Category Archives: Development

Taxing Vancouver’s Empty Homes

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PMVancouver’s real estate values have skyrocketed 280% since 1986, while wages have only increased 7%. A new report shows the affordability crises impacts both renters and homeowners. The average westside home was selling for $1.4 million last May. Though 10,800 housing units have been empty for more than a year, 1 only about 337 available as rentals. 2 This suggests that speculators own many of the vacant units. City staff recommend taxing Vancouver’s empty homes.

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  1. Policy & Regulatory Steps for Reducing Empty Housing, City of Vancouver Administrative Report, June 16, 2016, p 2
  2. ibid, p 3

Vancouver’s First Tree Week: April 2-10

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PMThe city of Vancouver intends to plant 150,000 trees  by 2020. City Council believes this will clean the air, manage rain water, provide habitat for wildlife and improve the city’s overall health and well-being. The more immediate goal is planting 14,000 trees this year and to do this the city has launched Vancouver’s First Tree Week: April 2-10.

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HafenCity is Designed To Be Flood Proof

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PMSea levels have been rising 0.14 inches (3.5 millimeters) per year since the early 1990s. In the decades to come, many of the world’s coastal cities will be threatened. Hamburg’s new city core responded to this challenge with a relatively inexpensive solution, HafenCity is designed to be flood proof.

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Lilac Hills: Why Plunk A City In The Middle Of Nowhere?

San Diego County’s Lilac Hills development is enmeshed the in conflict between rural values & development, but so far from infrastructure that one ask Why plunk a city in the middle of nowhere?

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PMOn October 14th, or possibly the 28th, San Diego County Board of Supervisors will meet to decide if they should rip up the dreams of a rural community so a developer can get a lot of money. As County Planning commissioners Peder Norby and Michael Beck recently pointed out, if the Lilac Hills project goes forward it will destroy 13 years of work, and close to $20 million, that went into San Diego County’s General Plan. The project spreads across 608 acres. There are currently 16 “dwelling units” and a total of 110 are allowed under current zoning. Accretive Investments wants to build 1,786 units over the course of a decade. This would support a larger population that the city of Del Mar. Why plunk a city in the middle of nowhere?

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Infogram Maps Fremont’s Journey to Sustainability

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1The city of Fremont, CA, has been getting a lot of headlines lately. It has only been two months since it was revealed that the little East Bay City issued more electric vehicle rebates than San Francisco!  Fremont also attracts an unusually high number of clean tech and biotech firms,  with a payroll tax exemption offered by the City’s Clean Technology and Biotechnology Business Tax Exemption Ordinance. This is the home of  Solaria corporation, PetersonDean, Centrosolar America  and many other well established corporations. The city just relased a  new infogram mapping the City of Fremont’s Journey to Sustainability.
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How 204 US Mayors Used Federal Grant Money To Better Their Cities

By Roy L Hales

Screen shot 2014-03-18 at 3.43.47 PMAs part of the economic stimulus package five years ago, Congress allotted $2.7 billion for energy efficient block grants (EECBG) to be spent by local governments. Over 200 mayors filled out questionnaires explaining how that money was spent in their cities. This was recently published in Successful City Initiatives with Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Funding, which states:

  • 87% said money went to municipal projects and operations
  • 83% said the city’s retrofit government buildings
  • 42% said it was used for LED/other energy-efficient street lighting
  • 31% said they used it to to install solar energy systems on public buildings and facilities

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Senior Housing & the Seawall Construction Markets will both Double by 2023

By Roy L Hales

Screen shot 2014-03-18 at 3.43.47 PMNew Construction techniques and material will help double the market for two key building sectors in the next decade: rising sea levels and an aging population.
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Hope for The Third World

By Roy L Hales

Screen shot 2014-03-18 at 3.43.47 PMMany of you have not heard of HOPE International Development Agency. That is because of the non-profit’s desire – right from the beginning 39 years ago – to devote as much of the funds they raise to the impoverished families they help in Africa, Asia, and The Americas. That does not leave much left over for publicity, but it does ensure that HOPE International Development Agency continues to be one of the most efficient and effective agencies working in the developing world.
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EHC Sues Over Misleading Information Used For Petition

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1The Environmental Health Coalition (EHC) has filed a lawsuit against the Port of San Diego Ship Repair Association for intentionally misrepresenting facts to illegally collect signatures for its industry-funded referendum to repeal the Barrio Logan Community Plan Update.
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In Defence of Barrio Logan

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1For the past 70-80 years, Barrio Logan has been a dumping ground. It was an industrial area which also became home to people who were not desirable in other parts of San Diego. That’s how Barrio Logan ended up having almost four times as many poor as is found throughout most of San Diego County. It also has more than twice the number of children’s visits to emergency wards, as a result of asthma attacks.
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