Practice Areas: Integrated Economic and Planning Studies
Our Clients Ask Us:
What planning strategies would encourage the kinds of development we want?
What economic or social effect would result from a change in a [plan] [development regulation]?
How can we use land use regulation to create incentives for the kind of [conservation] [development] we want?
Policy Analysis of a Major Residential Infill Development in West Oakland » A proposal to develop approximately 1,500 market-rate housing units on a West Oakland infill site raised a range of issues examined by Mundie & Associates in this economic and planning study. The 29-acre site across I-680 from the Port of Oakland had long been devoted to industrial and Port-related uses, and had been planned and zoned accordingly. M&A's analysis, prepared under the supervision of the Oakland planning director, established a foundation for Oakland to consider a change in land use designation in tandem with a proposal to re-shape this part of West Oakland as a close-to-downtown, modestly-priced residential community. The framework study addressed questions about foregoing future industrial use, altering the physical character of residential development, accelerating the appreciation of residential properties, and changing the socio-economic characteristics of the residential base. Tools and resources for Oakland to preserve its existing low-and-moderate income housing resources (both in West Oakland and elsewhere in the city) are set forth in the study, providing a constructive response to concerns about potential gentrification.
Economic and Feasibility Analysis for Resource Protection in the Blue Ridge Berryessa Natural Area » A consortium of private, public, and nonprofit land owners retained Mundie & Associates to assist them in planning for an approximately 470-square-mile area encompassing Lake Berryessa and rural lands to the north. The group, organized as the Blue Ridge Berryessa Natural Area (BRBNA) Partnership, engaged M&A to evaluate potential sources of revenue to support a collaborative resource assessment that would be complemented by planning and management initiatives. This economic study developed initial revenue estimates based on current uses (primarily in natural resource- and recreation-based activities) and participation levels. The nonprofit's efforts have been successful in expanding the acreage of study area lands committed to permanent resource-based uses, increasing preservation and conservation efforts, and improving environmental management of BRBNA lands in the five counties of Napa, Yolo, Lake, Solano, and Colusa.
Central City Housing Strategy Study for Sacramento » Revitalization of the central area of Sacramento was the focus of this M&A-led study, which evaluated the demand for new housing in and near downtown, and proposed strategies for strengthening the residential component of the central city land use mix. M&A began the study with a regional housing market analysis that included (1) a survey of central city workers to ascertain their housing preferences (locations, types of structures, types of tenure); (2) a real estate feasibility study of housing prototypes that were formulated by study team members; and (3) a critical look at opportunities for and obstacles to stimulating housing production in the central area. The analysis showed that Sacramento's near-downtown neighborhoods had retained much of their market appeal, meaning that a central city housing strategy should focus on increasing the residential capacity within the existing urban design framework. The strategy study therefore focused on the potential for use intensification on unbuilt and underdeveloped sites and on adaptation of existing structures. A set of design templates was developed to help assure the "fit" of new development - both new construction and rebuilds - within Sacramento's design vocabulary of shaded streets, frame houses, and walkable neighborhoods. The study's recommended strategies have informed the city's efforts to guide the blossoming of downtown residential development over the last decade.
Public Contributions for Private Benefits in San Mateo » San Mateo's Measure H had been enacted to allow for height bonuses in certain locations of the city in exchange for provision of a suitable public benefit. M&A's analysis addressed a series of issues that such potential exchanges raise, including what constitutes a public benefit, the considerations that affect whether a proposed benefit (for example, a project feature or the improvement of an offsite public facility) qualifies, how to determine the value of the private benefit and its "exchange rate" in terms of building height, and methods of securing the proposed benefit through the development process. The study culminated in recommended guidelines for the implementation of the ballot measure based on M&A's analysis in light of the experience of San Mateo and other similar programs in place in other cities.
Inclusionary Housing Strategy for Mendocino County » M&A formulated a strategy to increase the production of affordable housing in the unincorporated area of the county. As in many of California's rural counties, the majority of Mendocino County's rural land is in public ownership and, therefore, land resources for housing production are limited. The study examined housing programs then in effect in other rural counties to determine their applicability to the Mendocino County situation. A review of the real estate market conditions that affect housing price and affordability in the county was undertaken to provide a foundation for the analysis of the effects of inclusionary requirements on land value, housing price, and developer profits. The recommended strategy proposed basing inclusionary housing requirements on the affordability of housing in a development project and the difference between actual and maximum permitted density of the project, providing an incentive for maximum production of housing within the existing zoning envelope.
Transferable Development Credits for Agricultural Preservation and Enhancement in the South Livermore Valley » Alameda County, in consultation with the Cities of Livermore and Pleasanton, engaged a team of consultants to prepare a Specific Plan to preserve and encourage vineyards and other agricultural uses in the South Livermore Valley. As economics firm on the team, M&A formulated a strategy to support agriculture through a combination of preservation incentives and land use regulation, and identified measures focused on strengthening the local wine grape industry. A critical element of the strategy was the concept of transferable development credits (TDCs) to provide compensation to landowners who agreed to cede to other properties the residential development potential to which their properties were entitled by then-current land use regulations. A TDC system, formulated based on an economic analysis of land values and production returns, served ultimately as the linchpin of the South Livermore Valley Area Plan.