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Sustainable Development Update
May 4, 2018
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Sustainable Development Focus

San Diego shrinks 'granny flat' fees to spur construction amid housing crisis

THE SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE - May 4 Fees to build “granny flats,” which are often nearly equal to construction costs, will shrink sharply under legislation the San Diego City Council unanimously approved this week. The goal is to help alleviate a severe local shortage of affordable housing by spurring construction of more granny flats, which are additional housing units on an existing property. Granny flats are being increasingly viewed across the nation as an innovative way to create more housing without more land or infrastructure, making them the fastest and cheapest way to increase the local supply of affordable housing.


Nestlé to draw power from 100% renewable resources at Sacramento plant

CAPITAL PUBLIC RADIO - May 7 A water-bottling plant in Sacramento is going green. As of mid-May, Nestlé Water North America will begin drawing all of its power from renewable sources at its Sacramento location. Damien Waples, the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District (SMUD) manager on the Nestlé account, says the project is like removing “1,300 passenger vehicles off the road per year. It's the equivalent in greenhouse gas emissions from that." The partnership is part of a pilot program with SMUD, using a mixture of solar, wind, biomass, and hydroelectric power.

El Segundo pushes for Smoky Hollow as a creative industrial office district

BISNOW - Apr 24 El Segundo officials are pushing to transform Smoky Hollow, a former industrial area, into an eclectic mix of creative office, research and development, and light industrial with cafés, bike paths, and pedestrian walkways. In recent years because of its proximity to Silicon Beach, Venice, and West Los Angeles and relatively affordable average office lease rates, Smoky Hollow has become a hub for creative tenants, El Segundo Economic Development Manager Barbara Voss said. City officials said the plan will support a total gross property development of 2.97 million square feet of office, industrial, and public facility building space through 2040. El Segundo Planning Manager Gregg McClain said officials are hoping to present the final plan to the city planning commission in the next couple of months and possibly have it in front of the city council by this summer.

Advanced Microgrid Solutions’ hybrid-electric building fleet goes live

GREENTECH MEDIA - Apr 25 Back in 2015, California real estate developer Irvine Company announced plans to turn high-rise properties into “hybrid-electric buildings” by equipping them with Tesla batteries and then turning them over to energy storage project developer Advanced Microgrid Solutions to earn money serving the power grid. This week, Irvine Company and Advanced Microgrid Solutions unveiled the results of the project: a fleet of batteries at 21 buildings across Southern California. Each is capable of reducing building peak demand by 25 percent and shaving about 10 percent from energy expenses and operating costs by up to 10 percent. Together, they’re capable of providing up to 10 megawatts of instantaneous load reduction for up to four hours at a time, to help utility Southern California Edison balance the grid.

Billions from gas tax and vehicle fees will go to transit projects, California officials announce

LOS ANGELES TIMES - Apr 26 State officials announced last Thursday that $2.4 billion from increases in the gas tax and vehicle fees will be spent on dozens of transit projects, including work to prepare Southern California for the 2028 Summer Olympics. The announcement came just before Republican activists planned to file signatures for a ballot initiative to repeal the increases. An additional $1.9 billion for the projects will come from funds collected by the state's landmark climate change program, which requires polluters to buy carbon emission credits. Officials said money will also go toward making the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner and Metrolink commuter lines faster and more reliable by improving tracks and signals at locations such as Los Angeles' Union Station. In the San Francisco Bay Area, it will help complete the funding for a Bay Area Rapid Transit line to San Jose and the creation of new SamTrans express bus routes along the U.S. 101 corridor.

Bill could boost Santa Monica's affordable housing, public transit goals

SANTA MONICA LOOKOUT - Apr 30 A Santa Monica lawmaker's bill that would create "Transit Improvement Districts" could help ease the beach city's affordable housing crisis, boost its transportation initiatives, and create more green space, a sponsor of the bill said. State Senator Ben Allen's "Neighborhood Infill Finance and Transit Improvement Districts" bill (SB 961), which would create funding districts near public transit, was unanimously approved by a key committee last Wednesday. Drafted by Move LA, the bill creates special taxing districts "around rail stations and along high-frequency bus corridors," the transportation non-profit said. The districts "would collect the enhanced tax increment from increased property and sales taxes within the district and use these funds to invest in district improvements," said former Santa Monica Mayor Denny Zane, who heads Move LA.

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Chine Jeffrey A Jeffrey A. Chine
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Renée Louise Robin Renée Louise Robin
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