Housing affordability – whether buying or renting – remains a critical challenge for California cities and their residents. An April 2022 report from UC Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation found that a record number of Californians are housing cost burdened. State housing cost burdens have surged over the last two decades, with home […]
When local agencies sell or lease their surplus land to others, California’s Surplus Land Act (SLA) (Government Code sections 54220 to 24234) requires them to prioritize that land for affordable housing, open space, and school use. Agencies must let affordable housing developers, local park and recreation districts and departments, and school districts know that the […]
A Valuable Tool for Equity Due in part to a long history of unequal land use planning and discriminatory housing and industrial policies, communities of color and low-income communities bear a disproportionate burden of environmental harms. Large polluting industries tend to be sited in or near these communities, leading to higher rates of long-term health […]
With FPPC Enforcement on the Rise, Public Agencies Navigate Gray Area in Use of Public Funds for Election Communications
Local agencies walk a fine line when producing effective informative materials for ballot measures without inadvertently ‘campaigning’. This article reviews current FPPC rules around spending public money to inform the electorate, how to steer clear of enforcement gray areas, and opportunities for the Legislature to authorize limited public agency electoral campaigns.
Systemic issues in land use planning have historically plagued small, low-income, unincorporated communities on the urban fringe. SB 244 took a first step to address the legal, financial, and political barriers affecting disadvantaged unincorporated communities in California. This article describes SB 244 requirements and looks at implementation progress.
California’s recent fire seasons have been staggeringly destructive, and are poised to worsen over upcoming decades as the impacts of climate change increase. Yet, we are not helpless. The use of beneficial fire—at the right times and in the right locations—can increase forest resiliency and reduce wildfire risk. California’s pending Strategic Plan for Expanding the Use of Beneficial Fire points public agencies in the right direction.
SB 330 significantly changed how local governments process applications for housing development projects. SB 330 added new provisions to the Government Code limiting local authority to downzone property or adopt new, subjective design standards. In 2021, the Legislature enacted SB 8, which clarified and updated some of SB 330’s terms. This article answers some SB 330 FAQs and provides implementation tips.
Cities and counties face significant challenges in raising funds for basic services and special programs. Chief among these, local governments must receive two-thirds voter approval before imposing a tax to fund designated programs. However, under a series of recent court rulings, voter-sponsored initiatives for special taxes need only be approved by a simple majority. This article discusses this new revenue opportunity, and how courts have thus far viewed local officials’ involvement in these efforts.
The State Legislature’s burst of new housing legislation has significant implications for use of the initiative power. Find out more about SB10’s explicit shift of power to local legislatures and other ways in which the new laws may complicate planning and zoning initiatives.
The ancient public trust doctrine is as relevant as ever in today’s California, with implications for how local governments make decisions that could directly or indirectly affect water resources.