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Sustainable Development Update
December 14, 2018
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Sustainable Development Focus

Los Angeles County approves development of 19,000 homes at Tejon Ranch

KTLA - Dec 11 The conflict between the need for more housing in California and the danger of building in fire-prone mountains was decided in favor of homes on Tuesday as the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a massive rural housing development. The supervisors voted 4-1 to approve a 19,000-home project amid a statewide housing shortage, high rents, and a very visible homelessness crisis even as recent wildfires have drawn attention to the danger of building in rural terrain that rings California's urban areas. The Centennial project at Tejon Ranch off Interstate 5 in rugged mountains that separate Los Angeles from the Central Valley to the north has been in the works for two decades.


Ban on S.F. tech cafeterias dropped in favor of special permit requirement

KTLA - Dec 10 San Francisco has abandoned a proposal to ban tech cafeterias but instead may require a special permit for them to open in new office space. Supervisor Ahsha Safai introduced the cafeteria ban with Supervisor Aaron Peskin in July, but announced changes to it Monday after months of feedback since news of it “went wildly national.” Instead of a ban, the legislation would require a special permit, known as a conditional use permit, which someone can appeal to the Board of Supervisors if it is granted by the Planning Commission. Safai amended the proposal Monday during the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Transportation Committee, after the committee postponed a vote on the legislation last week. The proposal now goes back to the Planning Commission for review.

L.A. approves new rules for Airbnb-type rentals after years of debate

LOS ANGELES TIMES - Dec 11 The Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted Tuesday to impose new rules on renting out rooms and homes for short stays, regulating a phenomenon popularized by the rise of online platforms such as Airbnb. Under the new rules, Angelenos can host such rentals only in their “primary residence,” defined as the place where they live at least half of the year. Hosts must register with the city, pay lodging taxes, keep records for city inspection, and make sure they have working smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and information on emergency exits, among other requirements. That does not mean that the debate over such rentals is over: Council President Herb Wesson and Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson introduced a new proposal Tuesday asking city staffers to draft an ordinance that would allow vacation rentals and cap their number across the city. Council members are also slated to consider whether to allow some exemptions to the ban on rent-stabilized apartments.

San Diego County building the nation's first zero net energy archive facility

BISNOW - Dec 6 Work has started on San Diego County’s new Assessor, Recorder, County Clerk office in Santee, a 25,000-square-foot that will be home to the East County Branch Office and Archives. The building will be the country’s first zero net energy archive facility. The county's board of supervisors adopted its Climate Action Plan in February to address sustainability and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions within the county. The ARCC building’s energy-efficient design, which meets LEED Gold and zero net energy specifications, aligns with the county’s long-term energy goals. Because the facility is meant to be partly an archive, the project is particularly challenging, because the building needs to maintain strict temperature and humidity conditions to preserve delicate archived materials while at the same time being zero net energy.

California senators' bill would create ongoing funding source for housing

MARIN INDEPENDENT JOURNAL - Dec 8 State Senators Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) and Jim Beall (D-San Jose) have introduced the first of what they say will be a series of bills aimed at addressing the state’s affordable housing crisis. Senate Bill 5, introduced last week, would allow municipalities, counties, joint powers agencies, and certain other entities to use some of the property tax revenue they currently are required to send to the state to support education to build housing instead. The approach bears a strong resemblance to redevelopment agencies, which were eliminated in 2011 on the recommendation of Governor Jerry Brown. Redevelopment agencies supplied the largest ongoing source of revenue for affordable housing, an estimated $1.5 billion annually at their peak. But the funds weren’t always used as intended, and they were eliminated to help balance the state budget.

Los Angeles City Council signs off on contested Venice homeless shelter

CURBED - Dec 11 Amid both jeers and applause, the Los Angeles City Council gave the green light on Tuesday to a temporary homeless shelter in Venice. The 154-bed shelter will be built on a former bus yard owned by Metro at Sunset and Pacific avenues. With the council’s approval, it’s set to open next year. Venice has the largest concentration of homeless residents on the Westside, with nearly 1,000 residents. More than 85 percent of those residents live outside of shelters, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. The shelter will be funded through the mayor’s A Bridge Home initiative, aimed at fostering development of similar shelters in each of the city’s 15 council districts. So far, only one has been completed—a 45-bed complex of trailers alongside the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument—though several others are slated to open in the next few months.

With S.F.’s retail storefronts empty, mayor pushes for more flexibility

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE - Dec 10 San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Monday announced new legislation and permitting changes to make it faster and easier to open a retail business, in an effort to fill the empty storefronts that have deadened city neighborhoods for years. Proposals will include more flexibility around serving drinks and food in traditional retail spaces, cutting down city approval requirements, and easing rules for temporary pop-up stores and events. The city is also allocating nearly $1 million for small-business subsidies, consultants and legal assistance, and research on the causes of local retail vacancies. The effort mirrors the mayor’s housing strategy, which involves trying to streamline city approvals.

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Chine Jeffrey A Jeffrey A. Chine
Partner
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Devine William R William R. Devine
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Orange County
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Perry Patrick A Patrick A. Perry
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Los Angeles
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Renée Louise Robin Renée Louise Robin
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San Francisco
(415) 273-8413
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