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Sustainable Development Update
May 17, 2018
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Sustainable Development Focus

Federal judge rules in Berkeley’s favor in fight over post office

BERKELEYSIDE - May 15 A federal judge on Monday rejected arguments by the federal government that the city of Berkeley had acted unconstitutionally when it created a historic overlay for the Civic Center in 2014, thereby making it difficult for the government to sell the post office at 2000 Allston Way. While mandating that the nine buildings in the overlay could only be used for civic or nonprofit uses rather than commercial purposes might have diminished the sales value of the post office, it did not make the building impossible to sell, ruled U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup. Moreover, the action of the Berkeley City Council affected a number of property owners, not just the federal government. It cannot be seen as violating the supremacy clause of the Constitution as the federal government had argued, Alsup wrote in his decision.


PG&E partners with Fresno solar project to deliver renewable energy

THE BUSINESS JOURNAL - May 11 Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has signed on the first community solar project for its Regional Renewable Choice program with renewable energy developer ForeFront Power. The program allows all customers, including renters and those who can’t install solar, the option of purchasing up to 100 percent solar energy without having to install private rooftop solar panels. Approximately half of U.S. households and businesses are unable to install rooftop solar due to space, lack of sun exposure, or ownership limitations. The 1.66-megawatt solar project will be located in Fresno County.

S.F. Planning Commission adopts sweeping development plan for SoMa district

SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER - May 11 The Planning Commission last Thursday unanimously approved a massive neighborhood rezoning plan for San Francisco’s South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood that included slightly more potential housing after the original plan came under fire for its high ratio of jobs to housing. The Central SoMa Plan is projected to bring up to 33,000 new jobs and 8,300 homes to the neighborhood over the next 30 years through changes to local zoning and height limits, as opposed to the 40,000 jobs and 7,000 housing units in the original plan. The potential for more homes as well as a “good jobs” policy to support the creation of living wage jobs across all sectors were added after community stakeholders criticized the plan’s jobs-housing fit. The plan must also be approved by the Board of Supervisors.

Elon Musk shares a trip through his Hawthorne tunnel. His project in L.A. is facing a bumpier ride

LOS ANGELES TIMES - May 11 Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk unveiled a zippy video last Thursday night showing the progress his company has made on a tunnel beneath the city of Hawthorne, part of his grand vision for a subterranean transportation network that whisks commuters across Los Angeles County. Yet even as he celebrates that milestone, Musk faces new challenges on another underground project: a 2.7-mile tunnel planned along Sepulveda Boulevard on L.A.'s Westside. Two neighborhood groups have filed a lawsuit over the city of Los Angeles' proposal to fast-track the project by exempting it from environmental review. In Culver City, where the Sepulveda tunnel could end, officials are contemplating their own court challenge. And debate continues over the effect Musk's transportation initiative could have on surface traffic, economic equity, and the environment.

Solar panels to help power Santa Rosa microgrid

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT - May 8 When California’s energy grid gets stressed out during heat waves, energy managers send out so-called flex alerts asking people to conserve energy. An innovative energy project underway in Santa Rosa aims to take that flexibility to new levels by helping a huge energy user — the city’s water treatment plant — quickly reduce its energy usage while still performing its core mission of cleaning water. A 125-kilowatt solar array popping up above the parking lot of the Laguna Subregional Water Reclamation plant on Llano Road is the first visible sign of a years-long effort to turn the plant into a microgrid capable of reducing its use of electricity from the grid.

SANDAG board asks state to lower the bar on housing

KPBS - May 11 Board members of the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) last Friday voted to ask state officials to set a lower bar for housing production in the county, reflecting a resistance among elected officials to allow for more homes to be built despite a crippling housing crisis. The Regional Housing Needs Assessment, or RHNA, is a state-mandated program that requires cities and counties to plan for enough homes to accommodate their expected population growth. The state has asked SANDAG to plan for more than 171,000 new homes to be built in the county between 2021 and 2029. The county is nearing its 2020 deadline for the current cycle of housing goals, but governments have permitted less than a third of the homes allowed for in their current plans.

Want to raise rent? Make your apartments walkable, bikeable, or busable

BISNOW - May 10 Increased mobility options, including transit, car-share, bike-share, or ride-share, have shown to be directly related to higher rents for apartments, according to a recent study conducted by RCLCO and TransitScreen. Among multifamily projects built across the country in this real estate cycle, the study shows a 10 percent increase in a project’s MobilityScore correlated with a rent increase of $0.12 per square foot, and the difference in MobilityScore accounts for 28 percent of the variation in rent per square foot. Mobility scores are measured in more than the number of steps to a bus stop or light rail station.

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Chine Jeffrey A Jeffrey A. Chine
Partner
Land Use & Development | Real Estate | Environmental & Natural Resources | Residential & Multifamily | Shopping Center, Retail & Mixed-Use | Real Estate Transactions
San Diego
(619) 235-1525
(619) 233-1158 (fax)
Email Jeffrey

Devine William R William R. Devine
Partner
Land Use & Development | Real Estate | Environmental & Natural Resources | Investment Management Group | Residential & Multifamily | Real Estate Transactions
Orange County
(949) 851-5412
(949) 553-8354 (fax)
Email William

Perry Patrick A Patrick A. Perry
Partner
Land Use & Development | Telecommunications Infrastructure | Real Estate | Infrastructure | Environmental & Natural Resources | Office | Shopping Center, Retail & Mixed-Use | Appeals & Writs | Real Estate Transactions
Los Angeles
(213) 955-5504
(213) 620-8816 (fax)
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Renée Louise Robin Renée Louise Robin
Senior Counsel
Environmental & Natural Resources | Land Use & Development
San Francisco
(415) 273-8413
(415) 837-1516 (fax)
Email Renée



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