Archive for September, 2009
The BIA of San Diego raised more than $60,000 over the weekend in its second annual Furniture Fantasy sale of furnishings drawn from area model home complexes. More than 1,000 people, some lining up at 4:00 a.m., attended the sale at a Kearny Mesa warehouse Saturday, where hundreds of couches, bedspreads, framed pieces of art and objects were offered at sometimes 90 percent or more off the retail price. The proceeds will benefit the BIA Cares charity. Source: Union Tribune; Roger Showley
Industry and political leaders alike got together at the Del Sur Ranch House in a strong show of support for the goals and accomplishments of the BIA Political Action Committee. The BIA-PAC Annual Fall Fundraiser drew its largest crowd ever for an evening of good food and good conversation with several local political leaders. San Diego Mayor, Jerry Sanders was joined by councilmembers Kevin Faulconer, and Tony Young for the evening reception at the Ranch House recognized with a Builders Choice Award for Green Design. Oceanside Councilman, Jerry Kern, Chula Vista Mayor, Cheryl Cox and San Marcos Mayor, Jim Desmond were also in attendance to hear first hand that the building industry – while weathering some rough economic times – remains anchored in San Diego as demonstrated by its 70 year history.
County Supervisors Ron Roberts, Bill Horn and Greg Cox attended as well and had a chance to catch up with old friends and meet new ones as part of the BIA’s Y-Gen Committee. The evening was informal and absent of the traditional speeches that accompany typical fund raising events.
Proceeds from the event will be used to support candidates committed to economic recovery and job creation in the 2010 campaign season.
The City of San Diego Land Use and Housing Committee spent the better part of the afternoon discussing the rules governing historic preservation. The four-hour marathon covered a variety of topics including Mills Act Reforms, the creation of conservation areas and incentives to protect historic resources. Much of the testimony from residents and planning group participants focused on the desire not to wait for community plan updates to create conservation areas. Once adopted, conservation areas would establish additional restrictions on development and redevelopment to preserve ‘community character.’ Councilmembers were concerned about the subjective nature of policy that could lead to confusion and directed staff to return with guidelines for committee consideration.
The committee also called for additional public information to be placed on the city’s web site and to extend the public input comment period from 5 to 10 days. It also voted to require additional input from local individuals and historic preservation groups to determine a building’s historic value.
At a time when the City of Chula Vista struggles to close multi-million dollar budget deficits with service cuts and layoffs, the city council will consider early adoption of the California Green Building Code Standards.
The bulk of the standards are scheduled to go into effect statewide in January 2011 with the new plumbing standards that require a 20% reduction in water usage set to go into affect in July 2011. Chula Vista’s adoption of the ordinance would make these standards effective immediately.
The other green initiative under consideration by the City is a requirement for new residential construction to exceed the 2008 Title 24 Energy Code by 20 percent. The City’s Board of Appeals and Advisors will discuss the new requirements tonight and make a recommendation to the City Council.
If adopted, Chula Vista will have the most aggressive building codes in the state. Both of these efforts will increase the cost of new construction at a time when the industry struggles to find its financial footing in the wake of 40,000 job losses.
The BIA is urging the city to take an incentive based approach to allow our industry to transition into these more aggressive energy and green building standards.
San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio painted a sober picture of the city’s financial prospects at the BIA North County Breakfast.
Speaking to a full house of industry members at the Del Mar Hilton, the freshman councilman said the city’s present financial practices are ‘unsustainable’ unless meaningful reforms are enacted promptly. DeMaio, who represents District 6, said the city is facing budget deficits in excess of $100 million dollars and unless there are reforms to the city’s pension system and health care – the two line items will consume more than 50 percent of the payroll budget in the years ahead.
DeMaio’s has long supported the BIA’s focus on local economic incentives to jumpstart the construction industry citing the benefits to the city and its residents. With 40,000 industry workers unemployed, he agrees that more can be done to help get people back to work.
He also spoke of the need to improve the city’s business environment through regulatory and fiscal reforms. While San Diego has implemented fee deferrals as a financial incentive for new development – it has also considered fee increases that could negate some development opportunities.
DeMaio said the council has to do more beyond the recent 6% salary reductions if it is to restore the city’s fiscal health.
BIA gains another important win. Last night, in the face of opposition from community activists and local environmentalists, the City of Oceanside passed an Impact Fee Deferral Ordinance on a vote of 3-2, with Councilwoman Ester Sanchez and Mayor Jim Wood voting no. Impact Fee Deferrals are a key economic stimulus measure for the construction industry, reducing the capital needed to begin construction projects and allowing projects to save thousands in financing costs. In this way, it serves as a job creator by getting projects moving.
The ordinance will allow the deferral of impact fees to final inspection or up to 1 year for residential projects or up to 2 years for non-residential projects, whichever comes first. The city will charge an administrative fee of $250 per project and projects will be subject to the fees in effect at the time of payment, as opposed to the time of building permit issuance. This means that if fees are increased or adjusted between the time of building permit issuance and final inspection, applicants that have not paid the impact fees yet will be subject to the potentially higher fees. Impact fees can be paid any time prior to these fee adjustments however and the program is voluntary.
The City of San Diego Land Use and Housing Committee agreed that an increase in the Affordable Housing Linkage fee is unwise right now given the current economic recession – but that did not prevent them from directing staff to prepare the necessary studies to consider a fee increase sometime next year. On a three-to-one vote, with Councilman Kevin Faulconer opposing, the committee directed the Housing Commission to conduct a ‘Nexus’ study that is required under the state’s Mitigation Fee Act before any fee increase can be considered. The Linkage Fee is paid by commercial, industrial, and retail projects with the funds directed to the city’s Housing Trust Fund. A broad business coalition, including the BIA, NAIOP, the San Diego Chamber of Commerce and others challenged the wisdom of higher fees on the business sector at a time when unemployment is at historic highs. In response, the committee did agree to send the nexus results to the Revenue Reform and Economic Competitiveness Committee being pursued by Councilman Tony Young. When established, the RREC will review the city’s financial structure to determine where changes can be made to put the city’s fiscal house in order and gage its economic competitiveness. The Linkage Fee was first established in 1990 with the premise that it would be part of a broad based funding program for the trust fund. However, the city never pursued the additional funding sources, leaving the linkage fee as the key provider of revenues. To date, commercial, industrial and retail projects have paid more than $50 million in linkage fees. The nexus study is expected to be completed by Spring 2010 with committee consideration expected sometime in June.
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