Northern News September 2019

Northern News


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

Making great communities happen

September 2019

What is CaRLA, and why is it suing California cities?

By Jared Brey, Next City, August 15, 2017. The California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund, or CaRLA, is ready to pounce. ‘I think everybody’s starting to get the message that these laws [like the Housing Accountability Act] are out there and that the state is serious — and people are serious,’ says Sonja Trauss, a co-executive director of CaRLA. Adds Matt Lewis, director of communications for California YIMBY, ‘If you look at the model of how the environmental movement evolved, they passed a bunch of clean air and clean water laws and then they would go around and make sure they were enforced. [Suing the suburbs] is literally the same model.’


Why is CaRLA suing California cities? • WHERE IN THE WORLD, two photos • NORTHERN SECTION NEWS: CPF needs your help in supporting planning students • Northern Section’s David Early gets PEN Honor Award • AICP-certified planners earn more than non-certified planners • Northern News seeks Associate Editor • CPF’s Northern Section 2019-2020 scholarship recipients • New Emerging Planners Group • Director’s note • New Webcast Series on Planning Ethics and Law • Letters • Who’s where • About Northern News • PLANNING NEWS ROUNDUP, 15 articles excerpted and linked

Where in the world?

Tap for the answer

Norcal APA news

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.

Northern Section’s David Early to get PEN Honor Award

PEN, the Planner Emeritus Network, is an auxiliary of and resource support group for APA California. Each year, a select few APA California members receive a PEN Honor Award for an outstanding contribution to the profession or for a significant accomplishment that enhanced the recognition and value of planning. This article names the four PEN members honored this year and also lists the 35 honored since 1998.

‘On average, AICP-certified planners earn $16,000 more annually than non-certified planners’ —APA

By Don Bradley, PhD, AICP. If you wish to pass the semi-annual AICP exam, it’s a good idea to start early and take the valuable classes Northern Section offers each spring and Fall. This September and October, expert guest speakers and recent course grads will cover all domains of the AICP exam during five Saturday sessions at UC Berkeley.

Become Northern News’ Associate Editor

Northern News — published 10 times each year — is seeking an Associate Editor. Are you a member of APA working or living in northern California? Would you like to help determine our newsmagazine content and solicit articles relevant to the planning profession, current planning issues, or proposed development in northern California and elsewhere? Then please read this short announcement and contact us.

CPF names Northern Section’s 2019-2020 scholarship recipients

The California Planning Foundation congratulates all of Northern Section’s 2019 CPF Scholarship winners, and we thank all of our Northern Section members who have supported CPF through past conference and section fundraising events with generous donations. Your support has made a difference in the lives of these students!

What’s new? The Emerging Planners Group

By Danae Hall and Veronica Flores. Being on the Steering Committee allows members to network “up” with the more senior planners and professionals who speak at our events. Active members also to get to know each other better and build a strong network of peers in the Bay Area. We hope you are interested in joining our Steering Committee, but you still get the chance to meet other professionals simply by attending future EPG events.

Director’s note

By James A. Castañeda, AICP. Working at the planning counter can be tedious, or it can be one of the more important and rewarding parts of being a planner — where we learn how to listen and how to empathize. And while we usually don’t see the results of our work for years, we can in a few short hours at the counter resolve several problems, provide direction, or offer advice. These small victories add up and help you appreciate what you do and for whom.


Love the layout and links! Nicely done.
—Marnie Waffle, Monterey

Who’s where

Northern Section’s Treasurer and Social Media Coordinator recently changed their day jobs.

Get your AICP | CM credits for Ethics and Law

Get your mandatory “AICP CM” credits on Ethics and Planning Law via Northern Section’s webcast on APA’s “Ethics Case of the Year” Oct. 25, 2019, and a Planning Law webcast Nov. 15 on cannabis, SB 35, and streamlining statutes. BOTH FREE.

Planning news roundup

Less disruptive passenger pick-ups and drop-offs for ride-hail apps

Univ of Washington press release, Sept 5, 2019. Creating a designated space for passenger loading (PLZ) can discourage double-parking and reduce traffic conflicts, with geofencing used to increase driver compliance.

SB 330 has passed the California Legislature and is on the governor’s desk

The new law will spur development of affordable housing, limit fees on affordable housing, prohibit demolition of affordable and rent-controlled units unless they’re replaced, and give existing tenants first right of return. The bill was enrolled and presented to the Governor at 2 pm on September 17th.

Homeless housing developer aims to bring back bungalow court

By Elijah Chiland, Curbed LA. A Los Angeles nonprofit sees the bungalow court of the early 20th century as a good way to house the homeless. The bungalow court was at one time the most common form of multifamily housing in Southern California. Building this type of project is now possible because of LA’s Transit Oriented Communities program, established after voters approved an affordable housing ballot measure in 2016.

Elected officials have visionary responsibilities to ensure that today’s plans consider tomorrow’s needs

Michael Woo recently retired after 10 years as Dean of Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Environmental Design — the first urban planner to hold that position. (Woo holds a master of city planning from UC Berkeley and a B.A. in politics and urban studies from UC Santa Cruz.) In this TPR interview he responds to a statement that “city planning seems disrespected by all interests,” and to questions such as “what should schools of planning and architecture be inculcating in their students?” and “who should planners be planning for?”

SB 35 watch: Latest in Cupertino vs Vallco redevelopment battle

From a Mercury News article by Thy Vo, August 22, 2019: Under state law, Sand Hill Property Co., the owner and developer of Vallco Shopping Mall, has the right to build 2,402 apartment units — half of them below market rate — plus 1.8 million square feet of office space, 400,000 square feet of retail, and a 30-acre rooftop park, all as approved by the Cupertino City Council. But if the current plan gets tossed, whatever project replaces it won’t feature any office space. The City Council on Aug. 21 approved a general plan amendment that eliminates a 2-million-square-foot allocation for office space [on the site] and imposes a 60-foot height limit on buildings at the vacant shopping mall.

Northern California’s Karuk Tribe builds its first LIHTC project

From HUD USER, PD&R Edge, August 2019. “Opened in the fall of 2017, Karuk Homes 1 is a 30-unit affordable housing project of single-family homes in rural Yreka. The project represents the first use of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program by the Karuk Tribe Housing Authority (KTHA), and the Karuk Tribe was one of the first Native American tribes in California to obtain a tax credit award under the state’s Native American Apportionment Pilot.”

‘The state is now targeting cities over housing. It’s about time’

By San Francisco Business Times, August 16, 2019. “If cities that aren’t taking California’s housing crisis seriously begin to feel the heat, will they finally see the light? At least a few encouraging signs suggest they might — signs that the state needs to pressure communities, mainly suburban, that continue to deny, derail, or downsize housing projects within their borders.”

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

By Ben Lovejoy,, 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.”