Northern News April 2022

Northern News

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

Making great communities happen

Northern Section news, views, and announcements

Planning news roundup

Assembled by Richard Davis, AICP Candidate, associate editor

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Gas prices bring riders back to BART, Caltrain, and VTA

By Eliyahu Kamisher, The Mercury News, March 14, 2022. For now, BART ridership, for example, is still hovering around 30 percent of pre-pandemic levels.

Legislature passes reprieve for UC Berkeley’s enrollment cap

By Maria Dinzeo, Courthouse News Service, March 14, 2022. The new amendment, signed by Gov. Newsom, now specifies that changes in student enrollment by itself will not trigger environmental review under CEQA.

San Jose City Council unanimously accepts recommendations on overcoming barriers to affordable housing

By Jana Kadah, San Jose Spotlight, March 8, 2022. Recommendations addressed three key barriers: construction costs, delays in permitting, and development regulations.

Subdivision consistent with approved specific plan did not need further environmental review

By Kaela Shiigi, Perkins Coie LLP Land Use & Development Law Report, March 7, 2022. Court of Appeal found development project – consistent with a previously approved specific plan – did not need new EIR, as no changes significantly increased specific impacts.

Caltrain approves governance reform plan, but member agencies still must adopt it

By Curtis Driscoll, San Mateo Daily Journal, March 4, 2022. According to various board members, the contentious governance talks have impaired Caltrain’s ability to recruit staff and reduced staff time for other projects.

Dublin scraps 573-home development over referendum threat

By Joseph Geha, East Bay Times, March 3, 2022. The developers are already prepared to propose a project that would meet the minimum affordable housing standards required by the Housing Accountability Act.

Lake Powell is about to drop below a critical level never reached before

By Rachel Ramirez, CNN, March 3, 2022. If the nation’s second largest reservoir passes the emergency drought threshold, it would threaten water supplies and cut hydropower to several states.

New research: The ‘hidden toll’ of having more parking spaces than people

By Benjamin Schneider, San Francisco Examiner, March 3, 2022. The study found that parking and roadways make up 20 percent of land in incorporated areas of the Bay Area.

San Francisco businesses confront many office workers never returning

By Romy Varghese, Bloomberg CityLab, March 3, 2022. San Francisco’s downtown recovery is among the slowest nationally, but the state’s property-tax system cushions the city’s finances.

To fix its housing crisis, California must unleash the duplex

Mercatus Center scholar Emily Hamilton argues SB9 will have far more impact if local leaders cooperate with the spirit of the law by relaxing some of the rules that make duplexes less attractive to build.

‘Greening’ cities can make gentrification worse – and often doesn’t help the environment either

By Laura Kiesel, Salon, February 26, 2022. Parks and greenways, as well as other green features linked with density plans, may have unintended consequences.

Americans used to move a lot; now they don’t. It could be causing a social crisis

By Jerusalem Demsas, Vox, February 24, 2022. At the heart of America is a packed bag. But what happens when leaving is no longer an option?

Not even San Francisco city departments can agree on neighborhood boundaries

By Nami Sumida, San Francisco Chronicle, February 24, 2022. The city also found that each department used different boundaries when reporting neighborhood-level metrics, which made it impossible to combine data across departments.

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