Author: Naphtali Knox

Northern News September 2022

Northern News September 2022

Northern News

APA-CA-logo-no-tagline

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

Making great communities happen

Northern Section news and announcements

Planning news roundup

Assembled by Richard Davis, AICP Candidate, associate editor. Note: Some articles to which we link may be behind paywalls.

Bay Area churches face barriers to building affordable housing on their land

By Adhiti Bandlamundi, KQED, August 18 2022. Oakland’s Kingdom Builders Project and nonprofit Local Initiatives Support Corporation are working with some East Bay churches to help them begin their development journeys.

Potential California megaflood: What the Bay Area is doing to prepare

By Marianne Favro, NBC Bay Area, August 15, 2022. Flooding on a scale unseen for over a century would severely harm underserved communities and devastate critical infrastructure.

‘California burning’: How Napa Valley contends with wildfire season

By Dave Lee, Financial Times, August 9, 2022. Local wineries are turning to private firefighters and nonprofit organizations like Napa Firewise need to fill gaps left by an overwhelmed Cal Fire.

California’s far northern cliffs are eroding faster than elsewhere in the state

By Tara Duggan, San Francisco Chronicle, August 9, 2022. In the Bay Area, some of the highest rates of clifftop erosion are found in Daly City, Pacifica, and Bodega Bay.

Gov. Newsom launches unprecedented review of San Francisco housing approval process

By J.K Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, August 9, 2022. The review will assess why the city has the state’s longest timeline for advancing housing projects and why it is the subject of the most complaints from the state’s Housing Accountability Unit.

Los Gatos residents attempt repeal of 2040 General Plan

By Hannah Kanif, Mercury News, August 9, 2022. A community group is collecting signatures for a referendum calling for reducing planned growth closer to their RHNA.

AB 2244 slashes parking requirements for all religious properties building affordable housing

By Elizabeth Hull and Michael Ervin, Best Best & Krieger LLP, August 6, 2022. Many local governments interpreted prior law on religious institutions’ parking-to-housing conversions as applying only to existing structures. This bill is a response.

UC Berkeley construction at People’s Park started, stopped

By Supriya Yelimeli, Berkeleyside, August 5, 2022. The joint student-supportive housing plan was hailed as a model for California’s housing crisis, and clearing of the park had begun. But a state appellate court halted the process.

Salinas looks to the future after Amazon walks away on 36-acre parcel

By Sara Rubin, Monterey County Now, August 4, 2022. The city is well positioned to remain a vital part of California’s agricultural economy, but it needs infrastructure upgrades.

New five-year blueprint maps future for SF Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

From MTC-ABAG, August 2, 2022. The report offers recommendations for climate adaptation in each San Francisco Bay region while underscoring the need for equity in work on the Estuary.

San Jose pours millions from federal relief into housing and wifi

By Loan-Anh Pham, San Jose Spotlight, August 2, 2022. The City’s data-driven research helped determine funding for housing, employment, and health care needs.

Brain Drain: SF sees reversal of riches as tech workers flee

By Jeff Elder, The Examiner, July 18, 2022. We complained about the entitled, clueless, disrespectful, and plentiful techies who flocked to the Bay Area from 2011-2015. Now, tech layoffs are mounting, workers are leaving SoMa, and mid-Market’s revitalization is iffy.

2020 census reveals how Berkeley was remade over the past decade

By Ally Markovich, Berkeleyside, July 17, 2022. Berkeley’s population increased and became more racially diverse overall, but the number of Black residents continues to decline.

Big cities saw historic population losses while suburban growth declined during the pandemic

By William H. Frey, Brookings, July 11, 2022. The patterns of telecommuting that have begun to take hold may make a ‘return to the city’ less inevitable than it would otherwise be.

Plan approved to convert a Daly City mall into new housing

By J.K Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, July 7, 2022. Bay Area cities are increasingly targeting sprawling shopping centers to help meet ambitious state-mandated housing goals.

New study: Bay Area hazardous sites at risk from rising seas

By Ezra David Romero, Teodros Hailye, KQED, July 5, 2022. The research highlights Hunters Point Naval Shipyard and a cluster of other hazardous sites in San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood.

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Four Socal cities lose legal fight over RHNA

By Dorian Hargrove, CBS8, June 22, 2022

“Attorneys for the cities argued that SANDAG’s board of directors approved the [allocation] relying solely on the weighted vote for each city. That means smaller cities such as Coronado, Lemon Grove, Imperial Beach, and Solana Beach had little say compared to San Diego and other larger cities.

“SANDAG ultimately won the legal dispute by arguing that the courts could not overturn the Regional Housing Needs Assessment and that only state lawmakers could change the law.

“A San Diego Superior Court judge agreed.

“And on June 20 an appellate court also agreed, delivering the final blow to the lawsuit from the four municipalities.

“ ‘People become homeless here; they don’t come from other places. The only way to solve that is to provide enough housing so the people who live, work here, and serve these communities are actually able to afford to live here,’ said Stephen Russell, president and CEO of the San Diego Housing Federation.”

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Northern News July-August 2022

Northern News July-August 2022

Northern News

APA-CA-logo-no-tagline

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

Making great communities happen

Planning news roundup

Assembled by Richard Davis, AICP Candidate, associate editor

Note: Some articles to which we link may be behind paywalls. “Where in the world” photos follow this roundup.

Four Socal cities lose legal fight over RHNA

By Dorian Hargrove, CBS8, June 22, 2022. Courts cannot overturn the Regional Housing Needs Assessment. Only state lawmakers can change the law.

What’s next after defeat of SFMTA’s Prop A infrastructure bond?

From Mass Transit Magazine, June 23, 2022. SFMTA says it will engage with the west side community, where support for the bond was lowest, to better understand their transportation needs.

Oakland Hills neighborhood at extreme fire danger risk

By Emily Talley, San Francisco Chronicle, June 19, 2022. The deepening drought has wrung moisture out of the vegetation, increasing the risk of a catastrophic wildfire.

Bay Area churches build tiny homes for their homeless neighbors

By Marisa Kendall, SiliconValley.com, June 15, 2022. A nonprofit is helping religious institutions and large property owners across the East Bay through the planning and permitting process for tiny homes.

San Jose city council votes to eliminate parking minimums

By Eli Wolfe, San Jose Spotlight, June 15, 2022. The City Council will consider a detailed policy by the end of the year to incentivize alternative modes of transit and lowers construction costs.

Much-needed East Palo Alto developments stalled by sewer system

By J.K. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, June 15, 2022. More than a dozen projects are on hold until the sewer is upgraded or the sanitary district’s position changes.

Today’s suburbs are symbolic of America’s rising diversity

By William Frey, Brookings, June 15, 2022. The bigger suburbs are more racially diverse than is our country as a whole.

‘Train Fanatics’ score a win in California battle over idled tracks

By Sarah Holder, Bloomberg CityLab, June 15, 2022. Santa Cruz voters hoping to see the return of passenger rail to the beachside city prevailed in a ballot measure to decide the fate of a recreational trail project.

Surface Transportation Board rejects project that threatened Great Redwood Coast Trail

By Ryan Burns, Lost Coast Outpost, June 10, 2022. The potential for a multi-use rail-to-trail project connecting San Francisco and Humboldt Bay remains, and the appeal of the project’s denial is unlikely.

Pacific Grove planning for major increase in housing sites

By Pam Marino, Monterey County Weekly, June 9, 2022. P.G.’s RHNA represents a 13 percent increase in dwelling units. The city of four square miles is using a general plan adopted in 1994.

Zoning for seven-story housing approved for Berkeley BART stations

By Emilie Raguso, Berkeleyside, June 3, 2022. Officials and staff made it clear that, while unanimous approval represented a major milestone, there are still years of work and community input ahead.

Hunter’s Point vulnerable to groundwater contaminants raised by climate change

By Jessica Wolfrom, San Francisco Examiner, June 2, 2022. A civil grand jury report called for San Francisco to boost cleanup efforts and more accurately predict groundwater impacts from rising tides.

Livermore council approves land transfer for downtown affordable housing

By Joseph Geha, Mercury News, May 26, 2022. The authorization advances a project paused for over a year by a litigious group of residents.

New software tool helps residents visualize RHNA-compliant housing plans

By Nate Berg, Fast Company, May 26, 2022. The tool has been used by Marin County and several cities in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Where in the world?

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Contact us!

Northern News is written for you, by you and your colleagues. We’ll be happy to receive, read, and publish your article. You can see our publication schedule and deadlines here.

Letters and suggestions are always welcome. We’d like to hear what you think is good about Northern News or what needs improvement or is missing.

Northern News June 2022

Northern News June 2022

Northern News

APA-CA-logo-no-tagline

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

Making great communities happen

Planning news roundup

Assembled by Richard Davis, AICP Candidate, associate editor.
We excerpted 16 articles in this roundup. Some of the original articles are behind paywalls. “Where in the world” photos follow this roundup.

How important was the single-family zoning ban in Minneapolis?

By Jake Blumgart, Governing, May 26, 2022. The effort caught national attention, but the real story is the rest of the package of land use reforms that the city council passed to open up the housing market — especially parking reform.

San Francisco lost a greater percentage of residents than any other large U.S. city

By Anna Tong, San Francisco Standard, May 26, 2022. Other Bay Area cities also saw big population declines, while many inland cities, such as Sacramento and Fresno, saw growth.

California is about to begin the nation’s largest ever dam removal project along the Klamath River

By Kurtis Alexander, San Francisco Chronicle, May 21, 2022. The new terrain that will come with dam removal is expected to boost fish numbers and restore plant and animal biodiversity.

New study: Sonoma, Napa, and Marin counties facing heightened wildfire risk

From Staff and Wire Reports, Marin Independent Journal, May 17, 2022. In the Bay Area, many communities were listed as low risk, although the hills in the East Bay were considered high risk.

San Quentin site could go from gun range to teacher housing, with state support

By J. K. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, May 15, 2022. The project, which developers hope to open by 2025, would be Marin County’s largest affordable housing development in half a century.

Atherton sees SB 9 applications trickling in, while neighboring towns have not

By Angela Swartz, The Almanac, May 9, 2022. According to staff estimates, SB 9 could result in about five new housing units per year in the town.

VTA approves San Jose BART extension contract despite controversial design

By Eliyahu Kamisher and Maggie Angst, Mercury News, May 6, 2022. Critics of the design say it will lead to ballooning costs while supporters say it would minimize surface-level disruptions.

Here’s how to fix the broken public hearing process for new housing

By Anika Singh Lemar, Brookings, May 4, 2022. So many decisions are made during development approvals, there is little incentive to participate in the planning process. Those who do are undermined by later participants in development approvals.

CalEPA updates Disadvantaged Communities designation

From CalEPA, May 3, 2022. The designation takes into account the latest and best available data and considers factors related to data unavailability.

Applications for new housing in San Francisco hit new low

By J.K. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, May 2, 2022. If the number of new applications coming in doesn’t jump in the coming months, San Francisco could feel the slowdown in 2025 and 2026.

Inside the DIY effort to deliver tiny homes to homeless people

By Lauren Hepler, San Francisco Chronicle, May 1, 2022. Without asking permission from cities, relatively inexpensive micro homes on wheels are built by volunteers and delivered to the homeless.

California approves bullet train link from Central Valley to Bay Area

By Lauren Hernández, Ricardo Cano, Dustin Gardiner, San Francisco Chronicle, April 29, 2022. The extension could help California balance the jobs-housing ratios between the two regions.

Rohnert Park purchases 30-acre property it plans to redevelop into future downtown

By Bay City News Foundation, Local News Matters, April 29, 2022. The decision was years in the making. Area plans and infrastructure are ready.

Here’s the U.S. state each Northern Section county is most like

By Nami Sumada, The Chronicle, April 26, 2022. The Chronicle identified the state (other than California) that best matches each California county based on residents’ demographics and voting behavior.

Why Americans are leaving downtowns in droves

By Derek Thompson, The Atlantic, April 25, 2022. The rise of remote work has snipped the tether between home and office, allowing many white-collar workers to move out of high-cost cities.

Bay Area hopes for more than 100 new park projects by 2030

By Kurtis Alexander, San Francisco Chronicle, April 19, 2022. A coalition of 67 Bay Area nonprofits and public agencies rolled out a $700 million plan for efforts to preserve biodiversity.

Where in the world?

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Contact us!

Northern News is written for you, by you and your colleagues. We’ll be happy to receive, read, and publish your article. You can see our publication schedule and deadlines here.

Letters and suggestions are always welcome. We’d like to hear what you think is good about Northern News or what needs improvement or is missing.

Northern News May 2022

Northern News May 2022

Northern News

APA-CA-logo-no-tagline

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

Note: We round up articles of interest that our readers may have missed. Some articles to which we link may be behind paywalls. If you find yourself blocked, add outline.com/ to the front of the link (before the https), and you may be able to read the article without being asked to subscribe.

SB35 could advance stalled Sebastopol affordable housing

By Nashelly Chavez, The Press Democrat, April 13, 2022. A plan to build 84 units of affordable housing (half for agricultural workers and their families) has been resubmitted in Sebastopol.

State rejects Point Reyes water contamination, climate plan

By Will Houston, Marin Independent Journal, April 9, 2022. Park staff now plan to work with Coastal Commission staff and state water quality regulators to better address environmental impacts from cattle ranching.

Litter-strewn Bay Bridge entrance will soon transform into an urban forest

By Jessica Wolfrom, San Francisco Examiner, April 6, 2022. Nearly 1,000 young trees are expected for the nursery, which will be replanted in neighborhoods with low tree cover as they mature.

$1.5 million granted for Mountain View phase of Baylands restoration project

By Sue Dremann, Palo Alto Weekly, April 1, 2022. The funding supports a feasibility study for a later phase within the broader, more than a half-billion-dollar South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Project.

New financing district will propel development in Humboldt County’s Samoa peninsula

By Sonia Waraich, Eureka Times-Standard, April 1, 2022. Funds will be disbursed through a grant program with a public process for reviewing requests, and aren’t reserved exclusively for traditional infrastructure such as roads and bridges.

Van Ness dedicated busway opens after six year construction

By Eleni Balakrishnan, Mission Local, April 1, 2022. Improvements to Van Ness Avenue have been in the works since a 1989 sales tax expenditure plan to improve mass transit.

How will San Francisco’s western skyline change to add 80,000 homes?

By Benjamin Schneider, San Francisco Examiner, March 29, 2022. San Francisco has produced the third draft of its Housing Element, but there’s no guarantee that the Department of Housing and Community Development will approve it.

The federal infrastructure law’s untapped potential for promoting community safety

By Sam Washington, Hanna Love, and Thea Sebastian, Brookings, March 29, 2022. A wealth of empirical evidence demonstrates that the built environment has a significant impact on the prevalence of violence in communities. Our excerpt includes links to resources to leverage the funds.

Richmond city council sinks a controversial development in Point Molate

By Katie Lauer, East Bay Times, March 26, 2022. The city council voted against creating the facilities district required to sell the land under the terms of a 2011 legal settlement.

New study: data shows new housing and tenant protections are still not enough

By Karen Chapple and Jackelyn Hwang, San Francisco Chronicle, March 25, 2022. Joint UC Berkeley-Stanford research suggests more aggressive housing affordability strategies would bolster new market-rate supply and tenant protections.

More than 116,000 SF residents moved away during pandemic’s first year

By Mike Schneider, Associated Press, March 24, 2022. The San Jose metropolitan area also lost tens of thousands of residents, primarily from people moving away.

Audit: California overlooked potential affordable housing sites

By Nicholas Iovino, Courthouse News Service, March 22, 2022. The audit recommends passing a state law that would mandate periodic assessments of underutilized state-owned properties for affordable housing.

Santa Clara County buys land for more affordable housing

By Eli Wolfe, San Jose Spotlight, March 22, 2022. The projects represent an ongoing campaign to build up the region’s housing stock for veterans, agricultural workers, seniors, and people with developmental disabilities.

VTA bets big on housing in Santa Clara County

By Eli Wolfe, San Jose Spotlight, March 19, 2022. VTA hopes to collect steady revenue from land leases and new riders living near transit.

How the Bay Area’s 25 largest cities rank on ‘quality of life’ metrics

By Amy Coval, San Francisco Chronicle, March 18, 2022. The Chronicle’s 11 measures are based on widely available data, but don’t take affordability into account.

Where in the world — east and west

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Northern News is written for you, by you and your colleagues. We’ll be happy to receive, read, and publish your article. You can see our publication schedule and deadlines here.

Letters and suggestions are always welcome. We’d like to hear what you think is good about Northern News or what needs improvement or is missing.

Northern News April 2022

Northern News April 2022

Northern News

APA-CA-logo-no-tagline

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

Note: Some articles to which we link may be behind paywalls. If you find yourself blocked, add outline.com/ before the link (before the https), and you may be able to read the article without being asked to subscribe.

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.

Where in the world?

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Contact us!

Northern News is written for you, by you and your colleagues. We’ll be happy to receive, read, and publish your article. You can see our publication schedule and deadlines here.

Letters and suggestions are always welcome. We’d like to hear what you think is good about Northern News or what needs improvement or is missing.

Northern News March 2022

Northern News March 2022

Northern News

APA-CA-logo-no-tagline

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

Making great communities happen

Northern Section news and announcements

Planning news roundup

New study: Ample possibilities to turn excess school land into teacher housing

By Louis Hansen, Mercury News, February 16, 2022. School districts in every Bay Area county have shown a willingness to develop housing for educators, according to researchers.

Court orders UC Berkeley enrollment freeze over CEQA suit

By Madison Hirneisen, The Center Square, February 15, 2022. A neighborhood group argued in August 2021 that the university exacerbated the city’s housing crisis through excessive enrollment.

New report: Coastal sea levels in U.S. to rise a foot by 2050

By Henry Fountain, New York Times, February 15, 2022. The report provides detailed sea level projections for states and territories by decade as an aid to local officials, planners, and engineers.

San Jose OK’d $45 million in fee waivers for downtown developers — with little housing to show for it

By Maggie Angst, The Mercury News, February 10, 2022. Within the next year, the city council is expected to again weigh whether to extend the program to encourage high-rise developers to move those projects past the goal line.

With bike buses, kid cyclists feel safer together on the road

By Maxwell Adler, Bloomberg CityLab, February 10, 2022. The phenomenon isn’t new. But as cycling took off during the pandemic, new bike bus initiatives have emerged in SF and elsewhere.

New research: a startling safety gap for crosswalks in some San Francisco neighborhoods

By Heather Knight, San Francisco Chronicle, February 9, 2022. Many cold spots exist in lower-income neighborhoods such as the Excelsior, Visitacion Valley, and Bayview-Hunters Point.

Woodside decides it’s not a mountain lion habitat, allows housing under SB 9

By Angela Swartz, The Almanac, February 7, 2022. The council’s initial decision garnered national, and even international, attention.

Judge throws out environmental lawsuit against controversial Richmond development

By Katie Lauer, The Mercury News, February 4, 2022. The site has been the focus of a decade-old debate and recently led to the city attorney’s resignation, the city manager’s departure, and a council vote to censure the mayor.

Court upholds density bonus law that exempts certain housing projects from local restrictions

By Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, February 3, 2022. The ruling, now published precedent, has potential statewide impact as tensions over local control and the state’s housing crisis continue to escalate.

10 percent of San Francisco’s housing stock sitting vacant and empty

By Joe Kukura, SFist, February 1, 2022. SF exceeds its goals for market-rate housing, it’s the affordable housing that’s lacking.

Alameda’s waterfront sets high standard for future Bay Area development

By John King, San Francisco Chronicle, February 2, 2022. A ferry terminal that connects directly to San Francisco, and a 3-acre waterfront plaza emphasizing pedestrian connectivity, exemplify contemporary placemaking.

The pandemic scramble to legalize home-based businesses

By M. Nolan Gray, Bloomberg CityLab, January 31, 2022. Beyond the economic activity they generate, home-based businesses call into question the conventional zoning system.

Santa Cruz gets $29M for affordable housing, transit hub

By Michael Wittner, Santa Cruz Patch, January 28, 2022. The award comes from the California Strategic Growth Council’s Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program.

A Mendocino County redwood forest has been returned to a group of Native tribes

By Rachel Treisman, NPR-KQED, January 26, 2022. The land donation can be contextualized as part of the broader ‘land back’ movement, an intersectional effort to return Indigenous lands — and autonomy — to Indigenous communities.

Even in Monterey County, affordable housing does not come cheap

By Pam Marino, Monterey County Weekly, January 24, 2022. The cost of materials is one big reason for the enormous jump, as are financial requirements due to growing fire hazards.

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Northern News February 2022

Northern News February 2022

Northern News

APA-CA-logo-no-tagline

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

Making great communities happen

Northern Section news and announcements

Planning news roundup

Save Mount Diablo protects ‘missing mile’ of open space from future housing

By Shomik Mukherjee, East Bay Times, January 17, 2022. The conservationists will continue to monitor the property while in use by a local equestrian society.

Controversial affordable housing project OK’d in rural Cloverdale

By Kathleen Coates, The Press Democrat, January 12, 2022. Community members and commissioners raised concerns about increased traffic and unsafe sidewalks, but state law pushed the project ahead.

Daly City council approves major apartment project, but affordability issue lingers

By J.K. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, January 11, 2022. The project is intended to bring critical revenues to a school district that has struggled to retain teachers.

Saratoga City Council considers Housing Element proposal in seven-hour meeting

By Hannah Kanik, The Mercury News, January 11, 2022. “In my mind, this is the biggest challenge the city of Saratoga has faced since its incorporation,” Mayor Tina Walia said at the meeting.

San Jose hopes to rebound from losing over 1,700 acres of trees since 2012

By Maggie Angst, The Mercury News, January 10, 2022. That leaves only 13.5 percent of San Jose covered by trees, compared to 28 percent of Seattle.

The strange, fun, and fascinating stories behind Bay Area city names

By Katie Dowd, SFGate, January 9, 2022. Four selections from a tour of Bay Area city names from Alameda to Walnut Creek.

Judge halts mega-resort in California wildfire zone, says residents could die trying to flee

By Ryan Sabalow and Dale Kasler, Sacramento Bee, January 6, 2022. The CEQA ruling is a major victory for environmentalists opposed to new housing and business projects in areas with extreme wildfire risks.

Santa Clara County housing bond on track despite roadblocks

By Tran Nguyen, San Jose Spotlight, January 4, 2022. A Civil Grand Jury’s December report found many barriers to housing production are beyond the county’s control.

Oakland is a hot spot for lead contamination of children, study finds

By Annie Sciacca, Mercury News, December 25, 2021. Oakland leaders will use funds from a legal settlement with paint companies to proactively remove hazardous lead.

Caltrans officially embraces Complete Streets in all projects

By Melanie Curry, StreetsBlog Cal, December 22, 2021. This is the first clear statement that acknowledges that Caltrans is committing to accommodating all road users in every single project it works on, though implementation remains unclear.

Marin to spend $4M in pandemic aid on climate projects

By Richard Halstead, Marin Independent Journal, December 20, 2021. The funds are allocated for flood prevention, sea level rise, and electrification-related projects.

Newark residents wonder why the city plans to develop against a rising shoreline

By Ezra David Romero, KQED, December 13, 2021. A major housing proposal could be at risk from sea level rise and encroach on scarce Bay Area wetlands.

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Northern News Dec. 2021-Jan. 2022

Northern News Dec. 2021-Jan. 2022

Northern News

APA-CA-logo-no-tagline

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

Note: Some articles to which we link may be behind paywalls. If you find yourself blocked, add outline.com/ before the link (before the https), and you may be able to read the article without being asked to subscribe.

Contra Costa County tidal marsh restoration will be the largest of its kind in California. But it’s taking forever

By Tara Duggan, San Francisco Chronicle, December 6, 2021. Tidal marshes are an excellent carbon sink and promote biodiversity, but a thorough permitting process is still required.

Appeals court rejects last legal challenge to California bullet train

By Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times, November 30, 2021. The court affirmed the use of Proposition 1A bond funds for a blended system of high-speed and improved conventional rail.

An Oakland urban forester’s work reveals the plight of the city’s namesake

By Andres Picon, San Francisco Chronicle, November 25, 2021. Oak advocates say city and state leaders could do more to protect the trees and safeguard their status as a keystone species throughout California.

Los Altos Hills passes “urgency ordinance” to restrict SB9 applications — inviting legal challenge

By Alexei Koseff, San Francisco Chronicle, November 24, 2021. Mayor Kavita Tankha defended the rules, likely the first in the state, as accommodating residents’ desires to maintain their privacy, preserve open space, and reduce fire risk.

Skunk Train owner acquires Fort Bragg mill site, upending city plans

By Mary Callahan, The Press Democrat, November 24, 2021. The city had just pulled $3.5 million in bond funding to prove to the state that it was ready to tackle the site’s environmental needs on the site when word arrived that Georgia-Pacific had settled with Mendocino Railway.

Superior Court upholds Lafayette’s controversial 315-unit housing project

By Shomik Mukherjee, East Bay Times, November 20, 2021. Years after a citizen group forced the developer to submit scaled-down plans, changes in state law revived the original project with more affordable housing.

In first, Audubon Society sues a California wind project

By Amanda Barlett, SFGate, November 19, 2021. Alameda County’s approval of a new facility at Altamont Pass has been challenged as threat to Golden Eagles and other avian species.

Association of Bay Area Governments formally denies nearly all regional housing needs allocation appeals

By Daniel Maroon, Alexander Merritt, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP blog, November 18, 2021. The Administrative Committee signaled strong confidence in the draft RHNA plan prepared by ABAG’s Housing Methodology Committee.

‘A spectacular landscape’ — Vast Redwood Coast ranch to become public nature preserve

By Kurtis Alexander, San Francisco Chronicle, November 18, 2021. The property is central to the Wildlands Conservancy’s long-term goal of protecting and providing access to much of the Eel River.

California is being denied $12 billion in federal transit funds. Here’s how it’ll hurt the Bay Area

Ricardo Cano, San Francisco Chronicle, November 12, 2021. A Labor Department challenge to a 2013 public employee pension reform law could block billions for transit system improvements and service support.

Oakland, LA, piloting universal basic mobility

By Laura Bliss, CityLab, November 11, 2021. Will giving poorer households no- or low-cost access to efficient and sustainable transportation help them meet their potential in society?

Los Altos agrees to legal settlement over SB 35 project; developers still pursuing 5-story building

By Bruce Barton, Los Altos Town Crier, November 9, 2021. An incentive for a 4-story project linked with the settlement did not sway developers.

Wind promises new economic boom for Humboldt County

By Andrew Graham (editorial), Press Democrat, November 9, 2021. Previous investments in land, the current state budget, the new federal infrastructure bill, a deep water harbor with no bridge across it, and plenty of wind energy position Humboldt County for an energy future.

Two LA Assemblymembers block funds connecting High Speed Rail to Bay Area

By Roger Rudick, Streetsblog Cal, November 8, 2021. A political dispute over rail electrification prevents state matching funds required for further federal support.

“Save Livermore Downtown” group ordered to post $500,000 bond

By Joseph Geha, Bay Area News Group, November 8, 2021. A Superior Court judge ruled that “the preponderance of evidence supports the conclusion that the [lawsuit was] brought for the purpose of delaying the provision of affordable housing.”

One of Julia Morgan’s most famous works is open after sitting dormant for 30+ years

By Alissa Walker, Curbed, November 5, 2021. Morgan was the first woman to earn a civil engineering degree from UC Berkeley and the first woman licensed architect in California.

New California task force focused on housing laws

By Louis Hansen, Mercury News, November 4, 2021. It will consist of 12 lawyers and staff members with experience in land use and development, environmental law and civil rights.

New reports: Locations and factors favoring successful commercial to residential conversions

From UC Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation, November 1, 2021. One paper explores why commercial conversion potential in California is minimal absent policy changes, the other identifies a variety of specific factors that promote adaptive reuse.

Does the Bay Area have the water it needs to grow?

By Laura Feinstein and Anne Thebo, San Francisco Examiner, October 29, 2021. A new report suggests improved home plumbing and appliances, water-efficient landscaping, and greater private sector conservation efforts are necessary for growth.

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Northern News November 2021

Northern News November 2021

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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Major Los Gatos project promised 270 apartments. Only 50 are happening.

By Tran Nguyen, San Jose Spotlight, October 20, 2021. The town council, mandated to rescind its rejection of the project, found approving the proposal a bitter pill to swallow.

Ljubljana, Slovenia, a small European capital, realizes a car-free city center

By Alexis Ferenczi, Vice, October 19, 2021. The once heavily-trafficked main road is now exclusively for pedestrians, cyclists, and a few electric carts.

HUD chief calls Oakland ‘transit village’ a national model for housing

By Sarah Ravani, San Francisco Chronicle, October 14, 2021. Marcia Fudge also noted that future federal resources and aid available to states will come with time limits on certain projects in order to expedite development.

New Sonoma County housing fund to lend millions in PG&E settlement money for major projects

By Ethan Varian, The Press Democrat, October 14, 2021. The fund is positioned to help Santa Rosa attract denser development after an update to its downtown plan.

Biden, Haaland approve two CA areas for offshore wind farms

By Matthew Daly, Associated Press, October 13, 2021. The two sites, off the coast of Humboldt and San Luis Obispo counties, will contribute to the Biden Administration’s nationwide offshore wind generation initiative.

CalEPA updates “national gold standard” geospatial tools for equitable environmental decision-making

From CalEPA, October 13, 2021. CalEnviroScreen 4.0 analyzes the latest data from 21 indicators of environmental, public health, and socioeconomic conditions.

Mountain View plans to ban cars, expand outdoor dining along its ‘crown jewel’

By Maggie Angst, San Jose Mercury News, October 13, 2021. Their decision comes as other cities like Palo Alto and Pleasanton have gone in the other direction.

New study: 25 years of data from Marin County reaffirms conservation protects biodiversity

By Daniel Roman, Bay Nature, October 13, 2021. Protection of riparian corridors helped populations of many bird species, but the study didn’t address how the conservation process works.

San Francisco’s Clement Street and the 15-minute city

By Soumya Karlamangla, New York Times, October 11, 2021. Few, if any, businesses on the street have permanently closed during Covid, according to the Clement Street Merchants Association.

Student loan forgiveness: public sector workers eligible in overhauled relief program

By Jessica Menton and Chris Quintana, USA Today, October 7, 2021. The government previously restricted eligibility for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program to only certain types of federal student loans and specific repayment plans.

Downtown San Jose building height limits come with price tag

By Eli Wolfe, San Jose Spotlight, October 4, 2021. San Jose passed a crane fee on developers to compensate Mineta International Airport for lost revenues.

Solar energy: a new cash crop for farmers — and sheep can safely graze

By Xander Peters, The Christian Science Monitor, October 4, 2021. The transition toward renewable energy is creating a new kind of demand for rural land. Small farmers hope it can benefit the environment and their business.

Final Plan Bay Area 2050 released

From MTC-ABAG, October 1, 2021. Equity is interwoven into each of the 35 strategies encompassing housing, the economy, transportation, and the environment at the heart of Plan Bay Area 2050. But no plan can satisfy everyone.

Napa County may see a relatively high number of new housing units from SB 9

By Edward Booth, Napa Valley Register, September 29, 2021. City of Napa senior planner Michael Walker expects the roll out timeline of SB 9 units would be similar to ADUs.

Where in the world?

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Contact us!

Northern News is written for you, by you and your colleagues. We’ll be happy to receive, read, and publish your article. You can see our publication schedule and deadlines here.

Letters and suggestions are always welcome. We’d like to hear what you think is good about Northern News or what needs improvement or is missing.