Archive for April, 2011
“The high unemployment rate in the construction industry at 25% of total unemployment is a drag on the regional economy.”
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said high levels of joblessness and home foreclosures are restraining the U.S. recovery and putting many people and communities at risk of being “left behind.” “The broader economy is in a moderate recovery, and we have recently seen some welcome, if gradual, improvement in the labor market,” Bernanke said in a speech today in Arlington, Virginia. “But our economy is far from where we would like it to be, and many people and neighborhoods are in danger of being left behind.” Bernanke’s comments on the economy echoed remarks he made two days earlier at the Fed’s first regular press conference after a monetary policy meeting.
The City of San Diego Land Use and Housing Committee spent the afternoon reviewing changes to its Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance that require builders to provide a portion of their housing units to low income households or pay an ‘in-lieu fee’ to the Housing Commission. The changes were developed in response to a Los Angeles court case that successfully argued that requiring Inclusionary Zoning mandates on rental units violated state law.
Housing Commission staff testified that in order to get around the court ruling the city should no longer offer an ‘in-lieu fee” and instead require everyone to pay an ‘Affordable Housing Fee.” Any applicant who wishes to voluntarily provide 10% of their units to low income families would be granted a waiver from the fee.
The BIA expressed serious concern over the apparent fast-tracking of the ordinance and the 20% fee increase if the changes were adopted. The BIA also urged committee members to require the Housing Commission to meet with industry representatives to review the draft changes in more detail.
The committee took no action on the proposed changes and decided to forward it to the Planning Commission without recommendation. They also directed the Commission to meet with the BIA and other interested stakeholders prior to any council action.
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors took a major step forward toward the final passage of its general plan update. Land owners, the business community and property rights advocates have been dueling with County staff for 13 years over the plan that would direct future growth closer to existing towns and infrastructure and leave vast portions of the back country downzoned.
The day-long hearing had the Supervisors reviewing zoning on a parcel by parcel basis as well as a laundry list of policies that will guide the implementation of the new general plan. The BIA successfully pursued significant policy changes needed to prevent regulatory conflicts throughout to plan, however, backcounty property owners berated the Supervisors for agreeing to downzones as low as one unit on 80 acres. The Farm Bureau challenged the county’s financial plan to provide compensation for farmers who say they will lose property value as a consequence of the downzoning.
At the end of the day, the Supervisors directed staff to continue to speak with landowners who dispute the zoning designations being placed on their land and to return on August 3rd with the necessary documents for final consideration of the general plan update.
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