One common refrain among housing advocates and politicians is that high-rise construction is a solution to the problem of housing affordability. The causes of the problem, however, are principally prohibitions on urban fringe development of starter homes. Critics also note that high-rises in urban neighborhoods often replace older buildings, which are generally more affordable. One big problem: High-density housing is far more expensive to build. Gerard Mildner, the academic director of the Center for Real Estate at Portland State University, notes that development of a building of more than five stories requires rents approximately two and a half times those from the development of garden apartments. Even higher construction costs are reported in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the cost of townhouse development per square foot can double that of detached houses (excluding land costs) and units in high-rise condominium buildings can cost up to seven and a half times as much.
California lawmakers introduced legislation Friday to bypass a key state environmental law that would dramatically ease the construction of rail, bus and other transit projects connected to Los Angeles’ bid to host the Olympic Games in 2028. Under the bill, any public transportation effort related to the city’s Olympics bid would be exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act, the state’s primary environmental law governing development. The law, known as CEQA, requires developers to disclose and minimize a project’s impact on the environment, often a time-consuming and costly process that involves litigation. The measure, Senate Bill 789, also provides major CEQA relief to help the construction of an NBA arena for the Los Angeles Clippers in nearby Inglewood.
More than 100 local governments have inclusionary ordinances. But a 2009 state appeals court ruling exempted rental units.
So as part of an overall package of housing bills, Democratic lawmakers want to overturn that exemption. Two identical bills are under consideration in the Legislature, AB 1505 and SB 277.
The minimum wage in St. Louis falls by $2.30 an hour Monday, making it a rare city to buck the national trend of municipal pay floors rising above federal and state levels.
Many low-wage workers in the Gateway City will lose raises they received in May, when the minimum wage increased to $10 an hour. A state law taking effect Monday mandates that Missouri municipalities follow the state minimum of $7.70 an hour, nullifying the higher wage St. Louis officials had sought since 2015.
During August’s auction, every emission permit offered by the state was sold, and prices reached their highest level since the program launched five years ago. The auction results, announced Tuesday, were the first since Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation continuing cap and trade until 2030, erasing some of the political and legal uncertainty that had dogged the program.