As local regulators push for greater or total electricity independence, some daunting realities confront the dream of a San Francisco free of the nation’s largest electrical utility and some of the highest rates in the land.
Soon after becoming governor, Gavin Newsom unveiled a plan to speed housing construction — but at the expense of the landmark California Environmental Quality Act, which has acted as a check on development for 50 years. Newsom crafted his blueprint with input from builders and the largest construction union. Prominent environmental groups were excluded, however.
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.
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.
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.
The Bay Area’s current boom times represent a good news/bad news story. From Dogpatch to San Mateo to Alameda, bayside property is especially desirable — but increasingly complicated.
Across California, policymakers and urban planners at every level of government are struggling with how to respond to new computer models that show massive ice sheets in Antarctica on the brink of collapse.
Two years ago, the California Supreme Court overturned decades of land-use law by upholding lower court rulings that cities could no longer require developers to take into account the effects of climate change on their projects. That decision has unsettled public officials and planners, and critics say it will allow real estate interests to saddle taxpayers with a gigantic bill to defend against rising seas.
Invoking recent court decisions, developers are pushing back on the ability of Bay Area cities to use the California Environmental Quality Act to regulate waterfront development and protect residents from rising sea levels
A city-commissioned environmental study that detailed how the Mission Bay neighborhood would be inundated by rising seas in coming decades went unpublished for more than a year while two showcase waterfront developments won key approvals from city officials and voters, a Public Press review of records shows.