Day: December 3, 2019

Northern News December 2019-January 2020

Northern News December 2019-January 2020

Northern News

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

Making great communities happen

December 2019-January 2020

An American planner in Canada

“Logistically, crossing the border to the north and working as a planner couldn’t have been easier. The position of urban planner is one of 25 recognized under the NAFTA (and soon USMCA) trade agreements that allow an accelerated and simplified immigration process into Canada. All I needed was a job offer letter, copies of my résumé and planning degree, and a simple application form submitted at the border.”

New state law helps kids and communities thrive, while relieving zoning headaches

SB 234 (Skinner), signed by Governor Newsom on September 5, 2019, makes every licensed large-family child care home a permitted use by right, just like small-family child care homes. Although the new law will go into effect January 1, 2020, some local planning departments are already getting a head start to support their communities. (Article by Julia Frudden and Andrew Mogensen, AICP.)

Meet a local planner – Danielle DeRuiter-Williams

Catarina Kidd, AICP, interviews Danielle DeRuiter-Williams, Co-Founder and Head of Growth and Expansion at The Justice Collective in Oakland, a women-of-color-led social impact consultancy. Ms. DeRuiter-Williams recently spoke at the two-session Chapter President’s panel, “Cultural and Implicit Bias Training for Planners,” at the APA California 2019 conference in Santa Barbara. In this interview, Ms. Kidd asks what The Justice Collective was intended to accomplish, and what challenges Danielle DeRuiter-Williams has faced and is facing.

Getting downtowns moving with convenient and sustainable access

More than 30 local residents, stakeholders, and policymakers attended and participated in a spirited discussion around the opportunities for — and constraints around — accessing busy downtowns through more sustainable modes, the role parking management plays in increasing access and mitigating congestion, and the idea that building affordable housing near job centers is a TDM measure.

A community engagement project: Toward a Vision for the Alum Rock Community of San Jose

“The goal of this graduate student ‘capstone’ project was to assist San Jose’s Alum Rock community in creating a vision for future development in the area, focusing on and incorporating community engagement. To that end, we interviewed area residents, businesses, and community leaders to help understand the assets and issues they prioritized. Our engagement with local residents included two phases: community assessment (data collection and analysis) and a collaborative community engagement event.” Illustrated.

Where in the world?

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Northern Section announcements

Databases updated for California’s protected areas

The California Protected Areas Database and the California Conservation Easement Database have just been updated and are available for free download. CPAD and CCED are California’s authoritative parks and open space databases. They cover more than 15,000 parks and other protected areas, held by 1,000 agencies and nonprofits.

Northern Section election result

In a Section-wide election held in November, Michael P. Cass was elected to continue as Northern Section’s Treasurer for a two-year term, commencing January 1, 2020. He had been appointed Treasurer in March 2019 to fill a vacancy.

Libby Tyler, FAICP, is a 2020 Dale Prize Winner

The $5,000 prize recognizes excellence in urban and regional planning. Two prizes will be awarded at Cal Poly Pomona March 5 and 6, 2020.

Last chance to register for the May 2020 AICP EXAM

Our spring workshops are an excellent way to start studying for the May 2020 exam. Those who attend receive hundreds of multiple choice practice test questions, with answers and rationales, plus study materials such as a summary of the classic planning texts and our unique “Tips on the AICP Exam.”

Houston is calling: NPC Member-only registration through January 8

If you plan on going to Houston April 25–28, register now. Through January 8, you will have exclusive access to claim tickets for mobile workshops, orientation tours, and other popular activities.

Who’s where

In this segment, we cover three new appointments to the Northern Section Board and four job changes from the Peninsula to the North Bay: Della Acosta, AICP; Curtis Banks, AICP; Leslie Carmichael, AICP; Zachary Dahl, AICP; Veronica Flores; Gillian Hayes; and Edgar Maravilla. Congratulations all!

Northern Section Holiday Party kicks off the Season

Photos by Northern Section Webmaster Tom Holub. Some 100+ attended the Nov. 22 event at La Peña Cultural Center, a longtime Berkeley institution.

Planning news roundup

“City Dreamers,” doc film on women architects who built 20th century cities

Through rare clips, the film pieces together the legacy these four women left — each with her own theory, vision, or approach to urban landscaping and planning.

Improving road safety in Oakland with equity

“When we ride out, we ride down the middle of the-street,” one resident told OakDOT. To center equity within its work, the City of Oakland created a Department of Race and Equity in 2019 to embed racial equity practices throughout city agencies, and developed a data-driven approach to equity that can help the agency hold itself accountable.”

Special Mobile Home zoning OK’d to save affordable housing

“Advocates said they hope to prevent conversions at a time when owners could be tempted to redevelop the properties to capitalize on rising housing and land costs. Such conversions have occurred in high-cost areas elsewhere in California, where mobile home parks are one of the few remaining sources of unsubsidized affordable housing, county officials said.”

San Diego looks to scrap residential density limits, use FAR instead

“San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is opening another salvo in his administration’s efforts to address the city’s housing affordability crisis by proposing the ‘Complete Communities Housing Solutions Initiative,’ a scheme that looks beyond simply building new housing to embrace holistic urban development. The proposal [would] refocus the zoning code to incentivize the development of smaller units and allow housing developers to offer community amenities that are decoupled from auto-oriented uses.”

San Diego city council strengthens inclusionary requirements

The new law requires developers to make 10 percent of the homes they build available to low-income renters — those earning 60 percent of Area Median Income — or pay an in lieu fee of $25 per square foot to opt out of the inclusionary requirement.

Worth a look: SF’s most underrated buildings

Curbed San Francisco readers reveal the local unpraised buildings they love most.

Court: California charter cities must prioritize Affordable Housing on Public Land

“Writing for the panel, Justice Eugene Premo [wrote] … ‘We find that the state can require a charter city to prioritize surplus city-owned land for affordable housing development and subject a charter city to restrictions in the manner of disposal of that land, because the shortage of sites available for affordable housing development is a matter of statewide concern.’ ”

Databases updated for California’s protected areas

Databases updated for California’s protected areas

By Saba Gebreamlak

GreenInfo Network has released updates to the California Protected Areas Database (CPAD, v. 2019b) and the California Conservation Easement Database (CCED, v. 2019).

CPAD and CCED are California’s authoritative parks and open space databases. They cover more than 15,000 parks and other protected areas, held by 1,000 agencies and nonprofits. The two databases are used for conservation planning, fire impact analysis, park needs assessments, and more. You can download the data and learn more at www.calands.org.

New state law helps kids and communities thrive, while relieving zoning headaches

New state law helps kids and communities thrive, while relieving zoning headaches

By Julia Frudden and Andrew Mogensen

A new law, SB 234 (Skinner), signed by Governor Newsom on September 5, 2019, makes every licensed large-family child care home a permitted use by right, just like small-family child care homes. SB 234, the Keeping Kids Close to Home Act, will apply to every local agency in California when it takes effect on January 1, 2020.

Evaluating residential child care zoning applications — especially when neighbors actively oppose them — can be a huge regulatory headache for planners. This is especially frustrating for both planners and applicants when they understand the ongoing chronic statewide shortage of child care facilities and how important family child care is to the community. While this new legislation takes away local control, it relieves planners from having to process a permit that was already very narrowly limited in scope. Under the new legislation, the Community Care Licensing Division and local fire departments will take the lead reviewing and approving family child care homes.

The American Planning Association (APA) has long supported policies to promote child care in planning and treat large family child care homes as a residential use of property. Unlike other recent State legislative trends that take local control away from controversial land uses, the APA adopted a formal policy to make home child care a permitted use back in 1997. The APA’s California Chapter reiterated this in their support of SB 234, stating “this bill will ensure that the many local successful models for these homes will apply statewide to increase the number of these homes available to serve working parents.”

A number of California cities and counties had already designated large family child care homes as a permitted use before SB 234 passed because they wanted to encourage providers to care for more children and address the child care needs of the community. These “local successful models” include Palo Alto, Grass Valley, City of Sacramento, City of San Mateo, San Francisco, Salinas, Fresno County, Mariposa County, Encinitas, City of San Diego, Orange County, and Santa Maria — to name only a few.

Currently, California only has enough licensed child care available for 23 percent of children with working parents, and the numbers keep getting worse. While families scramble to find affordable and reliable child care, especially for their babies and toddlers, one-third of family child care providers have been forced to close their doors since the recession.

This is a missed opportunity for quality care and early learning in California. It has also been a huge impediment to working families, employers, and local economies.

“Quality, licensed child care provided by a nearby neighbor is something every working parent deserves,” Skinner added. “SB 234 helps ensure that more child care homes are available to the working families who need it.”

For parents, knowing your baby is with a warm, nurturing caregiver is everything. Family child care homes are the primary source of care for babies and toddlers, offering warm, enriching care close to where families live.

Although the new law will go into effect on January 1, 2020, some local planning departments are already getting a head start to support their communities. Andy Mogensen, AICP, planning manager, City of San Leandro, says it just doesn’t make sense to wait for the new law to take effect.

“An administrative use permit for a large family home day care often takes a couple of months to process,” said Mogensen. “By the time they get an approval, the law will already be in effect. We felt that it just wasn’t fair for either staff or applicants to have to go through that. We’re already working on a zoning code update to make family home child care facilities a permitted use citywide.”

The APA states as its policy, “child care is a critical component of livable communities […] and local planning policies can play an important role in ensuring adequate child care.” By making both large and small family child care homes a residential use of property, California now joins the forward-thinking and family-friendly states of New York and Minnesota.

The new law also clarifies that licensed family child care homes (both large and small) must be allowed in any residentially zoned neighborhood, including apartment buildings, condominiums, gated communities, and other multifamily dwellings. SB 234 builds on existing legislation with new language to make that clear to everyone and to ensure that the law is applied consistently throughout the state. All families, wherever they live, need child care close to home.

“We are all working hard to provide the best for our children,” said Kim Kruckel, executive director of the Child Care Law Center, a cosponsor of SB 234. “We need child care we can rely on from providers we trust. This new law makes it clear that California values and supports quality child care close to home, in all our communities.”

Man, woman, and baby at child careTo help planners and other groups impacted by this new legislation understand this new law, the Child Care Law Center and Public Counsel have published Frequently Asked Questions about SB 234. The FAQ is available in English, Chinese, Russian, and Spanish.

If you have any questions about SB 234, you can:

  • Call the Child Care Law Center at (415) 558-8005 or Public Counsel at (213) 385-2977, extension 300.
  • Fill out the Child Care Law Center’s online form with your question.

Julia Frudden is Director of Community Advocacy at the Child Care Law Center. She is also on the board of BANANAS, Inc., a nonprofit child care resource and referral agency serving the diverse families in Northern Alameda County. Frudden’s background includes four years as a first grade teacher. She holds a B.A. in political science from Pepperdine University.

Andy Mogensen, AICP, in his San Leandro office

Andrew Mogensen, AICP, is Planning Manager for the City of San Leandro. He previously was principal planner for the city of Concord. He holds an M.A. in geography (planning program) from Western Illinois University and a B.A. in geography from Valparaiso University.

Court: California charter cities must prioritize Affordable Housing on Public Land

By Nicholas Iovino, Courthouse News Service, November 26, 2019

“California can force San Jose and 120 other charter cities to give affordable housing developers the first crack at building on surplus city land, a California appeals court ruled December 3.

“The state’s Surplus Land Act requires cities, towns and counties looking to unload public land to give affordable housing developers an opportunity to develop the property first before selling it.

“San Jose had argued the home rule doctrine for charter cities in the California constitution superseded a 2014 state law that makes cities prioritize affordable housing development on surplus public land. Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Theodore Zayne agreed with the city’s position in December 2016 and dismissed the core claims of a lawsuit brought by housing advocates.

On Tuesday, a three-judge panel from the Sixth District Court of Appeal overruled that decision, finding the ‘well-documented shortage of sites for low- and moderate-income housing and the regional spillover effects of insufficient housing’ justify statewide application of the 2014 law.

“Writing for the panel, Justice Eugene Premo [wrote] … ‘We find that the state can require a charter city to prioritize surplus city-owned land for affordable housing development and subject a charter city to restrictions in the manner of disposal of that land, because the shortage of sites available for affordable housing development is a matter of statewide concern.’ ”

Read the full article here.