Archive for 2010
An ordinance that would subject downtown hotel development to additional regulatory scrutiny was unanimously rejected by the San Diego Planning Commission. The ordinance is being pushed by the hotel union, Unite Here and would require hotel projects that fall under the regulatory authority of the Center City Development Corporation, (CCDC) to return to the city council for final approval. CCDC is a public, non-profit corporation created by the San Diego City Council to oversee downtown redevelopment.
The union hopes to bring hotel projects back to the city council where they feel they have more union support to pursue higher hotel wages and even project labor agreements. (more…)
Following his unanimous selection as President of the San Diego City Council, Tony Young has announced his council committee appointments. District 1 Councilmember Kevin Faulconer was named Council President Pro Tem and along with the regular committee assignments, Young created an Ad Hoc committee to evaluate redevelopment practices and will make a recommendation on a new redevelopment executive director. The Ad Hoc redevelopment committee will be chaired by Councilmember Todd Gloria with Councilmember Marti Emerald as Vice Chair and will include Councilmembers Faulconer and Alvarez.
The makeup of the city’s standing committees is as follows:
Committee on Rules, Open Government and Intergovernmental Relations
Vice Chair: Faulconer
Members: Sherri Lightner, Todd Gloria, Marti Emerald.
Committee on Land Use and Housing
Vice Chair: Gloria
Members: Faulconer, David Alvarez
Committee on Natural Resources and Culture
Vice Chair: Carl DeMaio
Members: Lightner, Lorie Zapf
Committee on Public Safety and Neighborhood Services
Vice Chair: Zapf
Members: Gloria, Alvarez
Committee on Budget and Finance
Vice Chair: DeMaio
Members: Lightner, Faulconer, Emerald
Vice Chair: DeMaio
The San Diego Planning Commission will consider changes to the downtown Planned District Ordinance that would require hotel projects to go through additional regulatory scrutiny by the San Diego City Council in order to get approval. For over 30 years downtown hotel projects have fallen under the jurisdiction of the Center City Development Corporation, a public non-profit corporation created by the city of San Diego to oversee downtown redevelopment projects.
The PDO changes are sought by local union groups in the hopes of attaching project labor agreements and union operated hotel requirements on future hotel development by getting these projects in front of the more union friendly city council. However, union candidates were routinely thumped in the November election and with two new councilmembers, union influence on the council is not what is used to be.
If approved, CCDC approved hotel projects between 100 and 200 rooms could be appealed to the city council. Hotels of more than 200 rooms would require both CCDC and city council approval. The duplicative regulatory review increases the uncertainty and time of the project review process that has been the cornerstone of the downtown renaissance. An independent economic analysis reports that the city risks loosing up to $100 million in tax revenue over the next ten years if the new process is adopted.
The Planning Commission will hear the proposed ordinance on Thursday, December 16th at 9:00 a.m.
Citing the need to protect property rights and property values, the Oceanside city council voted down a move to reduce the building height limit inside the city’s coastal zone.
The 3 – 2 vote thwarted an attempt to drop the limit from 35 feet to 27 feet. Councilmembers Jerry Kern, Jack Feller and newcomer Gary Felien voted to retain building heights at 35 feet while Mayor Jim Woods and Councilmember Esther Sanchez wanted to see it lowered.
An earlier ordinance setting the height at 27 feet fell by the wayside after being invalidated by the Coastal Commission due to a lack of certification.
The change would have also imposed greater building setback requirements further reducing the development footprint. Maintaining the 35-foot height will allow for greater design flexibility for new construction and remodels.
Felien’s election in November solidified a probusiness and property rights council majority in Oceanside that includes Kern and Feller.
After 3 contentious days of public testimony on the County General Plan update, the controversial land use plan is now squarely in the lap of the Board of Supervisors. Hundreds of people – mostly in opposition – spoke during the public hearing on issues ranging from the down zoning of 400,000 acres of private property to the lack of clarity on whether clustering will be permitted by community groups. Clustering is an essential component to the plan’s vision to direct future growth in the unincorporated area closer to existing towns and infrastructure. Following public testimony, the Supervisors raised numerous questions and concerns to staff involving ground water availability, fire safety and spot zoning. Staff was directed to post responses to each concern raised during the testimony on the county’s website no later than January 4, 2011. The next official hearing on the General Plan update is scheduled for February 9, 2011.
Holding to its original 5 – 3 vote, the San Diego City Council voted to override Mayor Jerry Sanders’ veto of an ordinance that would make it nearly impossible for Walmart to build a Supercenter store in San Diego. The council chamber was packed with union activists and Walmart supporters and was at times raucous prompting a threat by Council President Ben Hueso to clear the chamber if people did not settle down. The emergency meeting was called to override Sanders’ veto of the ordinance before the two new council members were sworn in because of union fears that they would lose their 5 vote council majority. Newcomers Lorie Zapf and David Alvarez will be seated on Monday. Walmart officials are weighing options which include going to the voters to override the ban.
As promised, Mayor Jerry Sanders has vetoed an ordinance passed by the San Diego City Council that would make it nearly impossible to build Supercenter stores within city limits. In a memo to the city council, the mayor stated that it was not the city’s role to determine where consumers may shop and raised concerns on how the council sidestepped the normal regulatory process in order to pass the ordinance before the new city councilmembers are sworn in on December 6th.
The ordinance, pushed by Councilmember Todd Gloria at the behest of organized labor, would have established such severe requirements for Supercenters that the city’s Independent Budget Analyst said would result in a de facto ban on supercenter stores.
On a 5 – 3 vote, the council approved the ordinance on November 16th with Councilmembers Martin Emerald, Donna Frye, Ben Hueso, Tony Young and Todd Gloria voting yes and Councilmembers Sherri Lightner, Kevin Faulconer and Carl DeMaio voting no. The ordinance was seen by many as an organized labor move to block non-union Walmart from competing against union operated grocery stores in San Diego.
The City Council will hold an emergency hearing on December 2nd to vote on an override the Mayor’s veto. Since only 5 votes are needed an override seems all but certain.
The County Board of Supervisors will again take up the General Plan Update on December 8th and bring to a close more than three days of mostly negative testimony on the controversial plan that will downzone more than 400,000 acres of private property.
The San Diego City Council is expected to meet on December 2nd to overturn an expected mayoral veto of the anti-big box ordinance which council passed on November 16th. The ordinance is aimed at Walmart Supercenter stores and was pushed by union activists who have a long standing feud with the non-union retail giant.
Unions also have a hand in efforts to change the downtown Planned District Ordinance (PDO) to require additional regulatory scrutiny of hotels beyond CCDC approval which guides development in the city’s urban core. The San Diego Planning Commission is scheduled to hear the proposed changes to the PDO on December 16th. Hotel unions hope to change the PDO in an effort to improve their chances for project labor agreements and union-only operated hotels by getting hotel projects before the union friendly city council.
Last evening, well over 400 members and guests came out to celebrate the industry and its new Board leadership at the La Jolla Marriott. The well-attended and sold out event was made possible through underwriting provided by at least eight financial institutions. The membership was treated to a delightful skit produced and directed by Dawn Davidson of Design Line Interiors.
In addition, twelve prominent builders and developers made a brief appearance on stage and provided an up beat market assessment for 2011. Many members commented afterwards that the event was one of BIA’s best in years. A big thank you to staff and our volunteers for making this a most memorable evening. Watch for more reviews in the upcoming days.
Supercenters looking to do business in the City of San Diego will have to prove their worthiness under new rules passed by the city council. Before a packed council chamber of union activists who made no secret of their disdain for the non-union Walmart, the city council voted 5 to 3 to require that a series of strict findings be met before any supercenter could be built within city limits. Opponents of the ordinance, including the BIA, argued that the findings were designed to be so rigorous that they would be unachievable thereby resulting in a de facto ban on supercenters. Councilman Tony Young successfully pushed for amendments in an attempt to take some of the sting out of the findings but most saw the changes to be too subtle to make any meaningful difference. And while just the day before several councilmembers railed against CCDC for doing an end around the process to obtain an increase in the redevelopment funding cap – most, including councilmembers Marti Emerald and Donna Frye, had no problem with their own end around process on the supercenter ordinance in order to beat the new council from being seated which would have threatened their chances of success with the arrival of two new freshman councilmembers. The supercenter ordinance did not go through a standard review by the Development Services Department, the Code Monitoring Team, or the Technical Advisory Committee. Several members of the city’s Planning Commission had harsh words for Councilman Todd Gloria, the architect of the ordinance, for failure to follow the city’s standard review process that has been in place since the adoption of the Land Development Code more than 10 years ago. The public criticism had little effect on Gloria, Emerald, Frye, Young and Hueso who all voted for the ordinance. Councilmembers Faulconer, DeMaio and Lightner voted no. Mayor Jerry Sanders is expected to issue a veto in the next few days with a council hearing to override his veto scheduled for early December.
You are currently browsing the Building Industry Association of San Diego blog archives for the year 2010.