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Proposed California Law to Ensure Local Input Into Downtown Planning

California lawmakers have approved a bill that establishes oversight of elected officials over planning decisions of development corporations, such as that in downtown San Diego.
September 14, 2015, 7am PDT | melaniecj
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Noted urban planner Jane Jacobs once wrote that "downtown is for the people" in response to redevelopment driven more by politics and economics than the wants of residents living in cities.

However, decades after she made the proclamation, urban areas continue to be shaped with little input from community members who call these places home, writes Murtaza H. Baxamusa, a San Diego-based urban planner.

Baxamusa points to the revival of redevelopment in downtown San Diego that is under the direction of Civic San Diego, and the way the successor to the Centre City Development Corporation is making decisions with virtually no input from the City Council or other stakeholders in the community. That lack of input has enabled developers to get away with what they want and has prompted lawmakers to challenge the agreement to delegate land-use authority to CivicSD/CCDD, he adds.

Lawmakers, led by Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez, have sent a bill to the governor’s desk that if signed, would give elected officials oversight over decisions planning nonprofits such as CivicSD/CCDD

Therefore, state lawmakers led by Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez have sent to the Governor’s desk a law (Assembly Bill 504) that establishes oversight of elected officials over decisions of a planning nonprofit such as CivicSD/CCDC.

The hope is to return downtown to the people, he writes.

"The bill allows the approval of large projects over 25 thousand square feet, or 50 hotel rooms, or dwelling units, to be appealed to an elected body, such as the City Council. Councilmembers representing impacted neighborhoods, as well as many local groups focused on good government and community health and economic well-being have welcomed this opportunity to ensure the city is on sound legal footing and that the public is provided with a reasonable opportunity to have a voice on these decisions with the people they elected to represent their communities."

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Published on Wednesday, September 9, 2015 in UrbDeZine
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