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Old 04-20-2014, 04:03 PM
 
4,023 posts, read 3,281,928 times
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Smart growth in California? Where? That's news to me. As someone born and raised it is one of the most sprawled out, car-centric places I can think of. Last time I checked little has changed. If people are fleeing the state, it has little to do with 'smart growth' whatever that means because there isn't any or at least none on any notable scale. As for myself I left the state because of the sprawl not the lack of it and all the problems sprawl entails (overpopulation, horrible traffic congestion, lack of transportation options, high cost of living, etc). I suspect that's one of the underlying reasons for many others who have left the state as well.
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Old 04-21-2014, 02:31 AM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
2,960 posts, read 3,843,677 times
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Smart growth in California would involve bulldozing every suburb down. As it is, Southern California has an expiration date given the inevitable fate of running out of water. Wonder where all those suburbanites will flee to once they can't afford to water their precious lawns?
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Old 04-24-2014, 09:16 AM
 
8,328 posts, read 14,615,354 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GatsbyGatz View Post
Smart growth in California would involve bulldozing every suburb down. As it is, Southern California has an expiration date given the inevitable fate of running out of water. Wonder where all those suburbanites will flee to once they can't afford to water their precious lawns?
Why would smart growth in California involve bulldozing every suburb? That doesn't seem necessary or even practical. Are there alternatives other than either continuing to water a suburban lawn or fleeing California?
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Old 04-24-2014, 02:33 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,371 posts, read 26,411,901 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GatsbyGatz View Post
Wonder where all those suburbanites will flee to once they can't afford to water their precious lawns?
Texas?

Suburban California always seemed okay to me.


The Secret World of Alex Mack - YouTube
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Old 04-24-2014, 04:28 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,170 posts, read 29,831,016 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
Texas?

Suburban California always seemed okay to me.


The Secret World of Alex Mack - YouTube
Wow! Flashback!

Suburban CA is OK. The problem is, the burbs that are close to work are really pricy. And the further out burbs put you in terrible congestion. And you absolutely need to be in a wealthy burb if you are looking for decent schools.

If there was more "smart growth" more people could actually live near work. But CAs property tax law incentivizes keeping the supply low in your neighborhood once you have moved in. So you can cash out.

Property tax in CA is set at the price you paid for your home (with minor adjustments here and there.) So if you bought a house in let's say Mountain View in the mid 90s for $200K and now it is work $1.5M, you only need to pay taxes at that $200k rate.

This really long and well researched article explains really well why housing is so screwed up in the Bay Area.
How Burrowing Owls Lead To Vomiting Anarchists (Or SF’s Housing Crisis Explained) | TechCrunch

Some good quotes:

Quote:
Homeowners have a strong economic incentive to restrict supply because it supports price appreciation of their own homes. It’s understandable. Many of them have put the bulk of their net worth into their homes and they don’t want to lose that. So they engage in NIMBYism under the name of preservationism or environmentalism, even though denying in-fill development here creates pressures for sprawl elsewhere. They do this through hundreds of politically powerful neighborhood groups throughout San Francisco like the Telegraph Hill Dwellers.
...

Many communities add 2, 3, 4, 5X more housing units than jobs
Quote:
Mountain View is discussing new office development that would bring as many as 42,550 office workers to the city. But the city’s zoning plan only allows for a maximum of 7,000 new homes by 2030.
...

People want to live close to as many jobs as possible since you could choose or be forced into a job shift at any time, making the appeal of many suburbs and exburbs limited
Quote:
The concept of lifetime employment also faded. Today, San Francisco’s younger workers derive their job security not from any single employer but instead from a large network of weak ties that lasts from one company to the next. The density of cities favors this job-hopping behavior more than the relative isolation of suburbia.
...

SF is notoriously anti-development for environmental, anti-gentrification and preservationist reasons. Nothing is wrong with this per se, but it has a huge side effect on supply and demand.
Quote:
.... these movements for preserving so much of the land surrounding San Francisco and the city’s beautiful Victorians, one side effect is that the city has added an average of 1,500 units per year for the last 20 years. Meanwhile, the U.S. Census estimates that the city’s population grew by 32,000 people from 2010 to 2013 alone.
...

Any Tom, Dick or Jane can block your project (if you are a developer) and getting approval is very very hard
Quote:
for new housing developments in San Francisco, there’s a preliminary review, which takes six months.

Then there are also chances for your neighbors to appeal your permit on either an entitlement or environmental basis. The city also requires extensive public notice of proposed projects even if they already meet neighborhood plans, which have taken several years of deliberation to produce. Neighbors can appeal your project for something as insignificant as the shade of paint, although the city’s planning department and commission tries to get through minor appeals quickly.

If those fail, neighborhood groups can also file a CEQA or environmental lawsuit under California state law, challenging the environment impact of the project. Perversely, CEQA lawsuits have been used to challenge a city plan to add 34 miles of bike lanes.

Then if that fails, opponents can put a development directly on a citywide ballot with enough signatures. (Thanks, Hiram Johnson?) That’s what happened with the controversial 8 Washington luxury condo project last November even though it had already gone through eight years of deliberation.

These barriers add unpredictable costs and years of delays for every developer, which are ultimately passed onto buyers and renters. It also means that developers have problems attracting capital financing in weaker economic years because of the political uncertainty around getting a project passed.
Anyway this is a great read. And really people are leaving CA because it is super expensive due to lack of supply and crazy policies.
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Old 04-24-2014, 06:41 PM
 
8,328 posts, read 14,615,354 times
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I am generally skeptical of articles that claim that any other sort of motivation, like environmentalism, historic preservation, or resistance to gentrification, is automatically just a cover for NIMBYism. It perpetuates a stereotype that people in a neighborhood are automatically scheming, conniving liars if they oppose any sort of development for any reason. And they also get accused of NIMBYism for accusing a developer of greed or self-interest. It's a no-win scenario, especially for residents of neighborhoods that are not wealthy. They can't afford expensive appeals, don't have time to attend tons of board and commission meetings, or even more expensive CEQA lawsuits.

I'm sure some people are leaving California--but as a whole, the state is still growing.

Interesting, though--I didn't realize San Francisco was surrounded by land! Last time I was there, there was water on three sides...
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Old 04-24-2014, 07:07 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,170 posts, read 29,831,016 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
I am generally skeptical of articles that claim that any other sort of motivation, like environmentalism, historic preservation, or resistance to gentrification, is automatically just a cover for NIMBYism. It perpetuates a stereotype that people in a neighborhood are automatically scheming, conniving liars if they oppose any sort of development for any reason. And they also get accused of NIMBYism for accusing a developer of greed or self-interest. It's a no-win scenario, especially for residents of neighborhoods that are not wealthy. They can't afford expensive appeals, don't have time to attend tons of board and commission meetings, or even more expensive CEQA lawsuits.

I'm sure some people are leaving California--but as a whole, the state is still growing.

Interesting, though--I didn't realize San Francisco was surrounded by land! Last time I was there, there was water on three sides...
Well there as a recent project in SF that faced all sorts of illogical hurdles. Let me see if I can find an article on it. Basically, there is really no "bad" in the is project. Basically a site that was an abandoned gas station for like 10 years (maybe more), and there was a proposed 15 unit development on it (with no parking). 4 units were going to be deemed affordable. Well between CEQ, Nimbyism, traffic concerns and lots of other nonsense. (FYI it is in a neighborhood with really high transit and biking usage an no more than2 blocks from BART and a million bus lines and bike lanes). Also, apparently the project was also too high.

So they ended up hainv to shrink the project, the approved one only has 9 units. And since it is under 10 units, no affordable housing is required. Oh and to really stab you in the eye, the originally proposed building was the same height as the ones across the street on all sides, it wasn't remotely out of scale.

And this all took like 6 years to resolve.



SF isn't surrounded by land, but there are lots of empty lots ideal for infill development where any person can block useful projects. There are lots in downtown SF or SOMA that have been empty as long as I can remember (let's call that 15 years).

This is not an SF only problem.

Berkeley just blocked a Starbucks due to "traffic" concerns. Meanwhile this retail storefront has been empty for 5 years. IT was because the owners of the mediocre indie coffee shop on the next block that chains would be bad for the neighborhood. That coffee shop has 3 adjacent empty storefronts, on the same block that have been empty for 4 years. It is also across the street from the Whole Foods where Delroy Lindo was charged with assault for a fight over parking spots. No one objected to that chain opening in the neighborhood.

There is a lot 3 blocks from the Cal campus that has been empty for 25 years and causing blight because some people keeping blocking all development plans. On that same street, up and down all the way to the Oakland line, there are at least half a dozen empty lots, that have been empty for at least 10 years, screaming for infill development and languishing.

I won't even start complaining about the other perfect lots in Oakland that have the same fate.

Palo Alto businesses just blocked an ordinance to expand the sidewalks on a busy arterial because "no one wants to walk on that street." Meanwhile the bus service on that street has seen ridership increase 20% year over year and they had to expand the frequency (it is also along a proposed BRT route). In a part of the region where non-car commutes account for less than 5% of all rides.

It is a big disaster from all angles and really multifaceted why more stuff doesn't get built in see mining logical places. I am no gentrification cheerleader, but many of the problems we have are because it is easy to to block projects, and people on all sides of the table have a reason to not approve projects.
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Old 04-25-2014, 12:19 PM
 
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Its more a consequence of boomers said to make up 26% of population coming to retirement for next two decades. Its ahuge shift and want can read what they are seeking in retirement forum. one of the largest shifts ever within US not driven from outside. Then consider the shift they bring with them in wealth and needed services that means other moving.
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