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Northern News May 2022

Northern News May 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

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.

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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.

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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 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 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 November 2021

Northern News November 2021

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.

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.

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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 October 2021

Northern News October 2021

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. 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.

Drought: Marin, Saudi crown prince eyeing same desalination plants

By Will Houston, Marin Independent Journal, September 20, 2021. Desalination is still the district’s secondary option to prevent it from running out of water as soon as July.

SF piloting tiny cabins for homeless people as a cost-effective alternative to tents

By Kevin Fagan, San Francisco Chronicle, September 20, 2021. 70 tiny homes (cabins), similar to those used in Oakland and other cities, will replace 44 tents in a city-sanctioned ‘safe sleeping village.’

Gov. Newsom abolishes most single-family zoning in California

By Marisa Kendall, East Bay Times, September 17, 2021. SB 9, now law, allows up to four units on single-family lots.

San Mateo loses housing ruling with big statewide implications

By Curtis Driscoll, San Mateo Daily Journal, September 14, 2021. Upholding the Housing Accountability Act could lead to new housing elements with clearer objective standards that expedite housing.

How can the pedestrian malls of the past inform today’s shared streets?

By Stephan Schmidt, Bloomberg CityLab, September 9, 2021. A Cornell study analyzed over 100 past pedestrian malls to see what characteristics could help shared streets thrive.

Over 3,000 acres of East Bay open space to be preserved as state park in $31 million deal

By Joseph Gena, East Bay Times, September 8, 2021. Scientists have described the land as a ‘biologically unique habitat’ and a place long considered a ‘sensitive historical site’ by local Native American groups.

Cupertino again at odds with the state over the SB 35 Vallco project

By Marisa Kendall, Mercury News, September 7, 2021. Department of Housing and Community Development says the project’s special approval under SB 35 should be granted an extension since it was impeded by litigation.

Berkeley seeks objective standards for thorniest aspects of new developments

By Nico Savidge, Berkeleyside, September 5, 2021. Objective standards are becoming an increasingly important way for cities to exercise local control over development.

Chinese ghost cities are finally stirring to life

By James Mayger, Lucille Liu, Yujing Liu, Lin Zhu, and Yinan Zhao, Bloomberg News, September 1, 2021. The government wants the trend of urban migration to continue and for new population centers provide an alternative to Beijing and Shanghai, which restrict new residents.

San Jose approves strategy to spread out multi-unit affordable housing citywide

By Lloyd Alaban, San Jose Spotlight, August 31, 2021. The plan divides San Jose into three categories to prioritize where to build affordable housing based on poverty and crime rates.

City of Napa housing division revamps rental housing rehabilitation loan program

By Edward Booth, Napa Valley Register, August 30, 2021. The maximum loan for home repairs has increased by tens of thousands of dollars in most cases.

Bay Area cities and counties falling dramatically short of affordable housing goals

By Kiley Russell, Bay City News Foundation, August 27, 2021. New local financing strategies and the state’s first regional affordable housing financing authority look to bridge funding gaps in the next five years of the current planning cycle.

How arenas like the Oakland Coliseum became emblematic of California’s housing crisis

By Erika Paz, Calmatters, August 24, 2021. California’s Department of Housing and Community Development cited Oakland and two other cities over using public land for arenas without integrating affordable housing.

Judge rules that UC Berkeley must study the impacts of growth before raising enrollment

By Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside, August 24, 2021. Cal must redo the SEIR to address certain issues, including how student enrollment increases have affected noise, housing, and displacement in Berkeley.

Oakland residents fighting a mysterious startup taking over their quiet street

By Georgia Freedman, SFGate, August 23, 2021. Neighbors argue that CloudKitchens, a kitchen-to-delivery startup, gamed the city’s zoning and permitting process to operate in a low-income area.

Tension over new development rises amid water scarcity in Healdsburg

By Mary Callahan, The Press Democrat, August 23, 2021. Opponents claim the city’s 2015 Urban Water Management Plan considered an “erroneously rosy supply outlook”.

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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 September 2021

Northern News September 2021

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.

Major changes to minimum parking standards could be ahead in San Jose

By Bryanna Paz, KALW, August 11, 2021. City officials argue this will reduce the number of single-occupant vehicle commuter trips.

Humboldt County, ‘where climate and Covid migration converge’

By Sarah Holder, Bloomberg CityLab, August 9, 2021. With climate change, Covid, and a housing crunch, Humboldt County has become a refuge for people in high fire risk areas.

California Supreme Court denies review in Berkeley Shellmound case

By Wendel Rosen LLP, August 2, 2021. Justices uphold Court of Appeal’s view that projects qualifying under SB 35 are protected from local historic preservation controls.

Blue Ribbon Task Force approves transit action plan reform in the Bay Area

By Curtis Driscoll, San Mateo Daily Journal, July 29, 2021. The plan calls for improving service, evaluating funding, and completing a business-case analysis of potential transit network management reforms by mid-2022.

Largest solar plant in Bay Area opposed by Livermore farmers and environmentalists

By Mark Chediak, Bloomberg Green, July 29, 2021. To meet its goal of a carbon-neutral grid by 2045, California will need to triple its annual solar and wind installations.

The solution to Mendocino’s water shortage might involve a very old train

By Kurtis Alexander, San Francisco Chronicle, July 29, 2021. If an emergency fix like the old train is agreed upon, there are still questions about the long-term viability of Mendocino’s water supply.

Building trades push for union workforce in affordable housing bills

By Manuela Tobias, East Bay Times, July 27, 2021. The State Building and Construction Trades council claims non-union construction workers “barely float above the poverty line.”

Op-Ed: “It’s hard to have faith in a state that can’t even house its people”

By Ned Resnikoff, New York Times, July 26, 2021. Homelessness is a humanitarian disaster and a threat to democracy. The cost to overcome it will be high, but the cost of inaction is far higher.

State takes initiative to promote 230-unit Marin housing project

By Richard Halstead, Marin Independent Journal, July 24, 2021. The project is one of ten following an executive order to create an inventory of state-owned parcels suitable for expedited housing development.

‘Present-day redlining’: Black Bay Area homeowners say their properties are being undervalued

By Lauren Hepler, San Francisco Chronicle, July 23, 2021. The federal government has already vowed to recommend appraisal reforms.

Urban farm housing project moves forward in Santa Clara

Stephanie Lam, San Jose Spotlight, July 22, 2021. The developer estimates that the project will account for roughly 10 percent of Santa Clara’s low-income housing target.

Alameda may provide tiny cabins, motel rooms, for homeless residents

By Peter Hegarty, East Bay Times, July 21, 2021. Alameda is still exploring how to implement new permanent housing for the area’s unhoused people.

Bay Area refineries must dramatically cut pollution, Air District says in historic vote

By Ted Goldberg, KQED, July 21, 2021. Air district staff said the rule change will save lives and millions of dollars in health costs.

Visual report: How sea level rise threatens the Bay Area’s roads

By John King, San Francisco Chronicle, July 16, 2021. Sonoma County’s Highway 37 provides a dramatic example of flooding vulnerabilities in the Bay Area’s highway system.

This is how much single-family zoning is costing San Franciscans

By Susie Neilson, San Francisco Chronicle, July 12, 2021. A pair of University of Pennsylvania researchers quantified increased land costs due to “restrictive zoning” in SF and other US cities.

SF clashes with scooter company over permit violations: City wins

By Carly Graf, San Francisco Examiner, July 7, 2021. Scoot is out. Two scooter companies remain as options to cover transit service gaps left by the pandemic.

Wealth, class, and remote work reshape California’s boomtowns

By Sarah Parvini, Los Angeles Times, July 2, 2021. Higher-earning migrants also are creating new jobs for working-class locals.

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Northern News July-August 2021

Northern News July-August 2021

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

How policymakers could guide redevelopment in California’s fire-prone areas

By Peter Arcuni, KQED, June 22, 2021. The report bases its recommendations on an analysis of three rebuilding alternatives for Santa Rosa, Ventura, and Paradise.

How can commercial redevelopment address the California housing crisis?

By Joe Distefano, UrbanFootprint, June 16, 2021. Spatial analytics company UrbanFootprint shows the development potential and limits of SB 6 as currently written.

TransitCenter launches San Francisco-Oakland transit equity dashboard

From TransitCenter, June 17, 2021. The dashboard visualizes disparities in accessibility and reliability of transit across race, income, and other characteristics from February 2020 through February 2021.

A little more remote work could change rush hour a lot

By Emily Badger, The New York Times, June 11, 2021. Less congested city streets could mean faster bus travel, more space for cyclists, and more humane commutes for the people who still drive.

CA high-speed rail will get back federal grant Trump withheld

By Lauren Hernández, San Francisco Chronicle, June 10, 2021. The grant funding will assist the High-Speed Rail Authority in completing the project’s ‘initial operating segment’ of the system.

Racial segregation runs deep in San Jose, report says

By Lloyd Alaban, San Jose Spotlight, June 8, 2021. The city intends to incorporate its findings from the state-mandated Assessment of Fair Housing into the next housing element.

Appeal filed against West Berkeley shellmound development

By Mimia Ousilas And Nadia Farjami, The Daily Californian, June 8, 2021. The appeal would block the developers from using SB 35 instead of the city’s usual zoning approval process.

San Jose and San Francisco among cities that saw sharpest pandemic population loss

By William H. Frey, Brookings, June 8, 2021. These population declines could be part of a new trend or, to some degree, temporary.

Klamath River management pivotal in a brewing California-Oregon water crisis

By Emma Marris, The Atlantic, June 5, 2021. Policy that promotes restoration led by Klamath Tribes, federal investment, and partnership with California and Oregon farmers will likely be crucial.

Visual report: How sea level rise threatens SF’s Mission Creek neighborhoods

By John King, San Francisco Chronicle, June 4, 2021. Mission Bay is home to thousands of people, and action on sea level rise is urgent.

Oakland considers banning ADUs in the hills to avoid fire danger

By Natalie Orenstein, Oaklandside, June 3, 2021. At a Planning Commission meeting, planning staff and the Oakland Fire Department proposed a blanket ban, while many callers wanted a targeted approach.

New MTC study: Findings for assisting seniors, disabled people on Bay Area transit

From Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Mass Transit Magazine, June 2, 2021. A partnership between MTC and World Institute on Disability resulted in a 2.5-year research and community engagement study with recommendations.

Oakland’s Slow Streets experience may inspire the future of cities

By Adam Mann, Wired UK, June 2, 2021. Oakland’s commitment to equity and willingness to experiment with the public right of way opened new directions in planning.

SF is about to see a wave of affordable housing projects bring 900 homes to the city

By J.K. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, May 28, 2021. Mayor London Breed said the nine projects represent a ‘central pillar’ of the city’s post-Covid recovery.

San Jose approves Google’s downtown village and campus in historic vote

By Maggie Angst, Mercury News, May 26, 2021. The monumental project marks the largest economic development deal ever made in San Jose.

2020 annual statewide planning survey results released

From Office of Planning and Research, May 24, 2021. OPR’s survey reveals the impacts of COVID-19 on city and county planning departments and actions taken on a range of current challenges.

SB 7 could speed up housing, but it’s unclear how much it will help

By J.K. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, May 21, 2021. The legislation requires 15 percent of new housing units be affordable to low-income families and that the projects be built with union labor.

Where in the world?

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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 June 2021
Oakland photo by Greg Linhares

Northern News June 2021

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. 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.

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who’ve shaped our cities

By Taylor Moore, Planning Magazine, Spring 2021. This roundup selects just three of the 12 described in the article.

Biden’s infrastructure bill could help tear down I-980 separating West Oakland from downtown

By Nico Savidge, Mercury News, May 11, 2021. One of the Bay Area’s least-used freeways could become a tree-lined boulevard with new parks, housing and other development.

California’s population declined for the first time, and only one Bay Area county grew

By Leonardo Castañeda, Mercury News, May 7, 2021. The population loss was felt strongly in the Bay Area, where Contra Costa was the only county to gain residents.

San Rafael council approves downtown corridor overhaul

By Adrian Rodriguez, Marin Independent Journal, May 7, 2021. Repaving, extending sidewalks, and a new bike lane are part of the plan.

South City scopes affordable housing options

By Austin Walsh, Daily Journal, May 3, 2021. City Council considered raising commercial linkage fees to purchase land for affordable housing development and further negotiations on some large projects.

Redwood Coast forests may be involved in justifying higher CO2 emissions

By Lisa Song and James Temple, ProPublica, April 29, 2021. A new analysis identifies serious flaws in the methodology used by the state Air Resources Board to assign carbon offset value to forests.

HCD launches housing element Annual Progress Report dashboard

By Chris Lee and Marina Espinoza, California State Association of Counties, April 23, 2021. The dashboard consolidates previously scattered state housing data into an easy-to-use visual format.

First-ever statewide ADU owner survey shows growth, room for improvement

By UC Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation, April 22, 2021. Results suggest that ADUs do provide relatively affordable rental housing units for Californians, but the benefits may not be equitably shared.

Appeals court rules apartment complex can go up at site Ohlone consider sacred site

By Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside, April 21, 2021. The developers first tried normal development channels, then redesigned the project pursuant to SB 35.

HUD announces student winners of 2021 innovation in affordable housing design and planning competition

From HUD User, PD&R Edge, April 19, 2021. Fresno Housing Authority, in partnership with HUD, challenged student teams to draft affordable housing proposals for a five-parcel site in an agricultural community.

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.