Month: July 2019

Lawsuit alleges Los Altos blocked mixed-use project eligible for SB 35

By Kevin Forestieri, Mountain View Voice, July 28, 2019

“A lawsuit filed against the city of Los Altos alleges that city staff — and later the City Council — illegally blocked a housing project that complied with California’s new by-right housing law.

“The civil suit, filed on June 12 by the California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund (CaRLA), contends that a proposed development in downtown Los Altos qualified for streamlined approval for housing projects under Senate Bill 35, legislation passed in 2017 to boost housing growth across the state. The project proposed building a mixed-use building at 40 Main St. with 15 housing units, but was shot down in April after the City Council concluded it didn’t meet the criteria to skip the normal planning process.

“CaRLA [alleges] city leaders violated SB 35 by failing to cite an ‘objective’ rationale for blocking a project they didn’t like. The suit seeks to void Los Altos’ denial of the project and compel the city to approve the application.

“This is one of the first lawsuits in California challenging denial of a project based on SB 35, the group’s lawyers say, giving it the potential for a precedent-setting judgment.

“The project has a history spanning 12 years, with the owners having been denied by the city multiple times. [A big] change came last November, when the all-office project was scrapped in favor of a mixed-use development with 15 apartments, seeking to capitalize on streamlined approval of housing projects that provide enough affordable units, with two-thirds of the development for residential uses.

“City planning staff in December swiftly rejected the idea that the proposal was subject to SB 35, arguing the application was incomplete; the project did not meet parking standards for the area; fell short of required two-thirds residential uses; and at five stories, was far too tall and dense to meet zoning standards for downtown Los Altos. At an appeal hearing on April 9, the City Council denied streamlined approval of the project.

“CaRLA attorneys believe Los Altos failed, within a 60-day window set forth under SB 35, to cite objective standards that the project proposal violated, and dug up a handful of new standards with which the project allegedly conflicted.

“Sonja Trauss, a plaintiff in the case and co-executive director of CaRLA, said the proposed project in Los Altos should be seen as an example of SB 35 working — getting the owners to convert an all-office project into a primarily residential development in the midst of a regional housing crisis.

“Trauss believes the case could be an opportunity to get a judge to say the 60-day timeline under SB 35 must be enforced. It would also signal to cities that the bevy of new state [housing] laws [will be] harder to ignore.”

Read the full article here. Also in this issue, from Next City, “What is CaRLA, and why is it suing California cities?”

ADU watch: Redwood City tightens what was a less restrictive ordinance

By Maggie Angst, The Mercury News, July 27, 2019

“Redwood City had one of the least restrictive ADU ordinances on the Peninsula — allowing units to reach 28 feet above the ground and 700 square feet of space above a garage. But the city council voted 6-1 to limit the size and height of second-story granny flats while providing incentives for construction of single-story units. The new ordinance is expected to go into effect at the end of September.

“Since the last ADU ordinance update in 2017, more than 120 ADUs have been built, including about 20 above garages. [But some] residents in older neighborhoods with single story homes [objected to] second-story units built above garages [which they said] affected their privacy and downgraded neighborhood character.

“So the council adopted measures to bar second-story decks and roof decks, require opaque windows that look out onto neighbors, and reduce the height of units atop garages to 20 feet above the ground, with exceptions for a slightly taller structure if necessary for the roofline to match that of the main house.

“Although the maximum size of an ADU in a detached garage will remain at 700 square feet, the measures restrict the portion of the unit above the garage to 576 square feet.

“[At the same time,] the council made it easier to produce single-story ADUs, allowing them to be built closer to property lines, cover more than half of a rear lot, and replace a detached garage.

“Redwood City is also setting its sights on the size of single-family homes.

“On Aug. 26, the city council will discuss limiting the size of single-family home projects to 40 percent of the lot area or a maximum house size of 2,500 square feet — whichever is greater.

“The proposed measure is intended to serve as a short-term solution that would be repealed within two years or in conjunction with the adoption of new residential design guidelines.”

Read the full article here.

Bakersfield is booming, as are many other inland California cities

By Scott Wilson, The Washington Post, July 22, 2019

“Many Californians often dismiss inland cities such as Bakersfield, Fresno, Merced, and other drive-through towns that seldom made the state’s tourism maps, languishing behind the allure of the coast. But there’s a transformation happening in the Central Valley. These second-tier cities, once known primarily as the core of the nation’s agricultural engine, are drawing new businesses and young people away from cosmopolitan enclaves, where the high cost of living has priced them out.

“In recent years, California’s traditional north-south rivalry has given way to an east-west divide over government policy and resources. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Bay Area liberal, pledged during last year’s campaign to make closing that gap a priority.

“Soon after taking office, Newsom placed the coastal leg of the state’s proposed high-speed rail system on hold. At the same time, he affirmed that the 119-mile stretch linking Bakersfield and the Central Valley city of Merced will be the first to proceed. The project will cost $20.4 billion and take at least seven years to complete.

“ ‘We can’t have two Californias,’ said Lenny Mendonca, Newsom’s chief economic and business adviser, who was raised in Turlock, just up Highway 99 from Bakersfield. ‘We have to have more housing development on the coast where the jobs are arriving, and we need more job production in parts of the state where the population is growing.’

California’s population grew 0.47 percent last year, the lowest rate in state history. But in Bakersfield, the growth rate was more than double that, making the city of nearly 400,000 the second-fastest-growing of the state’s large metro areas. Sacramento was first.

“Many of those arriving — and staying — are young people. The median age of Bakersfield residents is just over 30.

There are challenges to Bakersfield’s new appeal. The weather is wood-oven hot in the summer, the air quality often abysmal with oil-field pollution caught between the Sierra and coastal ranges. The goal is to broaden an economy still largely reliant on the volatile agriculture and oil industries, appealing in part to a tech sector that is finding its political stock falling in many coastal communities. Bakersfield’s oil fields — and those of surrounding Kern County — account for more than half of California’s oil production.

“San Diego, along with the Los Angeles and San Francisco metro areas, posted the highest inflation rates of any cities in the country during the past year. Housing prices, in particular, are driving the increases. The median home price in Bakersfield is $237,000; in San Francisco, it’s $1.2 million.”

Read the full article here. 

To reduce homelessness, San Francisco aims to find and fill vacant housing units

By Kate Wolffe, KQED News, July 26, 2019

Roughly 50 San Francisco corporations and organizations, including Airbnb, Google, and the San Francisco Giants, announced their involvement in an ambitious new effort to alleviate the city’s intractable homeless crisis.

The ‘All In’ campaign, which officially launched July 25th during a rally at Duboce Park, aims to mobilize a broad coalition of community members to develop immediate housing solutions for the city’s chronically homeless population.

The primary objective is to secure a total of 1,100 housing units in all 11 supervisorial districts of the city for homeless people to move into.

Unlike a number of other recent efforts in the city to house the homeless, this initiative seeks to identify and fill existing apartments in large buildings that are currently vacant, or to turn space in underused publicly owned buildings and churches into housing.

It’s not entirely clear, though, what exactly the group is planning to do. Some partners may contribute money to subsidize rents and fund additional services. At least one nonprofit service provider has pledged to help identify vacant units and access government housing vouchers for veterans and people with disabilities.

Read the full article here.

The future of the city doesn’t have to be childless

On July 21, Northern News re-posted an article from The Atlantic headlined ‘The future of the city is childless.’ In the article, Derek Thompson wrote that, “In high-density cities like San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., no group is growing faster than rich college-educated whites without children [and in fact] families with children older than 6 are in outright decline in these places.”

Now Brookings Senior Research Analyst Hanna Love and Senior Fellow Jennifer S. Vey write, “The article is spot on when it comes to diagnosing the problems but falls short on what to do next. It somewhat halfheartedly raises the need for more affordable housing to help keep families put, but ultimately reaches a more deterministic conclusion that ‘America’s rich cities specialize in the young, rich, and childless; America’s suburbs specialize in parents. The childless city may be inescapable.’

Love and Vey believe the childless city is not inescapable, “But avoiding such a fate requires a lot more than convincing new millennial parents to stick around post-preschool. Rather, it demands deep, intentional efforts to grow inclusive cities that provide all families, including those at the margins, an opportunity to raise their children in a safe, affordable, and amenity-rich neighborhood.”

Their conclusion? “We must look to innovative, place-based strategies aimed at creating cities where families of all means not only can afford to live, but where they can thrive.”

You can read their list of recommendations here.

‘The future of the city is childless’

“America’s urban rebirth is missing something key — actual births.”

By Derek Thompson, excerpted from The Atlantic, July 18, 2019

“Last year, for the first time in four decades, something strange happened in New York City. In a non-recession year, it shrank.

“We are supposedly living in the golden age of the American metropolis, with the same story playing out across the country. Dirty and violent downtowns typified by the ‘mean streets’ of the 1970s became clean and safe in the 1990s. Young college graduates flocked to brunchable neighborhoods in the 2000s, and rich companies followed them with downtown offices.

“As the city attracted more wealth, housing prices soared alongside the skyscrapers, and young families found staying put with school-age children more difficult. Since 2011, the number of babies born in New York has declined 9 percent in the five boroughs and 15 percent in Manhattan. (At this rate, Manhattan’s infant population will halve in 30 years.) In that same period, the net number of New York residents leaving the city has more than doubled. There are many reasons New York might be shrinking, but most of them come down to the same unavoidable fact: Raising a family in the city is just too hard. And the same could be said of pretty much every other dense and expensive urban area in the country.

“In high-density cities like San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., no group is growing faster than rich college-educated whites without children, according to Census analysis by the economist Jed Kolko. By contrast, families with children older than 6 are in outright decline in these places. In the biggest picture, it turns out that America’s urban rebirth is missing a key element: births.“It’s a coast-to-coast trend: In Washington, D.C., the overall population has grown more than 20 percent this century, but the number of children under the age of 18 has declined.  Meanwhile, San Francisco has the lowest share of children of any of the largest 100 cities in the U.S.

“But if big cities are shedding people, they’re growing in other ways — specifically, in wealth and workism. The richest 25 metro areas now account for more than half of the U.S. economy, according to an Axios analysis of government data. Rich cities particularly specialize in the new tech economy: Just five counties account for about half of the nation’s internet and web-portal jobs. Toiling to build this metropolitan wealth are young college graduates, many of them childless or without school-age children; that is, workers who are sufficiently unattached to family life that they can pour their lives into their careers.

“Perhaps parents are clustering in suburbs today for the same reason that companies cluster in rich cities: Doing so is more efficient. Suburbs have more ‘schools, parks, stroller-friendly areas, restaurants with high chairs, babysitters, [and] large parking spaces for SUV’s,’ wrote Conor Sen, an investor and columnist for Bloomberg. It’s akin to a division of labor: America’s rich cities specialize in the young, rich, and childless; America’s suburbs specialize in parents. The childless city may be inescapable.”

You can read the full article here.

We Want You! (To Join Our Board)

We Want You! (To Join Our Board)

Do you want to be more involved with APA? Do you want to serve your fellow Northern Section members? If you are you ready to build your professional skills, consider joining your Northern Section board in one of our vacant positions!

We are looking to fill vacancies for the following:

 

North Bay Regional Activity Coordinators (RAC)

The RACs shall be represented on the Section Board by geographic designation. The seven geographic areas divided by counties are: East Bay (Alameda, Contra Costa), Monterey Bay (Monterey,San Benito, Santa Cruz), North Bay (Marin, Napa, Solano, Sonoma), Peninsula (San Mateo), Redwood Coast (Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino), San Francisco (San Francisco), and South Bay (Santa Clara). The duties of the RACs shall be to:

  1. Provide input to the Board related to the special needs of members in specified regions in the Section or in designated Sub-Sections;
  2. Organize periodic meetings and workshop for members in their regions, contribute relevant articles to the newsletter and assist the Professional Development Director in carrying out the Section’s professional development programs; and
  3. Provide occasional social functions in order to foster a sense of community
    within and among Section members.

 

The general qualifications, you must be an APA member with current/paid-up membership, reside and practice planning within the Northern Section (nine Bay Area counties including Santa Cruz, Mendocino, Humboldt, and Del Norte counties). If you wish to be considered, we’ll be interested to get a resume and letter of interest telling us why you’d like to be considered for the appointment, any relevant experiences, and what you’ll bring to the program. Please submit those to Section Director-Elect Jonathan Schuppert, AICP.

Northern News July/August 2019
Photo of Capitola-by-the-Sea by Juan Borrelli, AICP. This issue features three articles, two “Where in the world” photos, five items for Northern Section members (including "Who's where”) and 13 Planning news recaps.

Northern News July/August 2019

Northern News

APA-CA-logo-no-tagline

A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

Making great communities happen

July/August 2019

What’s inside

This issue has three featured articles, two “Where in the world” photos, four items related directly to Northern Section APA members (including 14 planners highlighted in “Who’s where”), and 12 recaps in Planning news roundup. Enjoy!

Collaborative, sensory-based community engagement for a more equitable bike/pedestrian environment

By John Kamp and James Rojas, July 5, 2019. When Palo Alto’s California Avenue bicycle and pedestrian underpass was built more than 50 years ago beneath the Caltrain tracks, it was intended to solve one problem: allow pedestrians and bicyclists to safely pass from one side of the tracks to the other. The tunnel’s designers never foresaw that bicycling would ultimately skyrocket — today nearly half of Palo Alto students ride their bikes to school — and thus bicyclists and pedestrians now have to share a particularly confined space. As a result, pedestrians using the tunnel increasingly perceive those who bike through it as disregarding their personal space and coming dangerously close to hitting them.

The students pushing Stanford to build more housing

By Jared Brey, NextCity, June 13, 2019. This article, originally published in Next City, is republished in entirety, with permission. “Like a lot of big universities, Stanford is almost a small city of its own. Operating in the unincorporated town of Stanford, California, in Santa Clara County, Stanford hosts 16,000 students and employs 13,000 people on faculty and staff. It owns more than 8,000 acres of land in six jurisdictions. And it is seeking approval for around 2.275 million square feet of new space through a General Use Permit, a periodically updated document that guides the university’s growth.”

Should we build cities from scratch?

People have been building new cities from scratch for millennia. When countries rise up, when markets emerge, people build new cities. Today, though, we are taking it to unheard-of levels. Guardian Cities has been exploring this phenomenon of cities built from scratch. Here are excerpts from two recent articles in The Guardian.

Where in the world?

Tap for the answer

Northern Section

CPF NEEDS YOUR HELP in supporting planning students

The California Planning Foundation is now accepting items for the annual CPF auction and raffle to be held at the APA California Conference in Santa Barbara, September 15-18. To donate items for the auction and raffle, please fill out the donation form linked in this article and email it to Aaron Pfannenstiel, or call him at (951) 444-9379 if you have questions.

New: Bay Area Equity Atlas

By Victor Rubin, PolicyLink, June 6, 2019. The Bay Area economy is experiencing phenomenal growth, yet rising inequality and displacement are making it impossible for working-class people and communities of color to stay and thrive — ultimately undermining the region’s future. A new equity data resource, “The Bay Area Equity Atlas,” brings the power of the National Equity Atlas to the local level, providing 21 equity indicators for 271 geographies across the region.

Who’s where

News about Jonathan Atkinson, AICP; Jim Bergdoll, AICP; Jim Carney; Sharon Grewal, AICP; Shayda Haghgoo; James Hinkamp, AICP; Noah Housh; Catarina Kidd, AICP; Edgar Maravilla; Steve McHarris, AICP; Megan Porter, AICP; Avalon Schultz, AICP; Jason Su; and Kristy Weis.

Director’s note – July 2019

After a whirlwind spring for those of us in the Northern Section — what with APA’s NPC19 in San Francisco and our annual Awards Gala in Oakland — summer has arrived. For many of us, it’s an opportunity to bask in the longer days, take family vacations, or take a little R&R. But your Northern Section board is working on programs for the second half of 2019.

Thirty from Northern Section pass May 2019 AICP exam

Just under 500 APA members passed the AICP Certification Exam administered in May. The 30 Northern Section members listed below include five who are enrolled in the AICP Candidate Pilot Program and may now use the AICP Candidate designation. Congratulations to all!

Planning news roundup

“Uber and Lyft admit they cause more city-center congestion than predicted”

By Ben Lovejoy, 9to5mac.com, August 6, 2019. “A report jointly commissioned by Uber and Lyft has revealed that ride-sharing companies create significantly more city-center congestion than they’d predicted. The study looked at the impact of what are formally known as ‘transportation network companies’ (TNCs) in six cities: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, DC.”

Mobility and Equity: Oakland gets scooter regulation right

By Diego Aguilar-Canabal, July 17, 2019. “Oakland’s permit application expressly forbids scooter companies from restricting their operations to ‘certain geographical areas of the city’ without written permission. Additionally, the city requires that 50 percent of all scooters be allocated to ‘communities of concern’ — a regionwide measure of racial and economic disparities outlined by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. That stands in stark contrast to San Francisco, where scooters are allowed in less than a third of the city. For instance, the city’s Bayview and Mission Districts feature three times as many bicycle commuters as the rest of the city overall, but scooters are still not available to rent in those areas.”

Lawsuit alleges Los Altos blocked mixed-use project eligible for SB 35

By Kevin Forestieri, Mountain View Voice, July 28, 2019. The civil suit by the California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund (CaRLA), challenges the city’s denial of a proposed mixed-use building at 40 Main St. with 15 housing units. The City Council concluded the project didn’t meet the criteria needed to skip the normal planning process. CaRLA alleges city leaders violated SB 35 by failing to cite an ‘objective’ rationale for blocking the project. The suit seeks to void Los Altos’ denial of the project and compel the city to approve the application.

ADU watch: Redwood City tightens what was a less restrictive ordinance

By Maggie Angst, The Mercury News, July 27, 2019. Redwood City had one of the least restrictive ADU ordinances on the Peninsula — allowing units to reach 28 feet above the ground and 700 square feet of space above a garage. But the city council voted 6-1 to limit the size and height of second-story granny flats while providing incentives for construction of single-story units. The new ordinance is expected to go into effect at the end of September.

Bakersfield is booming, as are many other inland California cities

By Scott Wilson, The Washington Post, July 22, 2019. In recent years, California’s traditional north-south rivalry has given way to an east-west divide over government policy and resources. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Bay Area liberal, pledged during last year’s campaign to make closing that gap a priority.

To reduce homelessness, San Francisco aims to find and fill vacant housing units

By Kate Wolffe, KQED News, July 26, 2019. The ‘All In’ campaign, which launched July 25th, aims to mobilize a broad coalition of community members to develop immediate housing solutions for the city’s chronically homeless population. The primary objective is to secure a total of 1,100 housing units for homeless people across all 11 supervisorial districts of the city.

The future of the city doesn’t have to be childless

Brookings Senior Research Analyst Hanna Love and Senior Fellow Jennifer S. Vey write that the childless city is not inescapable, but “We must look to innovative, place-based strategies aimed at creating cities where families of all means not only can afford to live, but where they can thrive.” They offer a list of recommendations.

‘The future of the city is childless’

By Derek Thompson, excerpted from The Atlantic, July 18, 2019. “In high-density cities like San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, no group is growing faster than rich college-educated whites without children. By contrast, families with children older than 6 are in outright decline in these places. It turns out that America’s urban rebirth is a coast-to-coast trend: In Washington, D.C., the overall population has grown more than 20 percent this century, but the number of children under age 18 has declined. Meanwhile, San Francisco has the lowest share of children of any of the largest 100 cities in the U.S.”

Huge land deals: 30,000 acres in Solano County purchased; 50,000 available straddling Alameda and Santa Clara counties

Up to 30,000 acres of agricultural land between Suisun City and Rio Vista has been purchased, and a Fairfield city councilwoman wants to know for what purpose it might be used. Meanwhile, 70 miles away, a working ranch of 50,500 acres northeast of San Jose and southeast of Livermore is for sale for $72 million.

‘Deconstruction’ ordinance will require reuse, recycling of construction materials

“Under the old method, excavators smash the structure into rubble that gets placed in containers and shipped to a waste-sorting facility. The operation takes a few days and a crew of two to three, and costs between $8 and $12 per square foot to complete. The new model calls for buildings to be systematically disassembled, typically in the reverse order in which they were constructed. Based on two recent pilot projects, deconstruction would take about 10 to 15 days to complete and require a crew of four to eight people, costing from $22 to $34 per square foot.”

There’s no end in sight to divisive public hearings

By Michael Hobbes, an excerpt from HuffPost, July 6, 2019. “Locals are losing their minds over issues related to housing, zoning, and transportation. Ugly public meetings are becoming increasingly common in cities across the country as residents frustrated by worsening traffic, dwindling parking, and rising homelessness take up fierce opposition. Rowdy public hearings are nothing new in city politics. Meetings cut short after boos and jeering are usually sparked by projects or policy changes intended to address America’s worsening housing crisis. … Cities can redesign community outreach to encourage input from groups that have traditionally been excluded. But it’s not clear if longer or more inclusive citizen engagement will lower the temperature of local debates over density and growth.”

Density mandate passes for all but smallest Oregon cities

By Elliot Njus, The Oregonian, June 30, 2019. By a 17-9 vote, the Oregon Senate on June 30 gave final legislative approval to a bill that would effectively eliminate single-family zoning in large Oregon cities. House Bill 2001 now heads to Gov. Kate Brown to be signed into law.

These nine northern California projects scored Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities awards from the California Strategic Growth Council

By Naphtali H. Knox, FAICP, as published in Northern News, June 26, 2019. SGC’s Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) Program provides grants and loans for programs and capital development projects, including affordable housing development and transportation improvements that encourage walking, bicycling, and transit use and result in fewer passenger vehicle miles traveled. From 47 proposals received, AHSC granted awards to 25 projects in California (nine in our “Northern Section” region, i.e., coastal northern California). The maximum award was $20 million.

Projects in 10 Northern Section communities receive ‘No Place Like Home’ funding awards

On June 20, California HCD awarded $179 million to developers of affordable supportive housing in 37 communities across California from the No Place Like Home Program funded by 2018’s Proposition 2. The awards mark the first funding from the program to go directly to developers.

Who’s coming and who’s going: California in 5 interactive charts and maps

By Matt Levin, CALmatters, June 20, 2019. “The California Dream is a global brand. For more than a century the state has been a magnet for migrants from around the world, and now has the largest foreign-born population of any state in the country. Here are five maps and charts illustrating the past and present of who’s moving in and, lately, moving out.”

Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay fined $1.6 million; failed to give public beach access

“Luxury hotel violated coastal laws for years.” By Paul Rogers, Bay Area News Group, June 14, 2019. “The 261-room Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay, built in 2001, will pay $1.6 million in penalties to the California Coastal Commission to settle violations of state coastal laws. $600,000 of the settlement will go to the Peninsula Open Space Trust to help purchase an adjacent 27-acres with additional public beach access.”

Former Concord Naval Weapons Station may be site of new CSU campus

By Don Ford, CBS SF KPIX 5, June 11, 2019. “For years, state and local leaders have dreamed about how best to develop the now-closed Concord Naval Weapons Station. One of those dreams included turning the former base into a four-year college – a dream that now may be a little closer to reality.”

Scott Wiener, in enemy territory, makes case for SB 50

By Gennady Sheyner, Palo Alto Weekly, June 7, 2019. “SB 50 is alive and well, said State Senator Scott Wiener. And local control ‘is not biblical. It’s a good thing when it leads to good results, and our system of pure local control on housing has not led to good results.’ Wiener said even if tech giants like Facebook and Google are required to build housing, existing zoning would still make approval and construction a slow and difficult process.”

World’s largest co-housing building coming to San Jose

By Sarah Holder, Citylab, June 7, 2019. “An 800-unit, 18-story ‘dorm for adults’ will help affordably house Silicon Valley’s booming workforce. “The co-housing start-up Starcity is working to fill America’s housing-strapped cities with co-housing compounds. Since launching in 2016, the company has broken ground on seven developments in Los Angeles and San Francisco.”

A national shout-out to Alameda!

Amanda Kolson Hurley tweets, “How did I miss a new ranking of ‘The Coolest Suburbs in America’? Discussion of methodology is surprisingly careful and good (but people will still bellyache).”

Huge land deals: 30,000 acres in Solano County purchased; 50,000 available straddling Alameda and Santa Clara counties

By Nick Sestanovich, Mercury News, July 8, 2019.

“The purchase of up to 30,000 acres of agricultural land between Suisun City and Rio Vista has taken many by surprise. The purchased land stretches from outside Suisun City’s Walmart on Walters Road alongside Highway 12 to Rio Vista, with some parcels bordering Travis Air Force Base.”

According to “a person who lives on the property, the land was purchased by a Flannery Associates, a limited liability company that has filed for foreign status to do business in California. That application listed Flannery Associates as an agriculture business, but Fairfield City Councilwoman Catherine Moy said it is unclear what the land would be used for. ‘We want to make sure that it’s not anything that could hurt the base and that it’s not a foreign investor,’ she said. ‘Travis brings $1.5 billion to this area [and is] part of the city of Fairfield. It’s my responsibility to take care of that.’

“Moy suggested the Assessor/Recorder’s office flag for the public when large amounts of farm land are purchased so they could be more aware of such projects.”

Base map from Google Maps

Meanwhile, 70 miles to the south, a massive East Bay ranch is for sale for $72 million

By Ted Anderson, San Francisco Business Times, July 8, 2019.

A piece of original California, “The N3 Cattle Company ranch, 80 square miles of undeveloped land” northeast of San Jose and southeast of Livermore, “is currently the largest land offering for sale in California.”

“The [50,500 acre] ranch cuts across Alameda and Santa Clara counties, as well as San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties to the east.

“Even though the land is zoned for agricultural use, the listing agent sees the property as perfect for a wealthy conservationist, ‘someone who wants to preserve the land.’

“One family has owned the property as a working ranch for 85 years. The parents passed away about 20 years ago and the daughters have continued running it as a cattle operation but are now ready to move on.”

See a slideshow (a map and 29 photos) of the N3 Ranch, or watch a 4:34 video with a Western tang here.

Thirty from Northern Section pass May 2019 AICP exam

Thirty from Northern Section pass May 2019 AICP exam

Just under 500 APA members passed the AICP Certification Exam administered in May. The 30 Northern Section members listed below include five who are enrolled in the AICP Candidate Pilot Program and may now use the AICP Candidate designation. Congratulations to all!

Della Acosta, AICP

Cristina Bejarano, AICP Candidate

Barry Bergman, AICP

Jeff Bond, AICP

Sarah Bowab, AICP

Brian Chambers, AICP

William Chui, AICP

Stein Coriell, AICP

Jesse Davis, AICP

Alison Ecker, AICP Candidate

Stefanie Farmer, AICP

Jessica Garner, AICP

Matthew Gilster, AICP

Anna Harkman, AICP

Jordan Harrison, AICP

Brendan Hurley, AICP Candidate

Daniel Jacobson

Ashley James, AICP

Ethan Lavine, AICP

Joseph Lawlor, AICP

Xinyu Liang, AICP

Rafael Murillo, AICP

Trever Parker, AICP

Colin Piethe, AICP Candidate

Garrison Rees, AICP

Annie Ryan, AICP

Margaret Smith, AICP

Stephen Tu, AICP

Atisha Varshney, AICP

Matthew Wiswell, AICP Candidate