Nobody likes uncertainty. Certainly not the developers of a billion dollar mixed-use project that encounters community opposition due to traffic impacts. Nor the public transportation agency that runs into fairy shrimp on the future route of a trolley line. Nor the city planners for multifamily housing around a transit station that face a revolt from their single-family neighbors. [Read more…] about In Defense of Uncertainty
An invitation was emailed last week for a ground breaking ceremony to be held on Wednesday Oct. 8, at 10:00 AM for a new Pendry Hotel to replace the parking lot of 5th & J. The invitation was ground breaking in more than one way. This parking lot was the site of one of the most egregious abuses of eminent domain under the California Community Redevelopment Act, and became one of the poster-children of the property rights – anti-eminent domain movement. Many believe it also played a role in Governor Brown’s repeal of the redevelopment law. [Read more…] about Parking lot no more at Fifth & J in the Gaslamp Quarter?
A city makes many investments, such as infrastructure improvements, life and safety services, and in their employees. To fund such, cities rely upon new development and construction to fuel its economic generation engine with new jobs, housing, shops, parks, fees, and tax revenues.We have all experienced the difficulties with building new developments in Southern California. It is either too difficult to build something great or too easy to build something terrible. Most city planning departments have to overcome a past of allowing for deplorable new buildings that challenged the character of beloved older communities. [Read more…] about The Value of Planning in the Age of Economics.
For the last half century, cities have attempted to repair the damage to their urban cores from migration to suburbs and exurbs. Redevelopment has evolved into smart growth, transit oriented development, and complete streets. In the last 15 years or so, the urban renewal efforts have had a receptive audience as people, tired of the car oriented lifestyle of the suburbs, are returning to urban cores and older urban neighborhoods. However, while cities get the big picture, too often in my 25 years as a land use attorney, I have seen the same mistakes repeated. [Read more…] about 6 Common Mistakes Made By Cities and Towns in Urban Renewal.
The City of La Mesa has cut down all the shade trees along its commercial mainstreet. This occurred as construction began on the La Mesa Downtown Streetscape “enhancement” project. Some of these trees were tattered, unhealthy, or buckling the sidewalks. However, the city removed nearly all the trees, problematic or not. Rather than replacing these trees with environmentally and pedestrian friendly shade trees (e.g. native varieties like Western Sycamores, Live Oak, or Black Oak), the replacements tree choice is being guided primarily by maintenance concerns, leaving a limited selection of relatively small non-native and non-shade trees. Additionally, the Streetscape Masterplan shows an abundance of the grossly overused fan palm, sparing only La Mesa Boulevard between Acacia and 4th, and a few other blocks. [Read more…] about Who Hijacked La Mesa’s Trees?
With the demise of redevelopment in California, some cities are looking for creative ways to stay solvent. One idea is to leverage New Market Tax Credits (NMTC) to buy properties and become landlords. This acquisition fund concept was recently adopted by Civic San Diego (CivicSD), a nonprofit corporation that is a consultant to the city of San Diego on the wind-down of redevelopment. [Read more…] about Beware of Wall Street Schemes on Redevelopment
July 16, 2014, 10:00 am, ULI Webinar on Tax-Exempt Infrastructure Financing
July 16, 2014, 1-3pm · Save Our Heritage Organisation – San Diego’s 245th Birthday at Whaley House
July 20, 2014, 10:30am · Bankers Hill Walking Tour
July 18, 2014, 9:00 am, Make Your Point Using Your Authentic Voice – A Workshop for Professional Women in Real Estate
July 23, 2014 6:00 pm, The Young Leaders Present: What Do Millennials Really Want?
July 24, 2014 7:00 am, Green Space and Connections: Will Coordinated Strategies Link San Diego’s Bays?
(Organizations tracked: ULI, AIA, SOHO, SDAF, C-3, FSDA, New School of Architecture, Woodbury School of Architecture)
Interesting gas, fire, and water utility forms encountered walking from B St. to the Imperial Ave Trolley Station in downtown San Diego the other day . . . [click on any photo for slideshow]
These days, a lot of projects are crashing through the gates of community plans and dashing existing neighborhood character under the banners of smart growth or transit oriented development. [Read more…] about 10 Rules for Smarter Smart Growth