Sustainable California Update :: Conservation Strategy Group Reports on Redevelopment, CEQA & SB 375
Sustainable California Updates – February 12, 2012
In this issue:
Update on Redevelopment
In June 2011, the state legislature passed two bills that were signed by the Governor to dissolve California’s network of redevelopment agencies. Just last week, over 400 redevelopment agencies were shut down statewide.
The closing of redevelopment agencies was controversial. For half a century, cities have relied on redevelopment agencies to revitalize neighborhoods and develop vacant or blighted properties. In light of the massive budget deficit, the Governor chose to close these agencies down and free up tax revenue they were diverting away from schools, counties, and cities.
As of February 1, 2012, redevelopment agencies are officially dissolved. Each redevelopment agency appointed a successor agency to pay off all outstanding debt and most chose the city government for this task. For the next few decades, property tax revenue will go towards paying off debts and eventually will help the state’s bottom line.
Future of Redevelopment
Cities are actively looking for new financing options for redevelopment. The City of Roseville, for example, developed a nonprofit to promote private financing of projects in the public interest. Legislators are also looking for ways to promote economic development and affordable housing. For example, Senate Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg introduced a measure, SB 654, to direct balances in Low and Moderate Income Housing Funds (LMIFH) for use in developing affordable housing. Running parallel to SB 654 is AB 1585, by Assembly Speaker Perez, which also seeks to retain affordable housing funds from LMIHF. Without a definite state solution to redevelopment needs at the moment, communities are now focusing on crafting their own unique solutions.
Upcoming Senate Hearing – February 22
Joint Senate Hearing: “Financing Affordable Housing and Local Economic Development: New Reality, New Opportunity” Capitol Building, Room 4203
Formal testimony will be delivered by Housing California and the California Housing Consortium on the need for permanent ongoing sources of funding for affordable housing particularly given the demise of redevelopment. Representatives from labor, the business community and local government will also provide testimony. Following the speakers, there will be an opportunity for public comment.
Workshops for Draft CEQA Guidelines on Streamlining Infill
The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) has developed a draft proposal for additions to CEQA Guidelines. Under the direction of SB 226 (Simitian, 2011) this proposal intends to set forth a streamlined review process for infill projects. It also contains the performance standards used to determine an infill project’s eligibility for that streamlined review.
In order to develop an efficient and effective set of guidelines, OPR is depending on public input and engagement. Workshops on the subject will be held in three cities. The meeting in Sacramento will also be webcast.
|February 21, 2012
|February 22, 2012
|February 23, 2012
|Cal/EPA Headquarters Building
Sierra Hearing Room, 2nd Floor
1001 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
|City of Fresno
Council Chambers, 2nd Floor
2600 Fresno Street
Fresno, CA 93721
|Ronald Reagan State Building
300 South Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
For the full text of the proposed changes, visit: http://opr.ca.gov/s_sb226.php
New: Sustainable Communities Learning Network
The Sustainable Communities Learning Network helps local officials and staff access and share resources and tools that encourage their communities to consider and apply economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable practices. It is a project of the Institute for Local Government in partnership with the Information Center for the Environment at the University of California, Davis with support from the Strategic Growth Council and The California Endowment.
The Learning Network:
- Facilitates peer-to-peer learning, sharing of real-world examples between local officials and others engaged in sustainability efforts
- Provides access to best practices, tools, and resources
- Offers opportunities to be recognized as a leader in sustainability
The Sustainable Communities Learning Network is currently in the development stage. They envision a user-driven learning platform, with opportunities to connect with experts in various sustainability best practices areas. To stay up-to-date as the Network develops and grows, sign up here for the Sustainability eNews. You can also contact them directly for more information or to tell them what you would like to see as part of the Learning Network.
SB 375 Update: Sustainable Community Strategies
SB 375 (Steinberg, 2008) has called on Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to incorporate Sustainable Community Strategies (SCS) into their Regional Transportation Plans. SCSs combine land use and transportation strategies to achieve the emissions reduction targets established by the Air Resources Board for each of 18 MPOs.
The progress of several MPOs in developing this plan is described below:
San Diego: San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) was the first agency to adopt a SCS and adopted its plan on October 28, 2011, after two years of work and public input. On November, 2011, the Cleveland National Forest Foundation and Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit against SANDAG for a producing a flawed plan through a deficient process. According to the plaintiffs, the plan focuses on goals opposite to those of SB375 by placing priority on expanding freeways, encouraging driving, and increasing air pollution. Sierra Club and California’s Attorney General Kamala D. Harris also joined the lawsuit. The 2050 Regional Transportation Plan can be found here.
Sacramento Area Council of Governments: Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) released its Metropolitan Transportation Plan 2035 and draft SCS and is planning to release the final SCS in April this year. The draft is available online to read and submit comments.
Southern California: Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) has released a draft SCS and is holding public hearings on the current plan. SCAG is planning to release its final draft in April. To attend workshops on the SCS or to read the draft plan, visit the SCAG website.
Bay Area: Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) has released alternative scenarios and is holding public workshops to determine how to reach the 2035 target for GHG emissions. ABAG launched a campaign in 2010 called “One Bay Area” to achieve sustainable community and climate action initiatives. The land-use and transportation plan is called Plan Bay Area and the final SCS is expected in Spring 2013.
Tahoe: Tahoe is a unique, bi-state region developing its SCS as a component of its long-range general plan. The Tahoe MPO is updating its Regional Transportation Plan to incorporate the SCS with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s (TRPA) regional plan update. The new plan will be called Mobility 2035, and information on progress can be found here. The public draft will be released this month and the final draft will be released in August 2012.
Save the Date: Equity Summit – April 10th
Building on the momentum of Equity Summit 2011 in Detroit, the Sacramento Coalition on Regional Equity (CORE) (a project of the Sacramento Housing Alliance) and its partners are organizing a day-long equity summit where equity advocates from across the state will strategize to move forward an equity agenda for the state of California and its diverse regions.
Get more information or register here.
Conservation Strategy Group manages Sustainable California as a forum for organizations and agencies to share information and identify opportunities for individuals and organizations to engage in urban sustainability policy development and funding programs, focusing on activities in California.
Conservation Strategy Group provides email updates on what’s happening at the Capitol and identifies opportunities to take action in support of urban sustainability. We have also established an online resource through which information could be shared. Our hope is that the network would evolve over time so that participating organizations would also share information with each other.