Archive for November, 2011
Recommendations to improve project processing will be heard by the County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday, December 7th. The board appointed Task Force began its work in April and focused on the discretionary land use permitting process and produced 17 recommendations to improve regulatory efficiency. The recommendations include ongoing staff training, an end to redundant plan checks, reform planning group procedures and the creation of an Audit Committee to monitor the regulatory process.
The recommendations were crafted following 16 meetings and multiple interviews with county staff. The Supervisors are expected to accept the report and direct staff to evaluate the findings and report back within 60 days.
The City of San Diego Land Use and Housing Committee accepted a laundry list of recommendations that could fund and create more affordable housing units as part of an Affordable Housing Master Plan. The recommendations were the byproduct of a stakeholder task force that was created after the BIA and the business community strongly objected to an earlier proposal that would have doubled the affordable housing linkage fee paid by commercial/industrial development.
The recommendations are a combination of broad based funding sources and regulatory reforms that could make affordable housing production more economically viable. For two decades, the city has targeted new construction as the primary funding source for its Affordable Housing Trust Fund despite the fact that it was originally designed to have multiple funding sources. The BIA has argued that the reliance on new construction is tantamount to a job tax because it targets job creating commercial and industrial projects. No other city in the region charges such a fee.
The list will be vetted by city staff and is expected to return to committee in January 2012.
The Chula Vista City Council voted to extend the city’s fee deferral program through 2012. First established in 2009, the deferral program allows builders to pay their impact fees at final inspection rather than at the initial building permit stage. Fees can go for tens of thousands of dollars or higher in many cases and the ability to delay payment until the end of the project can now be the determinant factor as to whether or not a project is economically viable. The city reports that the program may have a long term positive impact on city property tax revenues due to the projects that went forward as a result of the fee deferral program.
Deferred fees include Transportation, Park, Drainage, and Sewer.
Cut the red tape and get people back to work was the central theme during a Monday evening workshop on regulatory relief held by the San Diego city council. A nearly full house was on hand for the three hour workshop that focused on ways to improve the city’s regulatory process in an effort to jump start the local economy. The workshop was organized by Council President Tony Young and Councilmember Lorie Zapf and brought out businesses large and small.
The BIA presented a host of recommendations on issues involving project processing and regulatory reforms. BIA Chairman, Russ Haley addressed the council with a list of 20 recommendations designed to stimulate construction activity in the hopes of getting some of the 40,000 unemployed construction workers back to work in San Diego. The list also included a call to expand the fee deferral program to include water and waste water fees and the creation of a ‘Little Hoover Commission’ to explore ways to further improve the land use process.
The city council will consider the proposals as part of their 2012 legislative goals.
The San Diego City Clerk’s Office has just announced that the Comprehensive Pension Reform Initiative has qualified for the June 5, 2012 primary.
The hard fought signature drive – with BIA support – collected over 115,000 valid signatures despite fierce union opposition. The effort blew past the necessary 94,000 signatures needed to qualify. Unions plan to mount a vigorous campaign to defeat the ballot measure leading up to the primary election.
Regulatory relief aimed at improving the city’s business climate will be the subject of a special city council workshop on Monday, November 14th. The council seeks input from business and civic groups as well as the public at large on what the city can do to ease regulations affecting economic development in San Diego.
The BIA will present its regulatory relief package at the 6:00 p.m. hearing and will include a menu of regulatory and fee reform proposals. The association has successfully advocated for fee deferrals, map extensions and project processing improvements as a means to jump-start construction activity that remains at historic lows.
County wide, approximately 4,000 building permits have been issued between January and September this year. That exceeds last year’s total of 3,346 but remains well below the SANDAG average of 10,500 needed to keep pace with population growth. The region last exceeded 10,000 permits in 2005 when 14,000 building permits were issues. Since then the region has averaged 5,700 permits annually.
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