climate change

State Looking to Require Cities to Plan for Rising Seas

Kevin Stark, San Francisco Public Press — Mar 19 2018 - 8:00am

California officials are taking their first, tentative steps toward requiring cities to plan for severe sea level rise that scientists now say could conceivably elevate high tides by up to 22 feet by the middle of the next century. A state-funded study recommends that local planners adopt a risk-averse approach to permitting developments such as hospitals and housing in areas that have even little chance of flooding in the coming decades.

Critics See Environmental Threats in State Rule Changes That Speed Housing

Kevin Stark, San Francisco Public Press — Nov 8 2017 - 9:00am

Some environmental advocates say long-standing state rules governing soil pollution, traffic congestion and flood control will be weakened by legislation pushed by Democratic lawmakers from San Francisco and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown that will  “streamline” land-use regulations to speed housing construction.

California’s Push for Affordable Housing Could Weaken Environmental Law

Kevin Stark, San Francisco Public Press — Jul 25 2017 - 4:11pm

The Legislature’s efforts to ease the housing-affordability crisis could chip away at longstanding protections in the state’s landmark environmental law. Two such bills were introduced by San Francisco lawmakers.

Mapping the Shoreline Building Boom as Seas Rise

Kevin Stark and Mary Catherine O'Connor, San Francisco Public Press — Apr 21 2017 - 5:36pm

A 2015 analysis by the Public Press found that Bay Area builders were investing more than $21 billion in 27 large waterfront projects at less than 8 feet above high tide. That elevation could see occasional flooding by the end of this century. Since then, developers have crafted plans for another eight large-scale commercial and residential construction projects in that zone. Though not all amounts are yet known, we have tallied more than $1.8 billion in costs associated with buying land parcels and building these proposed projects.

Researchers: Abandon Neighborhoods, Avoid Flood Zone to Limit Sea Level Rise

Kevin Stark, San Francisco Public Press — Jan 30 2017 - 7:00am

The vision of a future San Francisco buttressed by dikes, levees and seawalls over coming decades is being overshadowed by an increasingly accepted alternative: moving away from the waterfront. Some experts argue that physical barriers offer only the illusion of protection and that cities should accept that some neighborhoods will need to be abandoned.

Silicon Valley Expansion Plans Risk Flooding From Rising Seas, State Planners Say

Kevin Stark, San Francisco Public Press — Apr 22 2016 - 5:39pm
Google, Facebook and others are building headquarters along the shoreline as scientists paint a grimmer picture for coastal development.

Major S.F. Bayfront Developments Advance Despite Sea Rise Warnings

Kevin Stark, Winifred Bird and Michael Stoll, San Francisco Public Press — Jul 29 2015 - 2:39pm

Builders plan to invest more than $21 billion in offices and homes in flood-prone areas, where waters could climb 8 feet above today’s high tide by the end of this century. Land-use records reveal that the building boom, fueled by a white-hot tech economy, is moving too fast for regulators to keep pace. (Cover story from the summer 2015 print edition)

Mission Bay Pioneers: Working and Living in a New Waterfront Neighborhood

Tanya Dzekon, Caroline Cakebread and Sophie Murguia, San Francisco Public Press — Jul 29 2015 - 2:31pm

As cranes and bulldozers continue their work to build Mission Bay, residents and workers say they love the new waterfront area. Few say they have any knowledge of, nor are they much concerned about, the long­-term flooding risk.

Four Ways to Guard Against Sea Level Rise

Winifred Bird, San Francisco Public Press — Jul 29 2015 - 2:30pm

Water brings both life and risk to the shoreline, so seaside residents have long built barriers, canals and other protections to guard against storms and floods. Now sea level rise is adding an extra challenge.

Bay Area Governments Study Sea Level Rise, but Few Set Limits on Development

Emily Dugdale, San Francisco Public Press — Jul 29 2015 - 2:29pm

The San Francisco Public Press surveyed 13 Bay Area cities and counties where building projects are planned in waterfront areas vulnerable to sea level rise. While most are studying the issue, few have passed new regulations to limit growth or require developers to flood­proof their properties.

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