New San Diego laws aim to spur housing for low-income, moderate-income residents
San Diego Union-Tribune – July 30
San Diego approved two much-anticipated pieces of housing legislation this Tuesday: the city’s first incentive focused on housing for moderate-income residents and new regulations that aim to boost construction of units for low-income residents. The City Council unanimously approved the new law focused on moderate-income residents, defined by the city as families making 80 percent to 120 percent of the region’s median income of $86,300 for a family of four. The measure would allow developers to build larger projects with more units if they agree to reserve some of the units for moderate-income workers like nurses, teachers, and firefighters. The council split the vote, 5-4, to approve new regulations focused on requiring housing developers to build more low-income units, which faced strong opposition from much of the local business community. That law would require developers to reserve 10 percent of units in every project for people making 50 percent of the region’s median income or less, but the law would provide multiple alternative ways to comply with that requirement.
Nearly 20,000 newer homes at risk from coastal flooding
Builder - July 31
A new analysis by Climate Central and Zillow released this Wednesday contends that nearly 20,000 homes built in the past decade are at significant risk of chronic coastal flooding by 2050. The analysis states that if greenhouse gas emissions go unchecked, more than 800,000 existing homes worth $451 billion will be at risk in a 10-year flood by 2050. Those numbers jump to 3.4 million existing homes worth $1.75 trillion by 2100. Florida would have the most homes in the zone at risk from sea-level rise and 10-year floods by 2100 (1.58 million), followed by New Jersey (282,354), Virginia (167,090), Louisiana (157,050), and California (143,217), assuming levees and other infrastructure defenses hold, and emissions continue unchecked.
Bipartisan transportation bill includes up to $1B for electric vehicle charging
Greentech Media - July 30
The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works introduced a sweeping transportation bill this Monday that would provide a major funding boost for EV charging infrastructure and other initiatives aimed at curbing carbon emissions from the transportation sector. The America's Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019 proposes investing $287 billion in federal transportation projects over the next five years, a 27 percent increase over existing legislation set to expire in October 2020. In addition to funding for roads and bridges, the bipartisan bill includes $3 billion to support projects that lower highway-related carbon emissions, such as efforts to reduce traffic congestion and provide alternatives to single-occupant vehicle trips. States can compete for an additional $500 million by making progress on lowering their per-capita emissions.
Only a few U.S. cities on track for meeting clean energy goals
Commercial Property Executive – July 31
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy has released the 2019 City Clean Energy Scorecard, a report that tracks city progress toward climate goals. The report reveals that cities undertook more than 265 initiatives to advance efficiency and renewable energy goals between January 2017 and April 2019. These range from more modest efforts—such as Philadelphia’s teleworking for public employees—to cutting-edge policies like Washington, D.C.’s new high-performance standards for existing buildings. On the downside, the analysis shows that most cities with climate goals are either not on track to achieve them or are not yet tracking progress: One-third (27 cities) of the 75 surveyed have yet to even set greenhouse gas reduction targets. Of the 48 with targets, 21 are not yet fully tracking their progress.
East Bay cities look to reinvent and reinvigorate aging, car-oriented corridors
East Bay Times – July 27
A new look is coming to the old, midcentury boulevards that crisscross the Bay Area, including San Pablo Avenue in the East Bay and El Camino Real on the Peninsula. The evolution along San Pablo is already showing in small ways: food trucks, yoga studios, and craft breweries sprouting among the auto body shops, and new bike racks beneath the restored Art Deco marquee of the Cerrito Theater. Officials in Alameda and Contra Costa counties are also gathering public input on the San Pablo Avenue Corridor project, which would remake 12 miles of blacktop from downtown Oakland to Richmond’s Hilltop Mall area. Of the three concepts the Alameda County Transportation Commission has put forward, the most far-reaching would strip out a lane of traffic on either side of the road, adding bus-only lanes in the center, and bicycle lanes adjacent to the sidewalks. To accommodate that redesign, planners would remove much of the avenue’s parking.
San Francisco eliminates several fees for affordable housing projects
SFGate – July 30
Creating affordable housing in San Francisco may get easier after the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved eliminating several fees for affordable housing developments. The legislation to eliminate the fees would also apply to accessory dwelling units, also known as ADUs, according to Mayor London Breed, who introduced the legislation. The legislation calls for the department of building inspection to waive the fees, under a one-year pilot program. Separately, the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved zoning changes along Market Street to fill vacant storefronts. The ordinance, authored by Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, seeks to change zoning on the busy thoroughfare between Van Ness Avenue and Castro Street. The change allows restaurants, art activities, and some nonprofit organizations on ground floors of buildings in order to reduce the number of vacant storefronts.