Prioritizing Surplus Government Land for Affordable Housing

On July 9, 2018 the Sacramento Housing Alliance and the Environmental Council of Sacramento submitted a letter to the Mayor of the City of Sacramento for the purpose of making inquiries into the adherence to the surplus land statute.

Here is an excerpt from the letter. Click here to read the full letter (PDF).


Dear Mayor Darrell Steinberg,

The Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) and Sacramento Housing Alliance (SHA) are writing to inquire as to the City of Sacramento’s efforts to fully comply with the Surplus Land Statute, as amended by AB 2135 (Ting, Statutes of 2014)1, which requires prioritizing surplus government land for affordable housing. In short, the law requires all public agencies to offer surplus land to “housing sponsors” – that is, affordable housing developers –provided said developers have written and requested to be notified, and, should those sponsors express interest, enter into good faith negotiations for 90 days (Gov. Code, §§ 54222, 54223). Only if a compromise cannot be reached can the city sell it on the open market. We are proud to see that as our representative in the California State Senate, you voted in favor of AB 2135, which added important changes to the Surplus Land Act in 2014.

We are prompted to offer this reminder of the Surplus Land Act because of concerning trends in the sale of city properties. Reviewing recent sales of seven city owned lots, only one was sold to an affordable housing non-profit (City of Refuge, who plans to build a homeless shelter for women and children on the land). The other six were sold to for-profit entities. Most alarming is the case of 4722 9th Ave and 4601-4625 10th Ave, where the city rejected a proposal to build 130-195 affordable rental units in favor of market rate apartments.

… (continued)


Again, click here to read the full letter (PDF).

Share this

Evening Hours on Light Rail Gold Line Extended!

June 14, 2018

A win for the Sacramento region! 

While light rail trains on the Gold Line previously stopped running before 7:00 pm, they will now run until 11:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 9:30 p.m. on Sunday!

How did this come to be?

Ten years ago, ECOS brought a lawsuit against Caltrans when it proposed adding lanes to Highway 50 to create High Occupancy Vehicle (“HOV”) lanes. Since these lanes are only restricted to High Occupancy Vehicles during certain hours, adding new lanes for this purpose is essentially just a widening of the freeway.

Freeway-widening induces urban sprawl, increases Vehicle Miles Traveled, increase greenhouse gas emissions and does not reduce traffic congestion after all.

That lawsuit was settled in 2008 when Caltrans agreed to pay $7.5 million to SacRT for improved light rail service between Folsom and Sacramento, along the Highway 50 corridor.

In 2017, Caltrans again proposed to create HOV lanes by adding more lanes to Highway 50 without adequately dealing with induced demand for sprawl development and additional miles traveled. Again, ECOS sued.

ECOS met with SacRT to determine what funding from settlement of this lawsuit would help public transit the most along this section of Highway 50, and it was determined that expanding light rail service past 7:00pm would be best, so Caltrans settled by agreeing to provide funding for that purpose.

At ECOS, reducing vehicle trips is an essential part of our work, and new service like this goes a long way toward helping us reach our goals. This project will open up car-free options to many people, as trips that were only possible in a vehicle are now possible via public transit. We are proud to be a part of this effort.

Share this

Some Like It Dark: Light Pollution And Salmon Survival

June 4, 2018

FISHBIO

The interaction between light pollution and predation could deal a heavy blow to species already struggling to survive. Bridges, in particular, often have lighting that shines into rivers at night, and attraction to these stationary lights can stop juvenile fish in their tracks as they migrate downstream, making them vulnerable to predators. Fish also frequently migrate and feed at night to hide from predators in the darkness, and bright lights shining on the water eliminate their protective cover. In rivers where salmon spawn, juvenile salmon can be especially impacted by bright nighttime lights or reflections on the surface of the water because predation is a major contributing factor to the high mortality of juvenile salmon. Light pollution from the iconic Sundial Bridge in Redding, California (shown above), was a suspected factor that contributed to the near loss of Sacramento River fall-run Chinook salmon from 2011–2013.

Click here to read the full article.

Share this