health support, and child care. . This funding is in addition to the $530 million for homelessness spending approved by voters in 2017 and collected through sales tax.
California cities lead the pack in cost to residents
In SmartAsset’s sixth nationwide housing inaffordability study, Glendale, Los Angeles and Anaheim were all among the top ten most cost-burdened cities. Glendale ranked first for the highest percentage of households spending at least 50% on housing, with 31.08% of its households severely cost burdened. Nationally, tenants tended to be more burdened than landlords, and 37.77% of tenants in Glendale would face this challenge. Tenants in San Bernardino, Santa Clarita and Moreno Valley were also among the most cost-burdened. Los Angeles came fifth for all households, although homeowners were more burdened than renters. Along with New York and Florida, California had some of the highest percentages of cost-overloaded residents.
CP&DR Coverage: California APA Conference
CP&DR writers attended the California Chapter of the American Planning Association conference October 1 through today in Anaheim. Bill Fulton analyzed the expected impacts of two major new laws to facilitate the conversion of commercial properties into residences, AB 2011 and SB 6. Josh Stephens reflects on the importance of hosting an urban planning conference across the (very wide) street from a reputable institution dedicated to fictional built environments – and make loads of money along the way. Earlier this week, CP&DR conducted an interview previewing one of the conference’s key panels, a discussion of the legacy of “cities at sunset” in California. Thank you to everyone who chatted with us, shared story ideas, and stopped by our display table.
Quick hits and updates
Oakland officials intend to return five acres of land currently held by the city to the indigenous peoples who have long lived around East Bay. The city will continue conversations with the East Bay Ohlone Tribe, Confederate Villages of the Lisjan Nation and the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust as part of the transfer process.
A revised redevelopment plan for the Oceanside Transit Center includes a hotel, hundreds of housing units, commercial spaces, offices and nearly 1,800 parking spaces. The center would serve Amtrak, commuter rail, light rail and Metrolink as well as buses.
U.S. Representative Judy Chu of Pasadena presented a check for nearly $1 million to the nonprofit group Nature For All to allow people to tour the Angeles National Forest using public transportation. Although the only way to reach the greenspace at present is by car, this plan would allow visitors to use a van or bus service that departs from the L (Gold) subway line in Pasadena.
Mountain View officials have pledged to ensure that rent-controlled apartments set to be demolished for new rental units will be replaced with units that remain “naturally affordable.” While this policy already applied to renters earning less than 80% of the area’s median income, apartments will now be subject to blanket restrictions to ensure affordability instead of increasing rental rates.
IDS Real Estate has purchased the 63 acres of land that encompasses Irwindale Speedway. The new developer intends to redevelop the highway as an industrial park due to its location near transportation arteries and the regional transportation network.
Metro will open the Crenshaw/LAX(K) rail line from Los Angeles on October 7, three years late and free rides all weekend. The line stretches eight and a half miles and will eventually reach LAX and South Bay, although construction delays have delayed this route until 2026.