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Archive for the ‘Development’ Category

Happy New Year, You’re the Bane of the World’s Existence

The Center for Biological Depravity…er, Diversity, announced its top 11 priorities for bringing the U.S. economy to a halt in 2011.  It was going to go with 12, but making sure Jerry Brown appointed an ultra-enviro to head California’s Resources Agency has already been crossed off the list.

As you’d imagine, this year’s agenda is filled with plans to protect a whole slew of species from various man-made dangers.  If you’re a wolf or a bluefin tuna, this just might be your year.  Humans…not so much.  After taking baby steps last year, the Center hid in the middle of its list a rather Maoist priority to “Challenge the Overpopulation Paradigm.”  That’s right Joe Citizen, you and your 2.3 adorable kids (and their future kids) now have big fat target on your back.  As if an economic meltdown and global terrorism weren’t enough.

We’ll continue to encourage other groups to tackle overpopulation this year. We’ll distribute hundreds of thousands of condoms and ramp up the overpopulation dialogue through high-profile projects, including a study on the connection between overpopulation and diminishing water supplies in the Lower Colorado River Basin, the Center’s unique newsletter, Pop X, and targeted actions to Congress.

We’ll be interested to see their study on the Colorado River, which is facing challenges.  But that’s more so from several years of drought than too many newborns from too many “What Happens in Vegas…” nights.

Maybe the Center is grabbing for headlines to boost its coffers.  Maybe it’s tired of fighting on the environmental front lines and has chosen to try the back door.  Maybe it just doesn’t care for chubby babies with good short games.  Maybe all of the above.

Either way, it’s time to come to grips with the fact that you and your family are the bane of the world’s existence.  Happy New Year!

Read the rest of the Center’s 2011 priorities here.

Judicial Whippings and Delta Pumps

Judge Oliver Wanger today dropped a bomb on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and its supporters in the environmental movement by ruling that the Service’s efforts to protect the delta smelt by cutting off water supplies to folks and farmers from San Jose to San Diego lacked scientific justification.  In a 225-page decision issued late this afternoon, Wanger threw out the biological opinion (“BiOp”) written by the Service, and used by the Service to severely limit pumping of Sacramento-San Joaquin delta water to thirsty users to the south.

“[T]he public cannot afford sloppy science and uni-directional prescriptions that ignore California’s water needs,” Wanger wrote, as he endorsed some of the Service’s science as just fine, but called other elements “arbitrary and capricious,” that it “represents a failure to use the best available science,” and that the Service failed to address or explain “material bias” in the data.  He also said these mistakes “fatally taint” other scientific findings used by the Service to cut water deliveries.

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The Land Big Three: Nothing but the truth so help me CARB

What were the three biggest late-breaking California water stories?  Well, the news-heads and policy wonks here at Laer Pearce & Associates have compiled them for you here.  You’ll find the Big Three here, or you can follow LPALand on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news and analysis. You can also sign up to receive the Big 3 via email here.  This edition:

CARB Sets a Standard It Can’t Meet

The California Air Resources Board apparently didn’t read the First Amendment before it decided to propose a regulation prohibiting false statements made to its board or staff.  Now we don’t condone lying, but if enacted, the new policy would have CARB deciding what’s true and what’s not.  Scofflaws could face various “penalties” to be named later…by CARB.  And as we’ve seen with CARB’s recent use of phony data and resumes to push its agenda, any dissenting opinion may be fair game for this new carbon-clouded truth Gestapo.

CARB’s public notice on the proposed regulation

Read Laer’s Cal Watchdog op-ed on the policy

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BIA honors Laer for commitment to the building industry

Laer was awarded the Gwen Rosebeary Award by the Building Industry Association, Orange County Chapter (BIA/OC) at its 44th annual Installation Dinner on November 6th.  The annual award is given to an individual who has demonstrated a long-term commitment and outstanding dedication to BIA/OC.

Following more than 25 years of service to the local chapter, including a decade on its Executive Committee, Laer was named a lifetime member of its board of directors last year.  He also currently serves as the Vice President/Public Affairs for BIA Southern California and has helped both organizations weather several crises, deal effectively with regulatory challenges, and communicate their messages to BIA members and the public.

The LP&A family helped to keep the award a closely guarded secret from Laer until the time his name was announced at the dinner.  They worked together to collect old (and embarrassing) photos of Laer and humorous antidotes for outgoing BIA/OC President Dave Bartlett of Taylor Woodrow to share with the audience.

Laer to start second year as Builder News columnist

The national homebuilding magazine Builder News has again picked up Laer as a columnist for 2011, following the successful debut of his business column in 2010. His columns will appear in the February, April, June, August, October and December issues and cover regulation, communications and public affairs topics that affect the building and development industries.

Laer’s more than 25 years of experience helping home builders navigate the entitlement process in California has made him an expert on how to get projects approved in California.  His column aims to help home builders across the nation better understand the regulatory environment.

“California is the master of over-regulating industry, and there is no industry they like to regulate more than the building industry.  The news we share with Builder News about what happens here is a warning sign to the rest of the nation, so they can prepare.”

Laer’s Builder News articles from 2010 are linked below.  We will share the new articles with you as they are published, or you can subscribe to receive Builder News personally.  Click on the images below for full-size views.

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Prop 26 – A New Way To Stop Projects?

Given how deft Sacramento is at hiding taxes as fees in order to avoid the mandatory two-thirds vote for taxes, who didn’t vote for Prop 26, so fees will also be subject to a two-thirds vote?  Well, actually 4.3 million Californians didn’t, by current count. Fortunately for wallet-watchers, 4.7 million voted yes.

But California is nothing if not the Land of Unintended Consequences.  Now it looks like Prop 26 could be a nifty new way for state regulatory boards like the California Coastal Commission or a Regional Water Quality Control Board, which are subject to its provisions, to delay new development projects.

Development fees are not subject to Prop 26, so if a new project is dinged a nice little bucket of cash to improve signals at some intersections it’s impacting, no special vote  is required.  That’s fine – the authors of the California Chamber-sponsored proposition anticipated that, and wrote the measure to protect developers.

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Land Weekly 3: Friendlier or Snippier Times Ahead?

What were the three biggest California water stories of the past seven days?  Well, the news-heads and policy wonks here at Laer Pearce & Associates have compiled them for you here.  You’ll find the Big Three here every Thursday, or you can follow LPALand on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news and analysis. You can also sign up to receive the Weekly 3 via email here.  This week:

Friendlier Feds, Snippier State Regulators?

According to political insiders – and pretty much anybody who’s ever dealt with an appointed regulatory body – having more Republicans in office generally is good news for permit-seekers in the housing industry.  So the outcome of last week’s election should bring some hopey, changey prospects in the short-term nationwide, as the GOP takes over key committee posts in the House and a slew of new Republican governors take office.  Here in California, it’s a whole different story.  Tuesday meant at least four more years of Jerry Brown, whose agenda will be topped, said CalWatchdog’s Steven Greenhut at a recent luncheon, by environmental issues and slowing (or stopping!) new development.  That’s not exactly change we can believe in.

Read the Real Estate Channel‘s take on the GOP win

Read MSNBC’s take

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Local Land-Use Matters Split November Ballot

The San Diego Union Tribune identified 17 key local land-use matters before California voters on Tuesday.  After all the votes were cast, nine resulted in positive news for the building industry, while eight weren’t so great.  See the rundown below.

Merced County Measure C: Voter Confirmation of Zoning Changes - Failed

Considered a slow growth initiative and known originally as the “Save Farmland Initiative,” Measure C would amend the county’s general plan to require voter approval whenever ten or more acres would be converted from agricultural or open space to residential use.

Yes 43.84%

No 56.16%

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Land Weekly 3: New Lawns, New Species, New Priorities

What were the three biggest California land development stories of the past seven days?  Well, the news-heads and policy wonks here at Laer Pearce & Associates have compiled them for you here.  You’ll find the Big Three here, or you can follow LPALand on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news and analysis.  You can also sign up to receive the Weekly 3 via email here.  This week:

Raking of Muck Slows Raking of New Lawns

Political wonks like the crew at LP&A love the craziness and drama that comes with election season.  But it turns out that homebuyers just might not be so keen on it.  According to Shea Homes CEO Bert Silva, political attack ads “just don’t put people in the mood to buy a new home.”  Our fingers are cautiously crossed that today’s political battles will bring the beginnings of a path toward less regulation and greater economic certainty come November 3, and that should surely put those weary homebuyers  – and homebuilders – in better spirits.

Read The Orange County Register article here

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LP&A Land Weekly 3: Reaching, Reaching, Reaching

What were the three biggest California land development stories of the past seven days?  Well, the news-heads and policy wonks here at Laer Pearce & Associates have compiled them for you here.  You’ll find the Big Three here, or you can follow LPALand on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news and analysis.  You can also sign up to receive the Weekly 3 via email here.  This week:

CARB Officials Reach for Their Sunglasses

It may not exactly be “Morning in America” just yet, but the sun is beginning to shine through the obfuscating clouds in Sacramento.  A new law signed this week by Governor Schwarzenegger requires the California Air Resources Control Board to – get this – actually explain to businesses why they’re being fined.  According to the bill’s author, “there was nothing that held CARB accountable in how the penalties were determined or the reason for the violation.”  That was a necessary first step.  Now it’s time to address the burdensome laws CARB will be more transparently enforcing.

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