Facing severe droughts, developers seek to reuse the water they have
The New York Times – August 3
When Salesforce Tower in San Francisco fully reopens this year after 16 months of pandemic-induced closure, one of its more unusual features will be found in the basement. A series of pipes and cast-in-concrete holding tanks, arrayed on two levels in the parking garage like a hidden microbrewery, will take the dirty water generated by the structure’s daily operations through a six-step filtration process and return it as clean, nonpotable water for use in toilets and drip irrigation. Taking up the space of 16 cars, the black-water system, so called because it treats all wastewater, will filter an estimated 30,000 gallons per workday, or 7.8 million gallons a year. The water-recycling effort is gaining traction as a severe drought punishes industries across states in California, Montana, New Mexico, and Utah.
Too much housing? Palo Alto, among other cities, appeals its regional mandates
Palo Alto Online – August 3
Despite widespread recognition that the Bay Area desperately needs more housing, more than two dozen cities and Santa Clara County are appealing their next eight-year assignments under the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) process. Each of the 27 jurisdictions that has filed an appeal is hoping that an Association of Bay Area Governments appeals committee, which consists of local elected officials, will consider its case and reduce its allocation this fall, before it adopts the final RHNA Plan in October or November.
San Francisco considers rush-hour congestion fees to reduce traffic spikes
NBC Bay Area – July 26
As more businesses return to the office, the streets of San Francisco are once again packed with drivers and commuters. To address the growing problem, local transportation leaders are working on a unique way to address the rising traffic. The San Francisco County Transportation Authority is considering whether or not to implement congestion pricing for drivers. The agency is leading a study focusing on Northeastern San Francisco that looks into a fee for drivers to pay to cross into the boundary during rush hour, making congestion pricing fair and equitable by exploring pricing based on income and other viable options.
San Diego approves new process to redevelop 48-acre Pechanga Arena site
The San Diego Union-Tribune – August 3
The San Diego City Council approved a plan Tuesday to restart its effort to develop the 48-acre Pechanga Arena site. The city envisions transforming the site in Midway District into a major entertainment focal point with a new (or refurbished) stadium, housing, and retail. It approved a plan last year but that plan was scrapped by the state’s housing authority because it didn’t first offer the site to subsidized housing developers. The City Council unanimously approved declaring the space around the arena as surplus land, which kickstarts the process to solicit subsidized housing developers.
Can reviving beach dunes help California with sea level rise?
Los Angeles Times – August 2
In portions of Southern California, it’s easy to forget the beach itself used to be a wild place. Coastal dunes once unfurled along the shore, their crests and curves teeming with plants, birds, and insects. California, in fact, once boasted some of the most biodiverse beaches in the world. But for almost a century, these sandy hills have been flattened and paved over. Now, with the looming threat of sea level rise and a state desperate for solutions, conservationists and a growing movement of researchers say restoring these dunes could provide a much-needed buffer from the water. These overlooked features of the coast could help buy communities a bit more time — before the ocean pushes inland and reclaims the land.