In the early 1980s, the Legislature enacted the Housing Element Law (Gov. Code § 65580 et seq.) and the Housing Accountability Act (“HAA”, Gov. Code § 65589.5), citing the lack of housing as a paramount state concern. Since then, the Legislature has passed multiple laws limiting the discretion of local agencies to disapprove or condition housing […]
Since its passage in 2017, Senate Bill 35 (SB 35)—a state law requiring local jurisdictions to streamline approval of certain affordable housing projects—has been controversial, to say the least. Over the last few years, SB 35 has been the subject of much litigation, as discussed in Benjamin Gonzalez’s and Andrew Schwartz’s article, “Is local control of affordable housing development dead?” in this issue. But because none of […]
Costly down payments are a major barrier to home ownership for many Americans. Medium and even some low-income workers and their families may earn enough to afford monthly mortgage payments, but often struggle to save enough for a down payment. According to a recent Urban Institute report, high housing costs fall hardest on Black families, who […]
SMW worked closely with Cupertino staff, bond counsel, municipal advisor, and underwriters to issue about $22 million of Certificates of Participation, refunding previously issued certificates and taking advantage of near historical lows for municipal bond rates. The transaction resulted in average annual savings to Cupertino of nearly $500,000.
SMW attorneys supported the City of Cupertino in its acquisition of more than 7 acres of land planned for a park. Cupertino’s purchase of the property is a critical step in a more than 10-year effort to provide additional parks and recreation areas on the east side of the City.
Does your agency require “wet-ink” signatures on contracts, resolutions, or permit applications? In California, use of electronic signatures has been valid since 2000. With public agencies increasingly conducting business electronically during the COVID-19 pandemic, more are accepting and using e-signatures for certain official documents. Read on for an overview of the laws surrounding electronic signatures and for […]
The California Supreme Court recently issued a ruling on the seemingly mundane issue of whether public agencies may charge Public Records Act (PRA) requesters for the costs of redacting exempt material from electronic records when responding to PRA requests. Although the decision clarifies that agencies must bear the cost of redacting exempt material from both […]
As climate change and sea-level rise accelerate erosion, cities and counties along the California coast must act to protect coastal resources and property from the landward march of the sea. To buffer these interests against the effects of coastal erosion, local agencies have adopted a wide variety of management strategies. Where landowners are reluctant to […]
In 2020, the firm assisted the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) in its first bond issuance. The public agency sold $271 million in Green Bonds/Climate Bonds, certified based on the environmentally sustainable elements of the multi-modal Transbay Program. Proceeds from the bonds sale were used to refinance a federal loan and generate new money for the design and construction of the transit center and the […]
On April 20th CalRecycle released what it expects to be the final regulations implementing SB 1383, California’s groundbreaking law to reduce disposal of organic waste at landfills by 75 percent from 2014 levels by 2025. The law is an important part of the State’s strategy to reduce methane and greenhouse gas emissions. Instead of focusing on emissions at landfills, SB […]