Land Use (News)
Council OKs high-density housing project for Hacienda Meets court-ordered deadline to boost affordable units here
The Pleasanton City Council Tuesday approved land use changes in Hacienda Business Park that will allow for construction of a high-density, 840-unit housing project with half the units to serve those with low-to moderate incomes.
The complex of two and three story buildings will be constructed on 32 acres of still-vacant land owned by W.P. Carey, Roche and BRE. The three sites are located along Hacienda, Gibraltar and Owens drives close to the Pleasanton BART station with nearby access to I-580.
The council's rezoning of the properties came in response to a ruling by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch last August in favor of suits brought by Urban Habitat and then state Attorney General Jerry Brown. Roesch declared the city's 29,000unit housing cap approved by voters in 1996 in violation of state mandates for affordable and market rate housing requirements imposed by the Bay area Association of Governments. In addition to scuttling the cap, he ordered Pleasanton to come up with a plan to meet its current housing numbers requirements by March 1, and to add another 1,400 units by2014.
HUD has administered the planned obsolescence of public housing for well over 15 years. According to HUD, 150,000 units have been lost to demolition and disposition, although the number of lost units is probably closer to 280,000 if taken from the Millennial Housing Report and Ways and Means Committee’s Green Book. There are also an estimated $20-30 billion in maintenance backlogs. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan argues that things have gotten so bad that we must open up public housing to private capital or “lose these irreplaceable resources forever.” (Click here to read this article on the Huffington Post.)
The pivotal decisions by Congress to cut annual appropriations for the Public Housing Capital Fund and to lift one-for-one replacement for any public housing unit lost to demolition or disposition were neither necessary nor inevitable. They were politically, not economically, determined. Other choices could have been made. For instance, George Romney, HUD Secretary under President Nixon, suggested that, if necessary, money for public housing should come from reforms to Mortgage Interest Deductions, a reasonable alternative considering 75 percent of this expenditure benefits homeowners earning more than $100,000 a year.
By Zack Olmstead
More than $1 billion in annual funding for low- and moderate-income housing at risk
Over $1 billion in annual funding specifically designated for low- and moderate-income housing production is at risk with Governor Brown's proposal to eliminate redevelopment agencies in his 2011-12 budget (details on his redevelopment proposal begin on page 168).
Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to eliminate redevelopment agencies and enterprise zones baffled city and county officials who have relied on the two programs for decades to spur economic growth and development in depressed areas.
Critics said the move will exacerbate the state's flailing economy, push jobs out of California and take important tools away from local governments looking to eliminate blight and improve job prospects in underserved communities. They also expressed confusion about which projects will be impacted.
New projects impacted
Rather, 26 of the 31 million dollars goes directly to the city's redevelopment agency (RDA) which ostensibly uses money to "subsidize development projects, build affordable housing, fix up rundown buildings and beautify streets."
Jeff Bowser and Joan Laursen received 40 and 38 percent of the vote, respectively, and were elected to their first term on the school district's five-member board. Incumbent Jim Ott and longtime member Pat Kernan had opted not to seek re-election, leaving the race void of incumbents for the first time in at least a decade.
At city hall, Mayor Jennifer Hosterman held off council member Cindy McGovern with 53 percent of the vote versus McGovern's 47 percent. Council incumbents Jerry Thorne and Cheryl Cook-Kallio retained their seats against political newcomers Karla Brown and Fred Watson.
The rain let up for a few hours this past Saturday, just in time for a Great Communities Collaborative Urban Tour of South Bay CalTrain stations. The tour was sponsored by Urban Habitat and Greenbelt Alliance (both part of the Great Communities Collaborative) as well as the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, the City of Sunnyvale, Sunnyvale Cool, and the American Planning Association. The tour was meant to show residents, decision-makers, and Horizon 2035 committee members what Transit Oriented Development looks like built and on the ground. The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) was gracious enough to donate a bus for the event:
Environmental justice, a movement to focus attention on pollution in low-income communities, is a burning cause for Lisa Jackson, the first African American to head the U.S. Environmental Protection agency. Over the last several months, Jackson has toured poor white, black and Latino communities with a message: Eco-issues aren't just for rich folks.
On Saturday, the EPA chief took a bus tour of low-income neighborhoods in the San Francisco Bay area, stopping at a Superfund site where the federal government is coordinating toxic chemical cleanup, and an urban food cooperative.
The fair will feature 75 vendors that specialize in green practices, including air, water, waste, commuting and transportation, healthy homes and healthy living and energy. Fuel efficient vehicles will also be on display and sustainably produced food will be sold.
The event is part of a series of activities the city has planned as part of its climate action plan it will adopt as part of a settlement it reached with Urban Habitat. The environmental justice group sued the city and won over its voter-approved housing cap of 29,000 units, saying it prevented the city from meeting is share of regional housing needs.
For more information visit www.pleasantongreenscene.org.
Robert Jordan covers Dublin and Pleasanton. Contact him at 925-847-2184.