Livable Communities Newsletter
Vol. 12, No. 48
Welcome to Our Fall 2018 Livable Communities Newsletter!
During the last three months there were 2 major forums discussing topics important to livable communities in Ventura County: The HOME (Housing Opportunities Made Easier) Housing Conference and the Ventura County Regional Broadband Summit. In
this edition of our Livable Communities Newsletter we offer three updates that share some of the significant impacts of these discussions.
In the first article, Sandy Smith starts with
Last year's focus on the need to respond to the political challenges affecting infill development and reviews some of the key responses to last year's call to action. We are making progress!
The second article by Darren Kettle focuses on the very strong impacts that state-of-the-art broadband will have on transportation.
In our final article, we focus on the regional impact of strong broadband and share a 7 minute video of Bruce Stenslie's report of the excellent progress to improve broadband being made to date in Ventura County.
Enjoy the articles and let us know what you think by contacting us at:
HOME's Annual Housing Conference
by Sandy Smith
Last month, Ventura County based Housing Opportunities Made Easier (HOME) hosted their 17
annual Housing Conference at the Ventura County Schools Offices in Camarillo. All presenters responded to the conference theme of
Leading the Way: Challenges, Innovations, Solutions
by sharing their insights, ideas, and experiences with creative methodologies meant to respond to the complexities of housing development in the State of California, and the County of Ventura.
Previous conferences have long ago established infill housing as the only appropriate model of development for Ventura County. With land use policies which focus development into existing urban settings, and a need to respond to a younger generation of workers that seek alternatives to single family detached housing typologies, the production of infill housing has become our only means of meeting our housing crisis.
Last year the focus of the discussion was the need to respond to our political challenges: How can we help our elected officials build enough political will to stand tall in the face strong public resistance, and approve often controversial infill projects of higher density? The response to that question: form broad-based coalitions of citizens whose membership includes not only developers and builders, but business owners, social equity organizations, and students about to enter the workforce -- anyone faced with finding a place to live in our region.
Given last year's call to action, Dr. Matthew Fienup, an economist and executive director of the California Lutheran University's Center for Economic Research and Forecasting has been instrumental in the formation of the Housing Solutions Group Collaborative, a coalition of County residents and community leaders that serve as advocates for policies that support housing development.
The panel that followed presented innovative new tools to help municipalities and developers identify new housing opportunities through creative solutions to land-use issues.
Don Monti, Renaissance Downtown USA, spoke of the need to build positive supportive partnerships among developers, government, and residents built on a shared vision that looks at the "big picture." Mr. Monti touted what he called the "Triple Bottom-Line Analysis" where any plan that hopes to receive broad based political and community support must insure that Social, Environmental, and Economic Responsibilities are all integrated into the community's master plan for development.
The second member of the panel, Noah Ornstein, co-founder of Leap of Faith Partners LLC, oversees a Los Angeles-based investment firm that focuses solely on the production of modular housing. Leap of Faith is in the process of entitling a project on the westside of Ventura that features modular construction, mechanized stacked parking, and sustainable landscape and building technologies.
Tyson Cline, an architect for Roseling Nakamura Architects, and a long-time member of Ventura's Design Review Committee, asked the question "Who are we building for?" Cline argued that "when planning housing development, a city's first step should be to determine what kind of housing -- whether it be affordable housing, high-end homes or anything in between -- would best fit an area and its residents before moving forward with actual development." He urged the audience to "stop talking about building affordable housing, and start talking about building housing that is affordable."
The closing keynote of the conference was the well-known Dr. Mark Schneipp, Director of the California Economic Forecast, whose presentation focused on the changes that self-driving cars and new transit technologies will have on land use planning.
This year's takeaway: there are ways to respond to the challenges of building more affordable workforce housing through the use of new technologies, new materials, and housing typologies with smaller footprints. However, something became clear during the ensuing dialogue among the speakers and audience members: our housing zone ordinances, building codes and requirements, and our existing land use policies often serve as impediments to innovation and creativity. In response, the coalitions that have formed to support housing development must expand the breadth of their advocacy to include presenting and supporting policy alternatives to building using land use models no longer applicable.
I grew up in southern California in the 1970's and, like any kid my age at the time, the highlight day trip of the year was getting to go to Disneyland. My dad was a teacher and my mom didn't work at the time so it might have happened every other year. This was back in the day when annual passes didn't exist and there were never enough "E" tickets in that stupid little Disneyland ticket booklet. My dad, mom, little brother and I would pile into our 1969 Ford Station Wagon and make the drive from the Inland Empire down the 57 Freeway into Orange County, spewing some of the worst exhaust known to man, not realizing that the next day I would be breathing that very same dirty air as the prevailing ocean winds blew inland. However, what seemed like a drive that took forever and the Stage 3 smog alert that I'd live through the next day were the last things on my mind because we were on the way to the happiest place on earth and I was going to spend the whole day and every darn "E" ticket in Tomorrow Land, a place where the future of transportation and technology all came together.
Tomorrow Land found a temporary new home in Ventura County the morning of October 11
th with the Ventura County Regional Broadband Summit. VCTC was proud to co-host the event with the Economic Development Collaborative and the County of Ventura. You might wonder what broadband has to do with transportation. At the Summit we had two experts in their field explain how broadband technology will drive our future (pun intended).
First, Caltrans Deputy Director for Highway Operations, Ali Zaghari, spoke about how Caltrans is now installing either the conduit or actual fiber to enable high speed broadband anytime a road improvement project is being constructed in the Caltrans right of way. This will bring high speed internet to what are known as high speed internet deserts and more remote communities. Ultimately, a local agency will have to invest in the next step of connecting to homes and businesses in their community, but at least access to high speed wired broadband internet will be at the community's proverbial front door.
Mr. Zaghari also shared what Caltrans is doing in these very dynamic times in the evolution of the cars we drive. Already today we have vehicles that have special warning systems to alert drivers when they start to veer out of their lane. In order to make that lane departure technology more effective, Caltrans is implementing new wider lane striping that is more detectable by that technology. Look for it on a freeway near you.
My colleague from the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA), Mr. Randy Iwasaki, was the second transportation technology expert. The CCTA serves many of the same functions as VCTC does, although CCTA also administers Contra Costa County's voter-approved local half-cent transportation sales tax measure (don't get me started). There is one area where CCTA has been a true transportation innovator and that is in their role as partner in the GoMentum Station in Concord, one of the nation's largest secure testing facilities for connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technology. GoMentum Station is built on a public/private partnership model. Through this collaboration, innovators in the private sector like Lyft, Toyota, Honda, and First Transit have access to GoMentum Station's secure 5,000-acre grounds and 20 miles of paved roadway space to innovate and test on varied terrain and recreate real-life scenarios in a safe and controlled environment.
CCTA and the public sector benefit by having access to new transportation technologies as they are being developed. This promotes a greater understanding of emerging technologies and helps to facilitate informed policy, regulation and planning decisions. The innovative technology being explored and tested at GoMentum Station will redefine the next generation of transportation, bring unprecedented mobility options to people, and help advance traffic safety towards zero fatalities.
Fully autonomous vehicles are still a ways off but not as far you might think. Cars are getting cleaner and polluting less and less, and our ever improving air quality is a direct benefit. However, with that good news we also will have to take a serious look at how we pay to maintain and improve our streets, roads, bridges, and highways and fund public transportation since the way we have done that for the last 100 years is by paying our gas taxes when we fill up at the pump. When we are travelling in our self-driving cars and watching live streaming movies or sports in cars that no longer require gasoline, then what? Oh, and by the way, many futurists think we will actually be traveling more miles than we do today partly because it will take virtually no effort on the part of the "driver." So there will be more wear and tear on our roads but, because we have yet to figure out what comes next after gas tax revenues are no longer a sustainable funding stream, how will we maintain our transportation system? Now, for me, the guy whose job it is to always be thinking about Ventura County's transportation system, that seems more like the Haunted Mansion.
Broadband is Critical and We Are Making Improvements
by Bruce Stenslie
According to the Broadband Consortium of the Pacific Coast website, Broadband is critical in 4 major areas:
A MORE ROBUST ECONOMY
Broadband is vital for economic growth, both by fostering new industries and expanding opportunities for existing businesses.
SAFER, HEALTHIER COMMUNITIES
Broadband reaches many facets of everyday life by improving the delivery of healthcare services and assisting public safety personnel in the performance of their duties.
SMARTER, MORE ENGAGED INDIVIDUALS
Broadband enriches the educational experiences of children and adults, and facilitates citizen interaction with community organizations.
Broadband helps with the management and conservation of energy resources.
Click the following link and slide the time bar to 1:12:12 to see Bruce Stenslie's update on the progress being made in Ventura County's Broadband.
(Bruce's 7 minute presentation runs from 1:12:12 to 1:19:38)
A Special Thank You Goes to Our State of the Region Report Sponsors:
Research Sponsor -
Ventura County Community Foundation
Presenting Sponsor -
Ventura County Community College District
Domain Sponsors -
California Lutheran University
California State University Channel Islands
County of Ventura
Gene Haas Foundation
Montecito Bank & Trust
Southern California Edison
United Staffing Associates
VCDSA - Ventura County Deputy Sheriff's Association
Supporting Sponsors -
The Port of Hueneme
Ventura County Coastal Association of Realtors
Ventura County Office of Education
Contributing Sponsors -
City of Ventura Community Development Department
Ferguson Case Orr Paterson LLP
Gold Coast Transit
Maron Computer Services
Procter & Gamble Paper Products Company
SESPE CONSULTING INC.
Stacy and Kerry Roscoe
Ventura County Transportation Commission
Friend Sponsors -
California Lutheran University Center for Nonprofit Leadership
Dyer Sheehan Group, Inc.
Friends of the Santa Clara River
Sherie and Joe Gibson
Slover Memorial Fund
United Way of Ventura County
Ventura College Foundation
Media Sponsor -
Pacific Coast Business Times