Why these hospitals have committed $700 million for affordable housing
Next City – December 3
As the links between physical health and community wealth and vitality become increasingly clear, 14 regional and national health systems are coming together to commit at least $700 million to investments in affordable housing and economic development in the cities where they are located. The commitment by the Healthcare Anchor Network, a project of the nonprofit research and advocacy organization Democracy Collaborative, will direct the wealth and resources of some of the largest employers in a number of U.S. states to local development projects. The health systems include insurance services, hospitals, and doctors’ groups like Kaiser Permanente, Einstein Healthcare Network, and Trinity Health.
Charter cities must comply with Surplus Land Act, appellate court finds
The Orange County Register – November 27
Charter cities in California must abide by a state law that mandates excess city-owned property be set aside for affordable housing, according to a new California appellate court opinion that impacts 121 such cities throughout the state. The Surplus Land Act has governed the use of excess land for affordable housing since 1979, and has been strengthened several times in the years since, including this year. The act requires local agencies to first offer their surplus land to an entity that will turn it into housing and reserve 25 percent of the units as affordable housing for lower-income families for at least 55 years. If no such deal can be reached, the local municipality may list the land on the open market with the condition that if the land is used to build 10 or more homes, at least 15 percent of those units must be affordable. Arguing their status as a charter city exempted them from that state oversight, San Jose officials had been abiding by their own looser version of that rule. But the Sixth District Court of Appeal determined the city must follow the letter of the state law.
LinkedIn is getting serious about eco-friendly buildings
CNN - December 2
Many Silicon Valley companies want to reduce their carbon footprint, but some are doing so from the ground up. LinkedIn is using a more environmentally-friendly concrete to expand their campuses. The production of cement, the key ingredient in concrete, contributes to 7 percent of global man-made greenhouse emissions, according to the International Energy Agency. For its new 245,000-square-foot building and accompanying parking garage at its Mountain View, headquarters, LinkedIn is working with Canadian startup CarbonCure, which traps carbon emissions into concrete. The new building, which will also incorporate other sustainable efforts including recycled water, will open in 2021 and have space for 1,000 people.
As Bay Area natural gas bans spread, lawsuits mount
San Francisco Chronicle - December 3
With bans on natural gas in new buildings poised to take effect starting in January, lawsuits are mounting from restaurants and developers who argue that they create safety risks or violate the law. Berkeley kicked off the trend this summer when it banned natural gas in newly built homes; the city intends to also include new commercial buildings. Roughly a dozen municipalities in Northern California quickly followed with similar restrictions, many focused on new homes. The California Restaurant Association challenged Berkeley’s ban in federal court on November 21, arguing it would raise costs and hurt businesses. Two developers also filed suits against Windsor last month after the town passed an ordinance requiring electrical appliances and prohibiting gas installations in new low-rise residential developments.
L.A. limits campaign donations from real estate developers
Los Angeles Times – December 4
The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a law this Wednesday that will crack down on campaign contributions from real estate developers, despite warnings from critics who said it had been too watered down to curb the power of political spending. The idea, first proposed by council members nearly three years ago, had languished until an FBI raid at City Hall cast a fresh spotlight on long-standing concerns about developer donations and political power. Under the new ordinance, real estate developers will be barred from giving political contributions to Los Angeles city officials and candidates for council, mayor, or city attorney while the city weighs key approvals for their building projects, including zone changes and allowing added height. Developers will face such restrictions for a year after a final decision on each application.The law will not go into effect for more than two years — a delay that officials said was needed to first set up a database tracking who is prohibited from donating.
Ventura City Council unanimously passes anti-eviction ordinance
Ventura County Star – December 3
The Ventura City Council unanimously passed an emergency eviction ordinance this Monday, joining more than two dozen California cities in halting “no-cause” evictions until January 1, when a new statewide tenant-protection law takes effect. Advocacy groups are reporting a rise in evictions ahead of the law, which will ban evictions without a “just cause” and cap annual rent increases at 5 percent plus inflation. Governor Gavin Newsom signed the bill into law in early October, and some say landlords are taking advantage of the gap between then and January 1 to evict tenants and raise rents.