Clarity Blog

Clarity Blog

Posts Tagged ‘NIMBY’

Brown Takes on Greens over (Some) Anti-Growth Litigation

Governor Brown almost sounded like a frustrated land developer earlier today when he talked about the impact litigation by environmental activists has on projects that are essential to meeting California’s demographic growth and protecting its frail economy.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t talking about the ecos’ endless legal challenges to new housing developments.

From the Sacramento Bee:

“In Oakland, I learned that some kind of opposition you have to crush,” Brown, the city’s former mayor, said at a renewable energy conference in Los Angeles.  “Talk a little bit, but at the end of the day you have to move forward, and California needs to move forward with our renewable energy.”

Brown said his office will “act to overcome the opposition,” helping projects overcome permitting and environmental challenges. The Democratic governor announced Friday that he had filed a legal brief urging a federal judge to deny litigation seeking to block a solar energy project in the Mojave Desert.

Yes, the governor is willing to “crush” the very environmentalists who were his strong supporters in the 2010 election – but only as long as it’s over government-subsidized alternative energy schemes. Providing housing for Californians? Rebooting the failed economy? Putting thousands back to work? That’s apparently not worth fighting for.

We’re not sure what we feel about government “crushing” environmental litigators. Having seen them slow so many very well-planned new home communities, driving up costs for consumers and driving down profits for businesses in the process, we confess we’re a bit tickled by the idea.

But two things bother us:  First, we can’t deny we’re sticklers for due process and are more than a little concerned when government gets heavy-handed and agenda-driven.  And second, we’d like to see an acknowledgment that useless litigation is just as bad when it’s used as a tool against home builders and, ultimately, home buyers.

The Nuttiest of NIMBYs

Just when you thought things couldn’t possibly get any worse for NIMBYs – the Not-In-My-Back-Yard activists who have plummeted in decision-makers’ perception from noble protectors of neighborhoods to crybabies wanting to win a big jackpot for their “hardship” – we came across this:

In their lawsuit, the homeowners say the project, which involves mixing soil and cement deep underground along the levee line, will be disruptive and could damage their homes and yards. They’re also concerned about noise from equipment that could approach 90 decibels, about as loud as a motorcycle.

Sounds like a run-of-the-mill NIMBY complaint, right?  But wait … these aren’t just any NIMBYs.  These are the folks who live along the 17th Street Canal in New Orleans – yes, that canal, the one famous for failing during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, leading to the destruction of entire neighborhoods.  And this is just the latest skirmish in a simmering battle between homeowners and the government that has spawned lawsuits, appeals and multiple court rulings.

The canal, by the way, was built about 100 years ago, long before any of these folks purchased homes alongside it.  At that time, they apparently thought it was a fine thing to have water cruising by their back yards at the level of their roofs.  But let’s not let that get in the way of them upping the decibel level of their whining.

The Weekly 3 Land: Red tape and NIMBYs galore

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:

Red Tape…Fuggedaboudit

It’s a rare day when California can learn something from the state of New Jersey.  We’ll take the California shore over Jersey’s version any day, but Californians should be paying attention to what New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is up to.  The state’s newly elected leader is proposing the merger or elimination of nearly 300 boards and commissions – including many inactive or defunct groups created years ago, and some that have never met at all.  Sacramento, are you listening?

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Weekly 3 Land Development: half full glasses and water retention basins

What are the three biggest stories each week in the world of California land development?  You’ll find them right here, or follow LP&A all week long on Twitter at @LPALand for up-to-the-minute news and analysis.  You can also sign up to receive the Weekly 3 via email here. This week:

Someone’s glass is half full.  Of what, we’re not sure.

If you’re like us, you’ve seen so many conflicting homebuilding forecasts in recent months that your head is spinning.  We know there are still many bears out there, but we wanted to share a recent report from CalPoly Pomona’s Real Estate Research Council, which gives us at least a glimmer of hope. The report anticipates that because of current dreary numbers, California homebuilding could rise as much as 246 percent in the next 18 months.  In an accompanying reader poll, 80 percent responded “What are they smoking?”

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The Weekly 3: Land Development

August 2, 2010

What are the three biggest stories each week in the world of California land development?  You’ll find them right here each Monday, or follow LP&A all week long on Twitter at @LPALand for up-to-the-minute news and analysis.  This week:

What could you do with this raw land?

1. Builders beginning to buy raw land with eye on market turnaround.

Standard Pacific CEO Ken Campbell made the news recently when he predicted a 2014 housing comeback and said he’s buying raw land in a big way.  That’s a sure sign the supply of already-approved lots is drying up … and it also means there will be a new wave of activism from the environmentalist/NIMBY cabal.  New legislation and policy have prioritized infill development and attempted to make greenfield development neighborhood non grata in California.  That will make entitlement a challenge … but one with great potential financial upsides for those who purchase wisely.

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