Northern News December 2020-January 2021

Northern News


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

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Northern Section news, views, and announcements

Share your #PlanningPositivity story and join us December 16th!

Share on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram what made this year special and positive for YOU, your teams, your families, your communities. Tag your story with #PlanningPositivity.

Planners must care, especially now

By James Rojas, November 14, 2020. Planners, we need to bridge the gap between our formal, infrequent engagement and the ongoing community organizing, and share problem solving with community members.

Director’s note: Nearing the end of the longest year

By Jonathan Schuppert, AICP. What a year! I’ve been “a little terrified every day.” I became — unexpectedly — Section Director in February. Now I’m handing the reins to Florentina Craciun, AICP.

Call for nominations, Northern Section Treasurer

Do you want to be more involved with APA? Do you want to serve your fellow Northern Section members? Consider joining your Northern Section Board as Treasurer.

2021 Planning Leadership Academy, February 5

Registration is open until Dec. 27 for the 2021 Leadership Academy hosted by the California Planning Roundtable.

California’s approach to housing crisis is ineffective, Auditor says

By Jared Brey, November 20, 2020. The state is failing to build enough affordable homes for lower-income residents in part because it lacks an effective approach to planning and financing the development of affordable housing.

Who’s where

News about Haeseo (Hazel) Choi, Christopher Dacumos, Shannon Fiala, Sanhita Ghosal, AICP, Leila Hakimizadeh, AICP, Julia Hoffman, Sailesh Mehra, Jonathan Schuppert, AICP, Darcy Smith, AICP, and Rachael A. Tanner.

Northern Section leadership election results

Northern Section’s new Director-Elect is Michael Cass, and Veronica Flores continues as Administrative Director.


We publish 10 times each year as a forum for the exchange of planning ideas and information. Entirely the effort of volunteers, Northern News is written and produced by and for urban planners in northern California.

Planning news roundup

Northern Section counties receive over $543 million for transportation projects

By Jasmine Lee, Daily Californian, December 7, 2020. State funding will support multi-modal transportation infrastructure, including BART upgrades.

Housing measure puts San Mateo in production quandary

By Sarah Klearman, CP&DR, December 6, 2020. San Mateo voters narrowly extended existing height and density caps, potentially precluding a push for more housing.

Richmond council approves controversial shoreline mixed-use project

By Annie Sciacca, Bay Area News Group, December 3, 2020. The state has approved a site remediation plan, but activists and residents want a more thorough removal of soil.

‘Overdue’ ordinance requires SF landords to report vacancies

By CBS SF Bay Area, December 3, 2020. Vacancy data may be used to reduce speculation on rental units.

West Coast cottage reforms lead to explosive rise in permits

By Nisma Gabobe, Sightline Institute, December 2, 2020. In 2018 and 2019, cities across the West Coast successfully promoted accessory dwelling unit reforms to address the housing crisis.

Livermore development fight over new major solar farm

By J.K. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, November 30, 2020. Livermore’s experience could become more common as California pursues 100 percent zero-carbon electricity.

San Francisco, trade unions at odds over modular construction

By J.K. Dineen, The San Francisco Chronicle, November 27, 2020. Trade leaders argue that cutting housing costs should not sacrifice workers’ wages.

Ambitious Sonoma Coast project paves way for ‘managed retreat’

By Rosanna Xia, Los Angeles Times, November 27, 2020. A Bay Area glimpse into the future for other coastal communities facing sea-level rise.

Do California ag counties hold solutions to Monterey County farmworker housing crisis?

By Kate Cimini, Salinas Californian, November 23, 2020. As farmworkers and their families dangerously overcrowd available housing, California’s coastal counties look to streamline production of safer housing.

ABAG launches energy evaluation tool for climate action planning

From ABAG, November 19, 2020. The tool uses one of the largest sets of disaggregated building energy data available in the nation.

Audit slams California for wasting billions in bonds

By Jennifer Wadsworth, San Jose Inside, November 19, 2020. The sweeping audit uncovered mismanaged and lapsed funds that could have supported affordable housing.