DOE orders sweeping review of Trump energy efficiency rules
The Hill – February 19
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will review several of the Trump administration’s most controversial energy rules, teeing up a possible reversal of policies that eased or erased efficiency regulations for lightbulbs, showerheads, and other appliances. The review process will kick off a new notice and comment period but doesn’t guarantee rules will be reversed.
Cost of flood damage to U.S. homes will increase by 61% in 30 years
Reuters – February 21
Rising sea levels and extreme weather could cause $20 billion of flood damage to at-risk U.S. homes this year, rising to $32 billion by 2051, according to research from New York-based flood research non-profit First Street Foundation published on Monday. Roughly 4.3 million homes - concentrated in Florida, California, South Carolina, and Texas - have a substantial risk of sustaining economic damage from flooding this year. The majority are not required by the U.S. government to have flood insurance.
California bill seeks to expand multifamily housing
San Francisco Chronicle – February 18
State Senator Scott Wiener last week introduced a bill taking aim at local regulations that limit the square footage of a project based on its lot size, which Wiener calls a “poison pill” to block anything but single-family housing. For properties zoned for multifamily housing of two to 10 units, Wiener’s measure, SB478, would prohibit cities and counties from setting a floor area ratio of less than 1.5. He is also trying again to pass a measure that would let cities rezone residential parcels for apartment or condominium projects of up to 10 units without doing years-long environmental reviews.
L.A. County to look at vacant commercial property for affordable and homeless housing
The Signal – February 23
Los Angeles County is expected to create a list of underutilized commercial properties left vacant during the pandemic that could be used for affordable housing or temporary homeless housing, according to a motion approved this Tuesday. A University of California, Berkeley, report, which the motion cited, highlights that residential reuse of land zoned for retail and office offers opportunities around economic growth and to address issues such as affordable housing.
Berkeley to end single-family residential zoning, citing racist ties
The Mercury News – February 24
The same city that was the birthplace of single-family zoning in the early 1900s has now voted to eliminate it by December 2022. The Berkeley City Council took the first step this Wednesday in a unanimous vote to undo “exclusionary zoning,” which would eliminate single-family residential zoning and allow for other types of housing such as apartments, duplexes, and triplexes.
San Diego approves regulations that could cut number of short-term vacation rentals by up to 30%
The San Diego Union-Tribune – February 23
The San Diego City Council this Tuesday endorsed a yearly cap that could cut the volume of more active vacation rentals by as much as 30 percent. The new regulations, which still need a second vote of the council before becoming law, grew out of a compromise plan that won the support of Airbnb and other large home-sharing platforms, as well as the local hotel workers union.