Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 18, 2021

Overlay

Filed under: Alameda — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

HCD has some great maps with overlays that are designed to help cities like our understand our demographics better so when it’s time to start planning those Housing Element and affirmatively furthering fair housing we know what metrics to use. Here’s the map for you to play around with but I also screen grabbed a few that I found interesting and notable.

Majority White and Asian tracts, there are no tracts in Alameda with a majority of Black or Latino families:

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June 14, 2021

Dispersed throughout the community

Filed under: Alameda — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:04 am

Yes I know I’ve written about affirmatively furthering fair housing and how that’s going to shape how Alameda plans to meet the RHNA numbers and getting our Housing Element certified but I’ve found that it typically takes repetition and reminding before people “get” a complex topic. Particularly a topic that they really, really don’t want to understand.

The passage of AB 686 created some new rules for Housing Elements moving forward, specifically it’s relevant for this upcoming cycle so if someone wants to complain that we haven’t had to do that in the past, yes it’s true. But now these are the rules we are now working with.

Now what does “affirmatively furthering fair housing” mean? According to the state:

Under state law, affirmatively further fair housing means “taking meaningful actions, in addition to combatting discrimination, that overcome patterns of segregation and foster inclusive communities free from barriers that restrict access to opportunity based on protected characteristics.”

And to ensure that jurisdictions don’t just say “yes, we are affirmatively furthering fair housing” and then turn around and do nothing they actually need to create a full program on how they are actually going to manage this:

Beginning January 1, 2019, all housing elements must now include a program that promotes and affirmatively furthers fair housing opportunities throughout the community for all persons regardless of race, religion, sex, marital status, ancestry, national origin, color, familial status, or disability, and other characteristics protected by the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Government Code Section 65008, and any other state and federal fair housing and planning law.


Additionally, all housing elements due on or after January 1, 2021, must contain an Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) consistent with the core elements of the analysis required by the federal Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Final Rule of July 16, 2015. [emphasis added]

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June 10, 2021

I love this song, part two

Filed under: Alameda — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:00 am

My favorite staff reports always center around: “hey this is what happens if we don’t comply with state law” probably because all of the keyboard warriors sending out breathless emails about how long they’ve lived in Alameda, how many generations back they go, and how much they love Alameda more than the next person never seem to be bothered by, you know, facts and stuff.

So what happens if Alameda decides to go the route of throwing up two middle fingers to the State of California and deciding we’re not going to do anything to meet our RHNA and abide by state housing laws. Well, a lot will happen, some which I’ve mentioned here previously but am always happy to go over again and again.

From the staff report they’ve identified a few key areas with more detail under each header:

  • Financial consequences (regional funding, grants, housing allocations, CDBG money, tax credits to build affordable housing)
  • Shorter Housing Element update cycles. Right now it’s every eight years, without an on-time Housing Element, these need to be done every four years
  • Fines. Lawsuits can be filed to fine Alameda for every state housing law it’s in violation of and this is a monthly fine until the Housing Element is brought into compliance.
  • Cost of litigation, paying for it and possibly having to pay the legal costs of the other side.
  • Loss of Local Land Use Control. Exactly what it sounds like, the city wouldn’t be able to make decisions on land use (commercial and housing and possibly your own small home improvement project as well) instead it would go to a judge who be the decider and is typically not swayed by NIMBY talking points.
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June 9, 2021

I love this song

Filed under: Alameda — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

Folks it’s not always easy to get excited about city meeting agendas but I legit yelped in delight when I saw what City staff had in store for the joint Planning Board and Historic Advisory Board meeting. This meeting is a continuation of the larger discussion around the General plan, our RHNA allocation, and Housing Element. I’ll tackle the General Plan update agenda item some other time, but this agenda item about the Housing Element update is where the real drama lies.

Staff boldly offers this resolution language for the PB and HAB to consider recommending to the City Council to adopt:

There’s a lot in this agenda item which should help people understand why this process is important but few will read it. I’ll highlight that section in another post but wanted to stay on this extraordinary text.

It’s been super difficult for a lot of folks who love A/26, or rather love the exclusion and exclusivity that it brings to certain neighbors, to comprehend the fact that keeping A/26 in our charter means that every seven years we need to make the choice to either violate state law or violate Alameda’s City Charter. So far, we’ve done the latter. This seems not to bother A/26 true believers because so far the neighborhoods which have been affected by this charter violation have not been their own so they can blithely go about forgetting that this charter violation is no biggie when the City Council must take steps to violate the charter.

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May 25, 2021

Four vote for units

Filed under: Alameda — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

I’m writing this before knowing that the Planning Board has recommended with regard to Encinal Terminals because regardless of what happens, this particular project is an important piece in Alameda meeting its RHNA requirements.

As a reminder from the January City Council meeting. This project will cover 400 units but requires four votes from City Council for approval because of the tidelands swap.

Unless you are a true believer in the NIMBY way of life, no one can look at this before and after map and honestly say the tidelands in the center of the project is a superior use of land:

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February 19, 2021

Cycles of change

Filed under: Alameda — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

Since we’re on the subject of Housing Elements I want to share three videos. The first is from the San Francisco Planning Department on the Housing Element process coming up. It’s short and I think really distills what all cities will need to be doing around this effort not just San Francisco. As I pointed out yesterday affirmatively furthering fair housing is really baked into this upcoming cycle and it’s important for Alameda to be aware that this is a state mandate and not some feel good gimmick:

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February 18, 2021

Further Fair Housing

Filed under: Alameda — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

Remember when the rep for the Housing and Community Development department came to a City Council meeting and talked about the “potentially perilous” issues that A/26 could face up against in light of new legislation and a beefed up enforcement arm? Yeah good times. But I wanted to highlight one of the things that I hadn’t heard of previously but definitely would put a few Alameda County cities in some hot water:

AB 686 (affirmatively furthering fair housing) which says that General Plans will need to analyze and action plans to combat housing discrimination. He also mentioned earlier that as part of AB686, HCD will look at how Alameda’s demographics compare with its surroundings and broader region and what has led to that and what meaningful actions Alameda will take to bring it in line with regional demographics.

Let’s first see what HCD’s guidance on what AB 686 would ask of these upcoming Housing Elements:

Beginning January 1, 2019, all housing elements must now include a program that promotes and affirmatively furthers fair housing opportunities throughout the community for all persons regardless of race, religion, sex, marital status, ancestry, national origin, color, familial status, or disability, and other characteristics protected by the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Government Code Section 65008, and any other state and federal fair housing and planning law.

Additionally, all housing elements due on or after January 1, 2021, must contain an Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) consistent with the core elements of the analysis required by the federal Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Final Rule of July 16, 2015.

But it’s not just good enough for Alameda to write something up that says “yes, we agree to affirmatively further fair housing.” No, this is going to be work:

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February 9, 2021

Too little

Filed under: Alameda — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

In a complete “I was not expecting this” move, California YIMBYs have filed a lawsuit against the State of California claiming they didn’t allocate enough housing in the upcoming RHNA cycle. From Local News Matters:

A San Francisco housing advocacy group named “Yes in My Back Yard” or YIMBY has filed a lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court asserting that the calculations the state used in projecting Bay Area housing needs for the next decade are flawed.

The mistake “severely” underestimates needed housing units, plaintiffs allege, and will interfere with local efforts to create zoning and land use plans that will accommodate sufficient units to meet the real need.

“If we win this lawsuit,” Ryan J. Patterson, counsel for plaintiffs said, “it could mean 138,000 additional homes for the Bay Area. People wouldn’t have to commute from Modesto to San Francisco just to have affordable housing. Greenhouse gas emissions would be significantly reduced. Californians would have more opportunities for jobs and more time to spend with their families.”

The Alameda hook other than the possibility of receiving more units from HCD to ABAG to Alameda, one of the named plaintiffs is an Alamedan:

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February 5, 2021

“Potentially perilous”

Filed under: Alameda — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

In the most puzzling vote I think I’ve ever seen — and I’ve watched a lot of votes and a lot of City meetings — at the conclusion of the Housing Element agenda item at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting there was a motion made by Vice Mayor Malia Vella to get guidance and clarity from the State of California Housing and Community Development Department. The last time Alameda had received advice on A/26 from HCD was in 2009. This was a recommendation from City Staff.

The motion was seconded by Councilmember John Knox White and both Trish Spencer and Tony Daysog voted against the motion.

Typically when you have policy makers making policy you really want them armed with as much information as possible to make fact-based decisions. But not these two City Councilmembers. No way. Getting advice from the state agency which is going to be determining if our Housing Element is in compliance? What for? And naturally, neither of them explain this inexplicable vote against GETTING INFORMATION.

Perhaps it was because the representative from HCD at the meeting that night said there were five issues in the statute that were “potentially perilous” with A/26. I mean we should have known that Tony Daysog, at least, preferred to be kept in the dark about possible pitfalls. His response to the HCD rep saying he could go into more detail if Tony Daysog wanted him to was a vigorous shake of the head saying, “that’s okay.”

But wait, those the five “potentially perilous” issues?

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February 1, 2021

With this one neat trick

Filed under: Alameda — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

The Encinal Terminals team is smart. Last week they sent out emails regarding tomorrow’s City Council meeting and the overall discussion on the Housing Element. (RELEASE THE CONFIDENTIAL MEMO REGARDING A/26!!!) They wanted to remind people, or just share to begin with for people not really paying much attention that all they want is an itty bitty little Tidelands swap.

Multi-family housing overlay? Done.

Mixed use zoning? Done.

More units? Nope.

All they need is this Tideland Swap and, voila!, Alameda has a bunch of units it can count toward the RHNA requirement. Oh by the way, the final adoption for the RHNA was like last week? Time is meaningless right now. The eventual methodology added an equity adjustment which reduced Alameda’s allocation by 52 units. Atherton went up by 20 since I know that Alamedans love to compare itself to Atherton or whatever. But I digress.

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