Posts Tagged ‘Land Use and Housing Committee’
The City of San Diego Land Use and Housing Committee unanimously approved an industry backed program that regulates wetland impacts. The plan — 15 years in the making — establishes regulatory conditions for wetland mitigation in three circumstances: an essential public project, economic hardships or superior biological projects.
The plan is intended to bring regulatory certainty to projects that may result in modest wetland impacts that in the past have resulted in lengthy and costly delays. It is modeled after the Multiple Species Conservation Program that established specific mitigation requirements for environmental impacts of selected species and habitats rather than on a case by case basis that added months or years to the project approval process. The mitigation plan also received approval from state and federal agencies.
The plan now goes to the full city council for approval. A hearing date has yet to be scheduled.
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.
Was was expected to be a routine extension of the City of San Diego’s fee deferral program hit a snag at the Land Use and Housing Committee when a City Attorney opinion questioned the way the city collects fees for new development. The city splits the collection process between traditional development impact fees (DIFs) and Facilities Benefit Assessments (FBAs). Currently, DIFs are fees paid by project applicants for impacts associated with their development for things such as traffic, sewer, water, and parks. They are subject to the state’s mitigation fee act to ensure the amounts charged are fair. FBAs are liens recorded against each property within an established benefit area to pay for a host of public projects such as fire stations and libraries but have not been subjected to mitigation fee act review. The City Attorney memo suggests that the FBAs should follow mitigation fee act requirements or be subject to Prop 218 restrictions which call for a public vote on tax increases.
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 City of San Diego Land Use and Housing Committee voted to approve a plan that will ultimately lead to the doubling of the housing linkage fee paid by commercial and industrial projects. The fee is calculated on a square foot basis and can add tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in construction costs on non-residential development. Under the plan, the fee increases would be phased starting in two years and would essentially double after five years. Thereafter, an automatic escalator based on the Engineering News Record would be used annually to adjust the fee.
A broad business coalition turned out in mass to oppose the linkage fee increase calling it nothing more than a stealth ‘Jobs Tax’ since it targets job creating businesses. The committee voted 3-1 on a motion by Councilmember Todd Gloria to forward the plan to the full council for consideration.
In an effort to address business concerns over the fee increase, Councilmember David Alvarez added an amendment that could lead to the reduction or elimination of the linkage fee altogether if a broad based funding source can be identified. However, there appeared to be little appetite from councilmembers on asking the voters for new taxes to go toward affordable housing.
The committee directed a Task Force led by the BIA and Housing Federation to return in 120 days with a menu of incentives and regulatory reforms that could led to the creation of more affordable housing.
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