San Diego County’s strict eviction ban has survived its first legal challenge in federal court. Unlike most of California, San Diego’s law does not allow homeowners to move back into homes if they have a renter occupying the property because some local officials see that as a loophole to evict a non-paying tenant. The Southern California Rental Housing Association had sought to get the law thrown out based on arguments it violated parts of the U.S. Constitution. However, U.S. District Court Judge M. James Lorenz issued a decision Tuesday that said the short-term nature of the law – with an August 14, 2021 expiration date - outweighed hardship of landlords. The challengers fear it will be extended past August 14, 2021 and appealed the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. There are still statewide laws in place to stop renters from being kicked out in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 until October.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm last Wednesday announced a series of new building energy code determinations that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) says will save $138 billion over three decades. The department projected the new code determinations will save up to 4.7% on-site energy, 4.3% source energy, 4.2% carbon emissions, and 4.3% in energy costs. The department projects the determinations would generate savings of $138 billion over the next 30 years for homes and businesses, or about $162 per residential unit a year. In an energy savings analysis accompanying the determinations, the department outlined the specific proposed changes, which include more high-efficiency lighting, increased wall and ceiling insulation, and improved efficacy for mechanical ventilation fans.
Sections of the Bay Area trying to address sea level rise with sea walls or levees, like San Mateo County, could inadvertently make flooding worse for neighbors, according to a new study from the Stanford Natural Capital Project. The researchers mapped what happens when one community builds the seawall along the Bayshore, and found that the water ends up flowing into other communities, making their flooding much worse, as well as causing economic damage to structures. The study also focused on different ways to rethink adaptation to sea level rise like strategic flooding – guiding the flood waters to natural areas that can act as overflow zones – and hybrid solutions including engineered structures that make use of elements of nature such as a levee that includes marsh.
San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen proposed legislation on Tuesday to tighten affordable housing requirements for market-rate housing projects. Ronen wants developers to declare their affordable housing plans — either including below-market-rate units in a project, paying a fee, or donating land — 30 days before Planning Department approval. Another public hearing and Planning Commission approval would be required if plans change and result in fewer affordable units, or if a project switches between rental units and condos. Planning Department staff approval would be required if the changes result in more affordable units.
The Los Angeles City Council gave final approval this Wednesday to an ordinance outlawing camping around parks, libraries, and other facilities, over objections from critics who said it would punish people for living on the streets. The measure, approved on a 13-2 vote, had been billed as a more humane way to clear the city’s sidewalks, alleys, and open spaces, with outreach teams offering shelter and services to those who are unhoused. The ordinance now heads to Mayor Eric Garcetti, who previously promised to sign it.