January 6, 2012
By Thadeus Greenson // The Eureka City Council took a step Tuesday toward creating more affordable housing in town. The council voted unanimously -- with Councilwoman Marian Brady recusing herself -- to approve a pair of items aimed at making it easier for homeowners to build secondary dwelling units on their properties. The council's hope -- laid out during its strategic visioning sessions last year -- is that building more of the units would add to the city's stock of affordable housing.
LAND USE / PLANNING / REGULATION
By Peter Jensen // With lawmakers back in Sacramento, Napa County officials want resolution on two issues left over from last year: safety at Napa State Hospital and the county’s affordable housing requirements.
MORTGAGE & FORECLOSURE ISSUES
By Frank Wallis // Bankers, a building materials vendor and a homebuilder agree that consumer confidence is the missing driver in the market for new and previously owned single-family dwellings. "I don't know who's going to inspire us, what's going to snap us out of it," said Bob Wedgeworth, a partner in Marchant Building and Contractor Center of Mountain Home. "People are afraid to build. They're afraid to retire. They're cutting expenses and paying down debt.
The Department of Housing and Community Development announced awards Thursday totaling $6.6 million to support homeless assistance programs throughout California. The Whittier Area First Day Coalition, which has 45 spaces, is among the recipients and will receive $132,000.
The North Coast Veterans Resource Center (NCVRC) has announced the start of a new housing assistance program for eligible veterans. The Veterans Housing Assistance Program (VHAP) provides case management and financial assistance to veterans and their families to promote housing stability.
By Peter Calthorpe // In 1956, the Federal Highway Act steered the American Dream away from small towns, streetcar suburbs and central cities toward today's auto suburb. It fit the time, shaped our communities, generated economic growth and changed our identity. Today, our country desperately needs new infrastructure development that will create jobs and economic growth while updating the American Dream and ensuring its environmental future.
REDEVELOPMENT / INFILL / REVITALIZATION
By Melanie C. Johnson // With its major projects completed, Walnut is faring better than other cities following a recent court ruling that disbands redevelopment agencies. The city used redevelopment funds to pay for the $3.5 million completion of Meadowpass Road last year. Other projects built with the help of redevelopment money included the Senior Center, City Hall, and senior housing projects.
By Ian Bauer – Milpitas Post // By Feb. 1, the Milpitas Redevelopment Agency, which for decades was used to fight blight in neighborhoods and foster affordable housing developments throughout town, will no longer exist. … Milpitas City Council received a report Tuesday on the options the city could take to preserve redevelopment assets it still has in what will likely be a series of actions taken by city officials over coming months.
By Wyatt Buchanan & Marisa Lagos // … Lawmakers will also have to decide whether to re-establish redevelopment agencies, whose abolishment was upheld last week by the state Supreme Court. It's not clear whether redevelopment supporters, who are pushing for lawmakers to create a replacement program, will have the support in the Legislature to do so. Pérez said the California Redevelopment Association and League of California Cities, which sued the state over the abolishment and lost, made things "very difficult".
By Karina Ioffee // … Some $3 million of that money goes to housing, a part of which is used to subsidize new development. But a part was also used to fund crucial housing programs like the Mary Isaak homeless shelter, Salvation Army’s transitional housing program and Petaluma People Services Center’s homeless prevention and fair housing programs, as well as Meals on Wheels. Now all of these programs face a loss of funding following the California Supreme Court’s ruling to abolish them starting Jan. 1, 2012.
By Chip Johnson, Chronicle Columnist // There is a dire need to slash spending in California, a state with consecutive multibillion-dollar budget shortfalls, but cutting funds for affordable housing projects does more harm than good.
ENVIRONMENT / CLIMATE CHANGE
MORTGAGE ORB: New California law prohibits smoking in multifamily housing
Residents of California's multifamily housing units may no longer smoke in the comfort of their homes. The Sacramento Bee reports that a new state law went into effect on Jan. 1 that gives landlords the right to prohibit smoking within their properties. The law requires landlords to use their lease and rental agreements to clearly specify prohibitions on smoking.