JUNE 2020 |
The Monthly Magazine of the League of California Cities
Cities Use Technology to Keep Constituents Informed and Engaged During Pandemic p.6 South Pasadena Teens Provide Tech Expertise to Senior Community p.19
Cyberattacks and Public Agency Response p.5
CONTENTS 2 Calendar of League Events Executive Director’s Message 3 The Economic Impact of COVID-19 on Essential City Services
By Carolyn Coleman
alifornia cities are experiencing a C $7 billion general revenue shortfall over the next two fiscal years from the sharp downturn in economic activity and additional pandemicrelated expenses.
Legal Notes 5
Cyberattacks and Public Agency Response
By Nora Wetzel
aking proactive steps is the key T to preventing or recovering from a cyberattack. Cities should implement preventive measures with an emphasis on best practices.
Cities Use Technology to Keep Constituents Informed and Engaged During Pandemic
By Jill Oviatt
ity leaders worked hard to ensure C that local government remained accessible and residents were able to participate in council meetings and obtain essential services.
News From the Institute for 9 Local Government
New Clean Mobility Options Roll Out in Arvin
By Nicole Enright
ith just a few taps on a smartphone W app, residents can check out an electric vehicle, get in, and go.
12 How to Ensure That
Missing Middle Housing Is Not Missing From Your City’s Policy, Planning, and Zoning
By Daniel Parolek and Tony Perez
“Missing middle” housing helps to address the growing demand for walkable communities, respond to shifting household demographics, and meet the need for more housing choices.
16 Redwood City’s Quest
to Bring Back Missing Middle Housing
By Jill Oviatt
Reducing the minimum lot size for duplexes and triplexes and revising current open-space requirements are among the city’s proposed zoning updates.
Helen Putnam Award 19 for Excellence
South Pasadena Teens Provide Tech Expertise to Senior Community This increasingly popular program bridges the digital divide and fosters intergenerational communication.
Job Opportunities 20 Professional Services 23 Directory
over photo: Residents complying C with social distancing requirements participate in a council meeting remotely via a “drive through.” Courtesy of the City of Riverside.
Thank you to our cities for keeping our communities safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
President John F. Dunbar Mayor Yountville
1400 K Street, Sacramento, CA 95814 (916) 658-8200; Fax (916) 658-8240
Magazine Staff Editor in Chief Jill Oviatt (916) 658-8228; email: email@example.com Managing Editor Jude Lemons, Citrus 3 Communications (916) 658-8234; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
First Vice President Cheryl Viegas Walker Council Member El Centro
Second Vice President Cindy Silva Council Member Walnut Creek
Immediate Past President Jan Arbuckle Council Member Grass Valley
Executive Director Carolyn Coleman
For a complete list of the League board of directors, visit www.cacities.org/board.
leaguevents JUNE 4–5
Contributing Editor Kayla Woods (916) 658-8213; email: email@example.com
Policy Committee Meetings The League’s policy committees review issues of interest to cities statewide and make recommendations to the League board of directors.
Business and Creative Manager Amanda Cadelago (916) 658-8226; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Advertising Sales Cici Trino Association Outsource Services, Inc. (916) 961-9999; email: email@example.com Administrative Assistant Savannah Cobbs (916) 658-8223; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Legal Advocacy Committee Meeting The committee reviews and recommends friend-of-the-court efforts on cases of significant statewide interest to California cities.
Mayors and Council Members Executive Forum, Part 1 The forum’s sessions keep elected officials up to date on key issues.
Contributors Melissa Kuehne Alison Leary Corrie Manning Erica Manuel
Board of Directors Meeting The League board reviews, discusses, and takes action on a variety of issues affecting cities, including legislation, legal advocacy, education and training, and more.
Associate Editors Carol Malinowski Carolyn Walker
Mayors and Council Members Executive Forum, Part 2 The forum’s sessions keep elected officials up to date on key issues.
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Advertising Design ImagePoint Design
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League of California Cities Annual Conference & Expo, Long Beach The conference offers dozens of educational sessions, numerous professional development activities, hundreds of exhibits, and a chance to participate in the League’s policymaking activities.
Board of Directors Meeting, Long Beach The League board reviews, discusses, and takes action on a variety of issues affecting cities, including legislation, legal advocacy, education and training, and more.
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Mayors and Council Members Executive Forum, Part 3 The forum’s sessions keep elected officials up to date on key issues.
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Executive Director’s Message by Carolyn Coleman
The Economic Impact of COVID-19 on Essential City Services Throughout California, local leaders have worked tirelessly to help residents stay safe and at home in an effort to prevent further transmission of COVID-19. At the same time, cities have delivered relief for individuals and local Main Street businesses and planned for the gradual reopening of their communities. These actions have not only saved lives, but also have served as a model for the country. However, as California cities respond to this public health crisis, together they are experiencing a $7 billion general revenue shortfall over the next two fiscal years as a result of the sharp downturn in economic activity caused by the stay-at-home orders and significant increases in unbudgeted expenses incurred responding to the pandemic. Cities, like the state, are required to balance their budgets. Without state or federal assistance, budget shortfalls will result in cuts to core city services, like public safety and public works.
Analysis Shows Far-Reaching Impacts on City Budgets A data analysis released by the League in late April found that core services to residents face significant cuts or reductions without state or federal aid. Nine out of 10 cities report they are considering cutting or furloughing police officers, firefighters, planners, public works engineers, and other essential local government workers, or the core services they deliver. Eight out of 10 cities report that police services will be adversely affected, and a similar number of cities report projected cuts to public works services. When it comes to fire services, 80 percent of cities with a population greater than 250,000 project significant impacts,
and in cities of less than 25,000 in population, half report that fire services will be impacted. In early March, Congress passed and the president signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which included $150 billion for states and local governments to help address the increase in expenses associated with COVID-19. This aid is meaningful and welcomed. However, only cities and counties with populations greater than 500,000 were eligible to receive a direct allocation of CARES Act funding. In California, just six of our 482 cities were eligible to receive this aid directly from the federal government. Because COVID-19 has directly impacted all of our cities, we are urging the state to set aside a portion of the CARES Act funding it received for the more than 90 percent of California cities that did not receive a direct allocation and are struggling to address the crisis and still keep city operations going. That’s also why we’re calling on the federal government to provide $500 billion in direct and flexible aid to local governments nationwide to help cities recover and reopen. All of our cities are reeling from the impact of COVID-19 on their budgets, and we can’t afford to leave any of them behind. continued
Core Services Face Significant Impacts Regardless of City Size Percentage of cities by population 90% 87% 82% 79%
< 25,000 Emergency Medical Services www.westerncity.com
30% 30% 11%
Western City, June 2020
The Economic Impact of COVID-19 on Essential City Services, continued
The League will continue to fight to make sure every California city has the resources to emerge from this pandemic vibrant and strong. To support our efforts, in late April, we launched the “Support Local Recovery: Vibrant Cities. Strong Economies.” campaign backed by an impressive coalition of local government, labor, and business leaders. If you haven’t already, visit supportlocalrecovery.org to join the campaign!
Cities Transform Public Meetings and Municipal Operations In times like these, our residents depend on city operations to continue delivering core services and access to government. It’s truly remarkable how — basically overnight — cities transformed traditional public meetings and city operations into virtual experiences to protect the health and safety of city staff and residents. Serving residents remained the top priority, although cities started changing the way services are delivered. Using a little creativity, an internet connection, and some digital equipment, cities are employing technology in new ways to maintain government transparency, remain accessible and responsive to the public, and deliver vital public services.
Without additional funding and with varying levels of technological capabilities, cities have risen to the challenge and implemented new ways to engage and listen to the public and maintain city operations in a digital environment. Through live streamed council meetings, virtual City Halls, and new video inspection programs, cities have ensured that essential services and resident access to those services remain in place and uninterrupted. This virtual format fosters transparency and access while simultaneously ensuring the safety of local elected officials, city staff, and residents. From Oakland to Pismo Beach and throughout the state, city leaders are using technology and social media to help residents stay informed on new city ordinances, provide public health recommendations, and support each city’s small businesses. You can read more about these digital pioneers in “Cities Use Technology to Keep Constituents Informed and Engaged During Pandemic” on page 6 of this issue. The tremendous public health and financial impacts of the pandemic will continue to be painful for weeks and months to come. However, the utilization of technology is just one example of the countless ways in which city leaders have adapted nimbly and quickly during the COVID-19 outbreak. This leadership and ingenuity are nothing short of inspiring and show once again that #LocalWorks — even in the most difficult times. Let’s keep working together. ■
Before a city council meeting, a City of Riverside employee sets up equipment to enable “drive-through” participation for residents.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf addresses constituents at a virtual Town Hall meeting.
League of California Cities
The City of Redlands provides an interactive map for residents, showing which local businesses remain open.
Cyberattacks and Public Agency Response
by Nora Wetzel
Cyberattacks and resulting data breaches are a growing threat to cities. In January 2020, the City of Las Vegas experienced a cyberattack when bad actors gained access to the city’s network via a malicious email. Las Vegas had previously taken a public position not to pay a ransom, though it is unclear if this attack involved ransomware. The city reportedly caught the attack early and does not believe any data was lost or taken. Another city, New Orleans, fell victim to a cyberattack in December 2019. The city detected suspicious activity on its network, investigated the activity, and discovered a ransomware attack affecting roughly 4,000 city computers. The city’s IT Department ordered all employees to power down computers and disconnect from Wi-Fi. All city servers were also powered down, and employees were told to unplug their devices. New Orleans had cyber insurance and expected it to cover nearly
$1 million in costs the city incurred as a result of the attack, though the insurance did not cover the costs of paying a ransom. In October 2019, a suspected cyberattacker targeted the City of San Marcos in California. The attack affected the city’s email system, leaving employees unable to communicate with some members of the public. Employees discovered the problems, and the city manager confirmed the city was the victim of suspected hacking. The City of Baltimore was attacked in May 2019 by ransomware known as “RobinHood.” Some experts said the attack involved a tool developed by the National Security Agency. The attack locked the city out of its computer servers and demanded ransom. Officials said the attack cost the city more than $18 million. In summer 2019, hackers infiltrated 22 Texas cities’ computer systems and
About Legal Notes This column is provided as general information and not as legal advice. The law is constantly evolving, and attorneys can and do disagree about what the law requires. Local agencies interested in determining how the law applies in a particular situation should consult their local agency attorneys.
demanded a ransom. The mayor of one of those cities said the attackers asked for $2.5 million in ransom to restore their systems. The Texas Department of Information Resources said that the evidence pointed to a single-threat actor. A representative for the department reported that he was “not aware” of any of the cities having paid the ransom sought by hackers and disclosed that the affected locales were mostly rural. continued on page 10
Nora Wetzel is a partner in the law firm of Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP, and can be reached at NWetzel@bwslaw.com. www.westerncity.com
Western City, June 2020
Residents participate in a “drive-through” city council meeting, offering comments relayed by video, in a trial run conducted by the City of Riverside.
Cities Use Technology to Keep Constituents Informed and Engaged During Pandemic by Jill Oviatt When stay-at-home orders were issued in an effort to slow transmission of the coronavirus and physical meetings were put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, local government’s commitment to meeting community needs and conducting inclusive and transparent decisionmaking was stronger than ever.
Public Access Is a Top Priority for Cities Recognizing that city leaders had to navigate uncharted territory, Temecula City Clerk Randi Johl, a board member of both the League and Institute for Local Government, helped lead a webinar for several hundred local government officials
about best practices to ensure public access to city government in the midst of physical distancing. “We have to hear from and listen to everyone in our community — this includes the young and the young at heart, minorities, veterans, students, residents, businesses, and community members from all income and education levels,” said Johl.
Developing Innovative Communication Strategies and Methods City leaders throughout the state turned to technology and quickly put into place an array of virtual tools to keep residents informed and engaged.
As city council meetings transitioned to an online-only format, city leaders worked hard to ensure that local government remained accessible and residents were able to participate in the meetings, share their views, and ask questions. At a Montebello City Council meeting, some residents emailed comments that were read into the record, while others gave the city clerk their phone numbers in advance of the meeting and then received a phone call within a specific time period so they could speak directly to city council members during the meeting. In Riverside, the city tried to make the experience as close to the real thing as possible with “drive-through” comments, where
Jill Oviatt is director of communications and marketing for the League and can be reached at email@example.com.
League of California Cities
The Oakland City Council conducts a meeting online.
In a video update, Pismo Beach City Manager Jim Lewis, right, assures residents that the city’s drinking water is safe during the pandemic.
residents spoke to the council from their cars via a camera operated by city video production staff. “As unfortunate as COVID-19 is, it has really given us an opportunity to think out of the box,” said Montebello City Manager Rene Bobadilla.
Cities Focus on Inclusion and Social Media to Convey Critical Information Cities also turned up the dial on their use of social media to amplify information about important community resources. Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg held a mental health livestream where he discussed how to access tangible mental health resources as well as various coping strategies residents used during the stayat-home orders.
Cities’ focus on inclusion was at the heart of developing and adopting innovative ways to ensure access to vital information and resources for residents and local businesses.
Virtual Town Hall Meetings Help Address Residents’ Concerns In Oakland, Mayor Libby Schaaf hosted virtual Town Hall meetings on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Zoom to provide updates on the evolving pandemic, the city’s ongoing response, and resources for businesses and residents. Oakland residents submitted hundreds of inquiries related to COVID-19, and Mayor Schaaf’s team used a crowdsourcing platform to identify the themes of the questions and help ensure that residents received answers.
In an effort to reach all residents, Mayor Schaaf ’s team partnered with grassroots organizations whose volunteers called seniors and patched them into the Zoom conference lines. The city engaged Spanish, Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese interpreters for the virtual Town Hall meetings and distributed translated information to community organizations before and after each event.
Linking Families in Need With Child-Care Professionals In Long Beach, city leaders recognized that with schools, parks, and other facilities serving children closed, a large number of certified child-care professionals were out of work. The city moved quickly to update a technology platform continued
Western City, June 2020
Cities Use Technology to Keep Constituents Informed and Engaged During Pandemic, continued
Residents in the City of Fremont can use the interactive map to find open businesses.
to match these out-of-work professionals with families working in essential jobs who desperately needed child care. “Our hope is that all of the families who provide critical services and risk their lives for our community are able to obtain the child care that they need during this health crisis,” said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia.
Creating Maps to Help Residents Support Local Businesses Looking to support local restaurants and businesses that remained open during the pandemic, the City of Fremont and the City of Redlands developed interactive maps showing where residents could find local restaurants and coffee shops that offered take-out and delivery options as well as shops that were still open for business.
Permitting and Inspection Services Are Transformed In Goleta, the city transitioned to electronic permit application and plan submittals. In addition, the city offered virtual inspections as an alternative to on-site building inspections.
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City of Goleta Planning and Environmental Services Director Peter Imhof said, “As the Planning and Environmental Review Department strives to continue providing basic permitting and inspection services during this public health crisis, we are excited to implement these new remote and paperless technologies. They will enable us to continue providing enhanced customer service and greater operating efficiencies.”
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Reassuring Residents in a Turbulent Time The City of Pismo Beach decided to post daily video updates on social media from the city council and city staff to help residents stay informed on new ordinances, public health recommendations, and ways to support the city’s small businesses. The social media posts also reassured residents that the city was still operating and delivering the services they need. “We know that you may feel uneasy or scared, but know that your city government is prepared, and we’re working for you,” said Pismo Beach City Manager Jim Lewis. During this turbulent time, California cities quickly adapted to the new circumstances and adopted innovative ways to deliver the information and services their communities needed most. Laser-focused on ensuring that local government was accessible, cities throughout the state were quick to use technology to stay connected and find meaningful ways to inform, engage, and listen to all of their constituents, proving once again how #LocalWorks — in the best and the worst of times. ■
To learn more, please visit calrecycle.ca.gov/tires/rac
League of California Cities
The ride-sharing program offers an affordable, convenient mobility alternative.
New Clean Mobility Options Roll Out in Arvin by Nicole Enright A new clean mobility solution has arrived in the City of Arvin (pop. 22,178), opening up new opportunities for residents to meet their transportation needs with innovative technology. Míocar, which launched in Arvin in summer 2019, offers a 100 percent electric car-sharing service to bridge transportation gaps. The service facilitates easy access to clean and affordable options to run errands, get to medical appointments, pick up children from school, and more.
Partnership Provides Customized Support
Technological innovations such as Míocar can be found statewide but are especially needed in San Joaquin Valley communities with small populations, long travel distances, and limited transit service.
The Institute for Local Government (ILG) is partnering with the City of Arvin through the BOOST Program, which allows ILG to provide customized and tailored support to 10 cities and two regions throughout California. Through BOOST, ILG will help communities:
Project Provides Multiple Opportunities
• Build awareness of funding opportunities to address climate action.
Míocar is administered by Self-Help Enterprises, a community development organization based in Visalia, and supported by CalVans, Mobility Development, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, Kern Council of Governments, and California Climate Investments. The car-sharing service provides a new opportunity for the City of Arvin to continue making progress in addressing its priorities related to air quality and clean energy. Not only does car-sharing offer flexibility and convenience, but it can also introduce community members who may never have ridden in an electric vehicle (EV) to the new technology. This introduction can help them feel more comfortable potentially purchasing an EV in the future and facilitates increased investment in EV charging in the San Joaquin Valley.
• Organize projects to be best positioned to meet community goals.
Service Is Inexpensive and Easy to Use With just a few taps on a smartphone app, Míocar participants can check out an EV, get in, and go. Participants must be age 21 or over to sign up for the service. Interested drivers can register via the website (miocar.org) or app with relatively few qualifications: they must have a valid driver’s license, a relatively clean driving record, and a credit, debit, or prepaid card. After a brief application check period and a one-time membership fee of $20, they’re ready to drive. In Arvin, a Chevrolet Bolt EV with a 240-mile range and a BMW i3 with a 180-mile range are available for members to reserve and check out either through the app or a smart card; no keys are needed. Cars are parked in designated “home” spaces with access to charging, all included in the price of the reservation. At just $4 per hour or $35 per day, including insurance, vehicle maintenance, and roadside assistance, Míocar offers an affordable, convenient, and emissionfree mobility alternative to community members to go where they need to without further contributing to vehicle emissions. Over 100 members have already signed up to drive.
• Optimize existing resources and build more capacity. • Strengthen relationships with key stakeholders and identify new opportunities for regional engagement and collaboration. • Transform their approach to addressing climate action. With this BOOST partnership, ILG and the City of Arvin are expanding clean energy opportunities in the community through educational events, grants, residential solar installations, and more. Visit www.ca-ilg.org/BOOST for more information.
“We are excited to bring innovative technology solutions like Míocar to our city,” says Arvin Mayor José Gurrola. “These electric cars provide a vital service in helping to reduce air pollution, increase access to clean energy technology, and offer additional community transportation options for community members to get where they need to go — efficiently and affordably.”
Future Plans Though the program is relatively new, Míocar will soon be expanding in Arvin, thanks to frequent participation and positive feedback from residents. Approved drivers will have access to gaselectric hybrid vans, which will carry more passengers and can be used to transport equipment or move into a new home. The City of Arvin is working to increase access to clean transportation options by connecting community members with EV incentives and pursuing grant funding for EV chargers, electric buses, and other innovative mobility services made possible through technology and community partnerships. ■
Nicole Enright is an associate program manager for the Institute for Local Government and can be reached at email@example.com. www.westerncity.com
Western City, June 2020
Cyberattacks and Public Agency Response, continued from page 5
These attacks on the cities of Las Vegas, New Orleans, San Marcos, and Baltimore, and the coordinated attack on 22 cities in Texas, are just a sampling of the numerous attacks on cities in recent years.
Types of Cyberattacks A cyberattack is an attack launched from one or more computers against another computer, multiple computers, or networks. There are many types of cyberattacks, but the following techniques are commonly used to infect victims with ransomware, one of the most prevalent kinds of attacks on cities. Email phishing campaigns. The cyberattacker sends an email containing a malicious file or link, which deploys malware when a recipient clicks on it. Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) attacks. RDP allows individuals to control the resources and data of a computer
through the internet. Once they have RDP access, criminals can deploy a range of malware — including ransomware — to targeted systems. Software attacks. Cybercriminals take advantage of security weaknesses in widely used software programs to gain control of targeted systems and deploy ransomware. These attacks can cause significant financial harm to victims. A recent report by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center found that in 2019, cyberattacks cost victims $3.5 billion in losses. While phishing was the most effective method of cyberattacks in 2019 measured by the number of victims, the highest financial losses were caused by compromised business email (referred to in the industry as “business email compromise”).
Notably, California was the state with the most victims and highest financial losses caused by cyberattacks; thus, it is particularly important for cities in California to be on alert. Unsurprisingly, cyberattackers increasingly target mobile devices. Ransomware can infect mobile devices just like it can infect workstations and laptops.
Cybersecurity Best Practices The FBI outlines a number of best practices for cybersecurity, including: • Regularly back up data and verify its integrity. Ensure that backups are not connected to the computers and networks they are backing up; for example, physically store them offline. Backups are critical in fighting ransomware; if your city is infected, backups may be the best way to recover its data.
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Cyberattackers increasingly target mobile devices. • Focus on awareness and training. Because end users are targeted, employees should be made aware of the threat of ransomware and how it is delivered and trained on information security principles and techniques. • Ensure that patches for the operating system, software, and firmware are continually updated on all devices. • Employ best practices for use of RDP, including auditing your network for systems using RDP, closing unused RDP ports, applying two-factor authentication wherever possible, and logging RDP login attempts. • Ensure that anti-virus and anti-malware solutions are set to update automatically and that regular scans are conducted. • Categorize data based on its organizational value, and implement physical and logical separation of networks and data for different organizational units. For example, sensitive data should not reside on the same server and network segment as an organization’s email environment. The FBI also provides these specific recommendations to protect against business email compromise attacks: • Employees should be educated about and alert to this type of scheme. Tools that can be deployed to train employees include webinars, in-person presentations, phishing exercises, and more. • Use secondary channels or two-factor authentication to verify requests for changes in account information. • Ensure the URL in emails is associated with the business it claims to be from. • Be alert to hyperlinks that may contain misspellings of the actual domain name. • Refrain from supplying login credentials or personal identifying information in response to any emails. • Monitor personal financial accounts on a regular basis for irregularities, such as missing deposits.
• Keep all software patches on all systems updated. • Verify the email address used to send emails, especially when using a mobile or handheld device, by ensuring the sender’s email address appears to match who it is coming from. • Ensure that the settings on employee computers are enabled to allow full email extensions to be viewed.
Responding to a Cyberattack When a cyberattack against a city occurs, the city typically engages in a phased response, which includes investigation, containment, remediation, and notification, if appropriate. Although every incident and organization’s response will be unique, some broad considerations for reacting to cyber incidents are offered here. Before a cyberattack occurs, cities should have clear instructions for staff and vendors about what qualifies as a security incident, whom to notify, how to notify, and timing for notification. This can be accomplished in an incident response plan or other written policies. After a qualifying security incident occurs, the city should implement the incident response plan or other written policies as designed. Every city should consider obtaining or purchasing cyber insurance. Upon detecting a qualifying cyber incident, a city that has cyber insurance should notify its cyber insurer immediately, so the city can access the coverage and resources available under its insurance plan. The city must then investigate and contain the incident. Investigation largely falls to the city’s IT Department or an outside forensic investigator. Documenting the investigation and everything that follows, including remediation and notification efforts, helps to preserve a record of what occurred. Obtaining legal counsel
right away may offer the best chances of preserving attorney-client privilege or attorney work-product doctrine over communications and other materials related to the cyberattack. For remediation, the goal is to restore the city to its normal functioning. When a ransomware attack occurs, the best method of restoration — if the city has implemented best practices and has backups — is to restore the city system to normal functioning from the backups. Such backups can help protect the city from having to pay a ransom to get its files back. If a cyberattack affects personal information such that it qualifies as a data breach under applicable law, there may also be a requirement to notify affected individuals, the offices of the attorneys general, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights, credit agencies, or other agencies. For notification concerns, rely on your attorney’s advice on whether a data breach has occurred under applicable law and then proceed with notification as appropriate.
Conclusion As with other emergencies and crises that affect cities, taking proactive steps is the key to preventing or recovering from a cyberattack. Cities wishing to avoid costly cyberattacks should implement preventive measures with an emphasis on best practices and employee education, purchase cyber insurance, and ensure that an incident response plan and other written policies related to such attacks are in place. ■
Looking for Footnotes? For a fully footnoted version, read this article online at www.westerncity.com.
Western City, June 2020
This illustration shows single-family housing on the left, larger apartment/ condo buildings on the right, and missing middle housing types in the center.
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How to Ensure That Missing Middle Housing Is Not Missing From Your City’s Policy, Planning, and Zoning by Daniel Parolek and Tony Perez Over the past 10 years, cities and towns nationwide have been taking a step back and rethinking the way they plan and zone to address the growing need for housing. In California, the trend is more significant because of the massive demand for homes. Part of this rethinking involves “missing middle” housing, which continues to attract the attention of a wide range of communities and individuals. Three key reasons account for the appeal of missing middle housing: it’s a simple approach, it addresses housing choice at the human scale, and best of all, it fits in or near existing neighborhoods far better than large apartment buildings. Missing middle housing types such as duplexes, fourplexes, five- to 10-unit mansion apartments, cottage courts, and courtyard
apartments were once — and can be again — an important part of the solution to the housing shortage and could be in every city’s toolbox.
Defining Missing Middle Housing Missing middle housing is the range of multi-unit or clustered housing types between single-family houses and larger apartment buildings. Unlike other types of buildings that contain multiple units, missing middle types are all “house scale” — that is to say, compatible in scale with single-family homes. Missing middle housing helps to address the growing demand for walkable communities, respond to shifting household demographics, and meet the need for more housing choices at various price points. Such housing can
be for rent or for sale. If you walk through most neighborhoods built prior to the 1940s, you will likely find a mix of these housing types thoughtfully integrated on blocks that also have single-family homes. You’ll also notice that these housing types were seamlessly integrated into beautiful, desirable neighborhoods that mostly — but not entirely — consisted of singlefamily homes. These neighborhoods also have amenities that residents can walk to, such as shopping, restaurants and coffee shops, services, and transit stops. The term “middle” has a second meaning related to affordability or attainability levels. These types of housing have historically delivered attainable choices to middle-income families without subsidies and continue to play a role in providing
Daniel Parolek is an urban designer and architect with Opticos Design; he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tony Perez is a senior associate at Opticos Design; he can be reached at email@example.com.
League of California Cities
homes that are “affordable by design” to the middle-income market segment, which typically straddles 60 to 110 percent of the average median income (this percentage varies by market). This type of housing is labeled “missing” because little has been built in the past 30 to 40 years nationwide due to barriers and disincentives created by some policy and zoning regulations, with the most frequent barriers being maximum density and parking requirements. Missing middle housing offers a tried and true solution when seeking to address a community’s housing shortage. Cities
large and small throughout California are experiencing a “perfect storm” that is creating a growing gap between the housing choices people want and the choices being delivered. According to a 2017 report from the National Association of Realtors, 30 percent of baby boomers and 60 percent of millennials want to live in walkable communities with easy access to shopping, food, services, and transit. Nationally, 30 percent of all households are single person, one in three Americans
is age 50 or older, and by 2025, 15 million households will devote more than half their income to housing. As League Past President Jan Arbuckle said, “It doesn’t matter if your city is large or small, rural, suburban, or urban, this is a crisis for every community statewide.” (See “Tales From the Dusty Trail: City Voices on Statewide Issues,” October 2019, www.westerncity. com.) It is going to take more than minor tweaks to address the housing crisis. continued
Effective zoning for missing middle housing thoughtfully regulates height, width, and depth to ensure house-scale buildings.
Western City, June 2020
How to Ensure That Missing Middle Housing Is Not Missing From Your City’s Policy, Planning, and Zoning, continued
Understanding Existing Barriers to Missing Middle Housing
law does not require density-based planning and zoning. It is simply one approach.
The barriers to missing middle housing include the limitations of planning and regulating with density, zoning, and new land-use designations in General Plans.
Zoning Is Often a Barrier to Delivering Missing Middle Housing
Planning and Regulating With Density Has Its Limitations Planning and zoning systems for housing in nearly every community are based on allowed density (either dwelling units per acre or the square footage of the lot required for each unit). Although this is an established aspect of the development process, this approach inherently works against the creation of smaller, more affordable units and encourages developers to build the largest units the market will accept, which are often high-end, expensive units. And density raises rather than answers questions about scale and compatibility with existing neighborhoods, because it doesn’t ensure predictable built results, as shown in the photo examples (below) of two buildings with the same densities but very different forms. Contrary to popular belief and prevalent planning practice, California state planning
The major barriers within zoning that prevent missing middle housing include missing zoning districts and metrics based on projects on large sites. Missing zoning districts. Existing zoning districts often jump from allowing one and two units at 35 feet of height to allowing 50-foot-tall, multi-unit buildings with unlimited width and depth. Adding a new zone or two, specifically to enable missing middle housing types, can resolve this issue. The challenge then becomes where to map these new zones. Most often, missing middle housing is most viable in areas currently zoned for single-family homes, or along secondary corridors historically zoned for commercial uses. Metrics based on projects with large sites complicate smaller-lot infill. Individually or in combination, these regulations often encourage the development of single-family homes on small lots zoned for multi-family and rarely allow for achieving the full density allowed by
the zoning district. Regulations typically include densities that are too low, minimum lot sizes that are too large, setbacks that are too large, and off-street parking requirements that are too high.
New Land-Use Designations in General Plans Can Enable Missing Middle Housing Most General Plans, particularly in their housing elements and future land-use designations, assume that high density is synonymous with big buildings. This often results in limiting where “higher density” uses are mapped, due to potential community opposition about size and scale concerns. As a result, land values go up based on the value of a big building. This can complicate the delivery of missing middle housing with similar densities by making it economically infeasible. One solution is to create future land-use categories that are specifically intended to deliver missing middle housing, such as medium-density house scale and highdensity house scale, that allow higher densities but require smaller buildings to achieve those densities, particularly within determined walkable contexts.
The examples on the left demonstrate the unpredictable nature of density as a metric and regulation. The two examples differ in residential density by only one unit per acre, yet are significantly different in their footprint, height, and number of dwellings.
League of California Cities
This two-story courtyard apartment building in midtown Sacramento generates a density of almost 90 dwelling units per acre, illustrating that high densities can be achieved in smaller buildings.
Other opportunities to increase the feasibility of missing middle housing include: • Creating tiers of impact fees to distinguish between a 3,500-squarefoot unit and a 500-square-foot unit, making the development of smaller units more feasible. • Considering options for making changes to construction defect liability, which increases the risk of developing and selling missing middle housing.
Form-Based Approach Reduces Barriers and Delivers More Predictable Results A form-based approach to zoning thoughtfully defines and regulates building form and scale (known as the building envelope), but the allowed number of units within that defined form is kept open ended in compliance with all applicable health, building, and fire codes. Form-based zoning is not a new concept. In 2004, California adopted state legislation (AB 1268, which added Section 65302.4 to the Government Code) that enabled formbased zoning, and over 400 municipalities throughout the country have adopted formbased zoning. To date, most form-based zoning has been applied to mixed-use environments, but it has also been very effective in delivering missing middle housing because form-based zoning has the ability to identify — through size, scale, footprint,
It is going to take more than minor tweaks to address the housing crisis. and lot size — individual building types that are compatible with singlefamily houses. In form-based codes that specifically list the allowed range of missing middle building types in each zoning district, each type is tied to a minimum lot size, thus enabling a density calculation as an output (an ending point with form as the base for regulations). This is in contrast to using density as the input (a starting point and base of regulations) and expecting it to result in the desired form.
How the Concept of Missing Middle Housing Is Being Used in California California has passed many housing bills in recent years. Other than accessory dwelling unit legislation, none of these bills specifically target housing at the missing middle scale. Planning and zoning efforts that focus on the missing middle are flourishing in cities like Paso Robles, Whittier, Hayward, and Grass Valley and are in progress in places such as Davis, Novato, Mountain View, and Marin County. The concept is also being applied by San Diego County, the CASA Compact in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the Sacramento Area Council of Governments in its Housing Policy Toolkit.
Conclusion As League Assistant Legislative Director Jason Rhine said, “Regardless of the causes of the housing supply and affordability crisis, Gov. Newsom, lawmakers, local elected officials, homebuilders, and other stakeholders must partner to find real solutions that meaningfully increase the number of available housing units at all income levels — and reduce the amount of money that hardworking Californians spend on housing.” (See “Housing Supply and Affordability: Challenges for 2019,” March 2019, www.westerncity.com.) Missing middle housing can be instrumental in delivering the needed units at all income levels and in a manner that does not get the pushback that larger buildings do. These missing middle units can play a central role in helping achieve the state’s goal to produce 180,000 new units per year. Planning and zoning systems have not been the most effective in delivering the range of housing choices needed. The challenge is to think creatively and differently about refinements that are necessary in zoning and General Plans to truly enable and create incentives for delivering the range of housing choices that people want and need. The market is waiting. ■
Western City, June 2020
This multi-unit dwelling on Duane Street shows how higher density housing can fit the scale of an existing neighborhood.
Redwood City’s Quest to Bring Back
Missing Middle Housing by Jill Oviatt Solving the housing crisis in California is complicated. “There’s not one silver bullet,” said Redwood City Vice Mayor Shelly Masur. “In order to build more housing — especially affordable housing — we need to explore lots of options, including one particular type of housing that has been missing.”
Also, missing middle housing is more affordable than single-family homes, and this can be important for middle-income families.
Examining Local Housing Issues and Opportunities
“Missing middle” housing is a term used to describe duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes that are compatible in scale with detached single-family homes. In other words, missing middle housing is “housescale buildings with multiple units in walkable neighborhoods.”
The idea for pursuing missing middle housing in Redwood City originated from its Housing and Human Concerns Committee (HHCC), which identified a series of policy areas to address local housing issues. After an ad hoc committee completed initial research, the HHCC requested a joint study session with the planning commission to discuss potential text changes to existing zoning regulations to facilitate missing middle housing.
These housing units are considered missing middle because they have been missing from new construction, which in the past 40 or 50 years has focused on singlefamily homes and mid-rise apartments.
City planners set out to learn more about this missing housing option; they wanted to know more about current barriers to development and opportunities to improve zoning regulations. Throughout
Defining the Term
this process, the planners always kept in mind Redwood City’s existing neighborhood characteristics. They had a keen eye on the types of buildings, aesthetics, and housing patterns, as the overarching goal is to strike a balance between providing more incremental infill density without disrupting the look and feel of neighborhoods. “Fortunately, we knew we didn’t have to reinvent the wheel,” said Apollo Rojas, a senior planner with Redwood City. “We looked to other similarly sized cities for best practices and lessons learned.”
Other Cities Offer Helpful Insights Some key lessons from researching missing middle housing initiatives in Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada), Olympia, Minneapolis, and Livermore reinforced the importance of having a strong community engagement plan,
Jill Oviatt is director of communications and marketing for the League and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
League of California Cities
streamlining the permit process to encourage construction, and providing general design guidelines so every missing middle housing complex doesn’t look the same. “We also learned that language and context are really important,” added Rojas. “It’s important for residents and stakeholders to understand that we’re not trying to rezone or upzone areas. We need to explain clearly that we’re looking at making some minor text changes to current zoning regulations to allow our city’s housing units to meet market demand. At the end of the day, we’re all concerned about housing affordability and attainment, so we’re just trying to think about zoning in more flexible terms.”
Identifying Barriers and Addressing Challenges Through research and discussions with homeowners, city staff identified four main barriers to facilitating missing middle housing: 1. Minimum lot size. 2. Minimum lot width. 3. Parking requirements. 4. Minimum open space.
Staff also identified a major challenge: Due to zoning changes implemented in the 1960s, many of the lots in older neighborhoods rarely have the minimum width currently required for missing middle housing. The city is also looking at current parking requirements, including covered parking that costs more to construct and takes up more space than uncovered spaces.
Exploring Potential Solutions Reducing the minimum lot size for a duplex from 7,500 square feet to 5,000 square feet and reducing minimum lot size for a triplex from 10,000 square feet to 7,500 square feet will open up many possibilities. Under the current zoning regulations, over 75 percent of existing lots in Redwood City are too small for a duplex and fewer than 10 percent are large enough for three or more units. In addition, revising current openspace requirements will help incentivize developments with additional bedrooms that are more suitable for families. For example, under current zoning regulations, a triplex with two-bedroom units would require 1,200 square feet of open space, which is 825 square feet more than is required for the same project in a mixed-use district.
“We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from residents indicating that they want to add a bedroom or a half-bathroom, but under the current zoning they can’t,” explained Rojas. “As elderly parents move in with their children or college-age kids move back home, families want options to expand their living spaces. We especially saw an uptick in these requests when the recent stay-at-home orders rapidly started to change the way families live together.” When looking at which areas of Redwood City would be suitable for missing middle housing, staff considered three factors: 1. Existing General Plan and zoning designation. 2. Current development patterns. 3. Proximity to public transit.
Restrictions on Meetings Affect Outreach Efforts Originally, city staff expected to be able to begin the next phase of outreach, which typically includes public hearings, workshops, media outreach, and sharing information at community events. But with COVID-19 and the understanding that state legislation to advance housing elements is potentially pending, the timeline for the outreach stage has been
An apartment building on Birch Street blends with the surrounding homes and offers an example of missing middle housing.
Redwood City’s Quest to Bring Back Missing Middle Housing, continued
These examples illustrate how apartments and duplexes can increase density without disrupting the neighborhood’s look and feel.
delayed. Expecting that restrictions will continue to be in place for in-person meetings, city staff are brainstorming creative ways to inform residents, contractors, developers, and nonprofit partners about the proposed changes and solicit their feedback.
“We always try to meet people where they are,” said Rojas. “We usually distribute information at the farmers markets and the courthouse square. But the COVID-19 pandemic has changed things, and we are looking at doing online coffee talks and virtual workshops. Sharing information on social media and our
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website has always been important, and we’ll continue to use digital communication to make sure everyone is aware of what we’re trying to do.”
Looking Ahead to Encourage Housing Development While not all of the parcels in the study area will convert to missing middle housing, Rojas says he believes this type of development will help reshape urban living, and it’s an important way to help to keep residents in Redwood City. “We’re always looking ahead to see what we can do on the regulatory side to encourage more housing,” said Rojas. “We’ve been exploring the idea of missing middle housing for a few years, and we think this solution will help propel our city as a leader in creating much-needed housing on the peninsula.” After it’s finalized, the missing middle housing proposal will need to be approved by the city council. To date, city leaders have been supportive.
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“Anytime you’re talking about encouraging incremental infill density, it fits within the city council’s strategic initiatives,” said Vice Mayor Masur. “Our hope is that through this process, homeowners will be able to reinvest in their properties and incrementally increase density while maintaining the character of their neighborhoods. Collectively, we need to increase housing options for both renters and owners, at all income levels, and missing middle housing is a missing link to help Redwood City meet its share of regional housing growth.” ■ www.cacities.org
The city’s youth commissioners lead the program and assist seniors.
South Pasadena Teens Provide Tech Expertise to Senior Community Located in the West San Gabriel Valley, the City of South Pasadena (pop. 26,245) has a small-town atmosphere. This community nurtures strong connections, which Community Services Director Sheila Pautsch encourages staff to enhance through organized activities and classes. These activities include Tech Day, a monthly event that provides one-on-one learning sessions for senior citizens with coaching provided by local teens.
Identifying a Community Need for Coaching and Support Approximately 14 percent of South Pasadena’s constituents are 65 years of age or older. In the ever-changing digital environment, the ability to navigate the intricacies of digital devices is increasingly important for all community members. The senior residents of South Pasadena, however, have limited options for learning such skills and bridging the digital divide. Seniors may face challenges in staying abreast of technological opportunities and tools. These challenges include keeping in touch with family and friends via FaceTime, Skype, or Facebook; booking online appointments; and staying informed and engaged with the world around them. Such difficulty in accessing technology can be isolating and frustrating.
When South Pasadena Council Member Diana Mahmud served as a council liaison to the city’s Youth Commission, she recognized seniors’ need for assistance with tech issues and challenged the youth commissioners to resolve the matter. “I knew we had bright, engaged, and generous young people on the commission,” said Mahmud. “I asked them to reflect on how they were able to help their grandparents or parents learn how to send emails or use a smartphone, and they readily understood how they might be able to help. The program has been very successful, giving our youth commissioners a sense of personal fulfillment, and benefiting our seniors who have learned new tech skills.”
Youth Commissioners Step Up The Youth Commission, which is composed of middle school and high school students, spearheads Tech Day in partnership with the staff at the city’s Senior Center. The youth commissioners volunteer their time, skills, and knowledge to assist seniors in gaining confidence operating a variety of devices. This enthusiastic spirit of volunteerism is an essential element of the program’s success. In conjunction with the service, the city staff provides both youths and seniors a comfortable learning environment conducive to fostering intergenerational kinship. continued on page 22
The City of South Pasadena won the Ruth Vreeland Award for Engaging Youth in City Government of the 2019 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program. For more about the award program, visit www.helenputnam.org.
Western City, June 2020
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The City of Santa Cruz is seeking an experienced professional and skilled strategist to serve as the Finance Director, the City’s top financial advisor and a key resource for high level guidance and decision making. Qualified candidates will have a minimum of seven (7) years experience of increasing responsibility including at least three (3) years of management experience in a similar setting. Senior management experience in a municipality is desirable. A Bachelor’s degree in business or public administration, accounting, finance, economics, or related discipline is required; a Master’s degree is preferred. The City of Santa Cruz (population 65,021) is located in one of the most beautiful areas in California on the sunny, northern side of the Monterey Bay. Situated between magnificent redwood-forested mountains and the white-capped splendor of the Pacific Ocean, Santa Cruz is one of California’s most popular seaside resorts, with twenty-nine miles of beaches and the historic Beach Boardwalk seaside amusement park. The annual salary range for the incoming Finance Director is $155,292-$198,144, DOQ. If you are interested in this outstanding opportunity, please visit our website at www.bobmurrayassoc.com to apply online. Please contact Mr. Gary Phillips at (916)784-9080, should you have any questions. Filing Deadline: June 26, 2020 ph. 916.784.9080, fax 916.784.1985
City of El Segundo, California
Public Works Director
The City of El Segundo is located on the Santa Monica Bay and encompasses over five square miles, spanning from the Los Angeles International Airport on the north, the City of Manhattan Beach on the south, the Pacific Ocean on the west and the unincorporated area of Del Aire along Aviation Boulevard on the east. The city’s population is approximately 16,500, which has enabled the community to preserve its small-town intimacy and charm. As a regional center for commerce, El Segundo’s daytime population exceeds 70,000. The El Segundo Public Works Department delivers the highest quality services to the residents and businesses by providing outstanding service; maintaining City facilities and public infrastructure and delivering the projects in the City’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) in a safe, logical, and cost-effective manner. The City is seeking a collaborative Public Works Director with strong leadership skills and proven management capabilities to effectively oversee and guide the Public Works Department towards established goals. At a minimum, candidates must possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major coursework in Public Administration, Organizational Behavior, Business Management, or a related field, and have six (6) years of responsible administrative experience administering public works operations. The monthly salary for the Public Works Director is $13,414 - $16,098, dependent on the qualifications and experience. If you are interested in this outstanding opportunity, please visit our website at www.bobmurrayassoc.com to apply online. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Gary Phillips at (916) 784-9080. Filing Deadline: June 12, 2020 ph. 916.784.9080, fax 916.784.1985
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South Pasadena Teens Provide Tech Expertise to Senior Community, continued from page 19
The city’s Community Services Supervisor Liliana Torres oversees the Senior Center. Torres observed firsthand how the coaching sessions make a difference. “For years, our seniors have grappled with using their tablets and phones,” said Torres. “They often came to the Senior Center seeking help with turning on their device or sending an email to a loved one. This program is phenomenal because it addresses their concerns and equips them with skills to be both independent and engaged.”
Program Yields Positive Results The seniors and youth commissioners have forged a connection, and the seniors have become more confident in using their digital devices. This mutually beneficial program is increasingly popular; it bridges the digital divide while creating common ground and fostering intergenerational communication. Participants benefit from the exchange of ideas and knowledge. Sachiko, a longtime participant in the Tech Day program, openly shared her sentiment about the program. “Computers are hard to learn, and I didn’t have the confidence,” she said. “I hesitated to
A youth volunteer explains browser functions to a South Pasadena resident.
go to school to learn because I am a foreigner. However, here I feel comfortable because the youths are loving, respectful, and enormously helpful. Now I know how to check my email and online news sources.” As the program helps more seniors actively use technology in their daily lives, the city has increased its use of technology targeting this population. This free intergenerational program saves money for the older population, brings the community together, and preserves the quality of life for South Pasadena’s senior residents. Contact: Sheila Pautsch, community services director; phone: (626) 403-7362; email: firstname.lastname@example.org. ■
Assistant City Manager City of Antioch, CA
he City of Antioch (pop. 113,000) is the second largest municipality in Contra Costa County; the City offers endless outdoor activities and is a thriving business hub. Antioch is one of the few Bay Area communities with diverse and reasonably priced housing. The Assistant City Manager will support the City Manager in providing direction and facilitating the coordination of activities across all departments. Antioch is a full-service city supported by approximately 360 FTE and a FY2019-20 General Fund budget of $68.7 million. The ideal candidate will be an action-oriented leader who welcomes a diversity of projects and can effectively collaborate with staff and community partners to produce results. An experienced project manager with an adaptable management style, he/she will also have the proven ability to effectively pivot when necessary. Ten years of progressively responsible experience in municipal government, including five years of management and supervisory experience as well as a Bachelor’s degree is required. A Master’s degree is desirable. Salary range $174,840 - $212,520; city also provides 5% deferred compensation contribution; salary is supplemented by an attractive benefits package. Visit www.tbcrecruiting.com for detailed brochure and latest information.
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