The San Diego City Council Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee on Sept. 28 voted to support a proposed draft smoking ordinance addressing multifamily housing. The committee agreed with the SDCAA and other stakeholders that a better approach to limiting or prohibiting smoking on multifamily properties is to require disclosure of the property's smoking policy to prospective tenants. The proposed ordinance is similar to an SDCAA supported state law that codified a property owner's right to limit or ban smoking, but would require the property owner to disclose their smoking policies to prospective residents. The ordinance will eventually go to the full city council later this fall. The SDCAA will report back on the full council's decision and the next steps if approved.
The SDCAA last Wednesday attended a San Diego City Council Rules Committee hearing to testify in opposition to a draft ordinance that would place additional restrictions and regulations on mini dorms. Some of the proposed regulations would apply to all single family homes in the city. The SDCAA at the hearing contended that adding more regulations to an existing failed ordinance is not the right approach. Read more...
The San Diego City Council Rules Committee this past April held a special meeting to discuss nuisance rental housing (mini-dorms) in the College Area. In that hearing, College Area residents presented a proposed ordinance recommending a moratorium on room additions, placing a limit on the number of bedrooms in a single family home, requiring these properties to have an on-site resident manager if it had code violations, and requiring a Process Four Conditional Use Permit for homes prior to building or remodeling that would have five or more bedrooms among other suggestions.
The SDCAA attended the meeting to oppose the proposal and requested that stakeholders representing all perspectives have more time to analyze the proposal. Staff from District 9 Councilmember Marti Emerald’s office used the presenters’ recommendations to draft an ordinance. In effort to amend or eliminate San Diego’s existing Residential High Occupancy Permit (RHOP) ordinance, the SDCAA began meeting with the College Area Renters and Landlords Association (CARLA), homeowners, and other stakeholders to address the proposed ordinance and its impact on the City’s Land Development Code. CARLA decided that it would no longer participate and chose to oppose the ordinance and requested that a subcommittee be formed to work on the issue. During this time a new ordinance called the College Area Community Character Preservation Ordinance was released. Unfortunately, the new draft ordinance includes a new overlay zone that extends far beyond from the College Area, limitations on room additions, amongst other things.
The city’s Code Monitoring Team (CMT) and Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), SDCAA is a member of both committees, reviewed the draft ordinance and recommended that the process be slowed down, and that the CMT form a subcommittee to review the draft ordinance for conflicts with the city’s existing code. The San Diego City Council’s Rules Committee is scheduled to hear the item on August 3rd, but the CMT is encouraging Council Member Marti Emerald to delay the hearing on the draft ordinance.
Click here to read the draft ordinance.
*Update: June 29, 2016
The Vista City Council this week adopted a Crime Free Housing ordinance which could require some apartment complexes with a high number police or fire service calls to enroll in San Diego County's Crime-Free Multi-Housing program - Read more. Molly Kirkland, SDCAA Director of Public Affairs, attended the city council hearing and shared concerns regarding the definition of service calls, the implementation date of the ordinance and the fees associated when required to participate. One property owner also testified and shared similar concerns. As a result, a motion was made for city staff to come up with a list of exemptions so calls not related to criminal activity don’t count against a property. Also, instead of the ordinance going into effect in 30 days, it will go into effect in 60 days allowing more time for proper notification to property owners and managers. Lastly, the ordinance will be reviewed in one year and if not reauthorized by the council, it will sunset. This will also allow for review of the annual participation fees.
The Vista City Council will be hearing a proposed ordinance on Tuesday, June 28, which will require certain apartment communities to participate in the crime-free program if they are found to have a significant amount of calls for service.
SDCAA Public Affairs staff attended an informational meeting on Thursday, June 24, to learn more and ask questions about the proposed ordinance. SDCAA expressed concern with the service call threshold as it doesn't differentiate between calls for crimes and medical needs. Additionally, it doesn't take into consideration calls for service that originate from the property but are not associated with a crime or emergency at the property. For example, if a number of residents call 911 because there is a fire across the street, the calls will be attributed to the residents' property.
However, once a property is identified as having a high level of calls for service, city staff will conduct a review of the calls to determine if they were indeed crime-related. A property owner or manager will also have the opportunity to appeal a decision under the ordinance.
Here is what you need to know:
SDCAA also expressed that the inspection conducted should only consist of items related to crime and not over-reach into areas such as required pool signage related to health issues, as the County already conducts pool inspections.
The council hearing begins at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 28 at Vista City Hall, located at 200 Civic Center Drive, Vista, CA 92084. Those wishing to speak about the ordinance should fill out a speaker slip and reference Item D-1. Letters may be submitted for the record by sending them to email@example.com.
Click here for a link to the staff report and draft ordinance.
The San Diego City Council Rules Committee in April held a special meeting to discuss nuisance rental housing (mini-dorms) in the College Area. Councilmember Marti Emerald, who represents the 9th District and the College Area, presented a draft ordinance created by her office with input from residents who are concerned with the impacts that mini-dorms are having on their neighborhoods. The report referred to the excessive noise, trash and trash cans left out at properties, and front and side yards being paved over for parking. Some of the proposals include requiring a Process Four Conditional Use Permit prior to building or remodeling a house resulting in a total of five or more bedrooms, limiting the amount of back or side-yard space that could be used as parking, and to temporarily prohibit the land uses that would be regulated by the new ordinance.
SDCAA attended the meeting and expressed concerns with the draft ordinance that was presented and asked that the issue be vetted more by stakeholders on all sides. The draft ordinance was just a starting point and the committee did not take a vote on the proposed language. The committee requested that the City Attorney’s office work with Councilmember Emerald’s staff and other city departments, such as Development Services and the Independent Budget Analyst, to draft an ordinance and bring that back in 90 days. SDCAA has already scheduled a meeting with staff from Councilmember Emerald’s office and a few SDCAA members who operate mini-dorms to share input. SDCAA acknowledges that this type of housing does present challenges, but believes that by working with members who run their properties well and in compliance with existing law, many of the community’s concerns can be addressed. SDCAA also is committed to working with the community to address the need for additional housing near San Diego State University.
Encinitas is in trouble and likely to be sued again for not abiding by the state’s density bonus law. Enacted in 1979, the state’s Density Bonus Law allows builders to build more dwelling units on a property if they agree to add subsidized units to the project. The law also allows the builder to deviate from city planning requirements as long as they develop the affordable units. But affordable and private developers complain that Encinitas has been circumventing the law.
Encinitas has been complicit in rounding down, rather than rounding up, when calculating the number of affordable units developers can add to a project. In spite of the recommendations by city officials to round up, the Encinitas City Council continues to interpret the density bonus law differently. Encinitas is also required to submit its Regional Housing Needs Assessment Plan on how it plans to accommodate 1,300 additional affordable units within the next several years; the city hasn’t updated its plan since 1992. Last year, Encinitas unveiled four options over where it will locate the future units. Encinitas risks losing state grant funding if it fails to submit its plan to the state.
Recently, SDCAA shared a news piece regarding rent control in the City of San Diego. The piece was about a San Diego resident initiating an online petition calling on San Diego to impose some sort of rent control or limiting rental increases. While there are no rent control proposals at this time, the SDCAA has been closely monitoring the situation and is working to ensure that elected officials understand that imposing artificial controls on the city’s rental market is a flawed policy that will only exacerbate the lack of affordability in the San Diego region.
The San Diego County Apartment Association has long stated there is a need for additional housing units in our region and throughout the state, which have been the topic of several articles shared in recent SDCAA communications. Our industry partners, such as the Building Industry Association of San Diego, have been focused on achieving this very goal. SDCAA also is a member of the Housing You Matters coalition which advocates for regulatory changes that will help decrease the cost of construction. We also strongly urge communities to embrace multifamily housing and add the density of more units where it is appropriate. The reality, as population increases because of the growing birthrate, changes in demographics, and land available for development shrinks, the region must add more multifamily housing units.
Thank you for your continued membership and support of the rental housing industry. We will keep you informed on this topic and others that may impact your business.
A bigger debate is taking shape about future development in the College Area. Whether it is opposition from local residents to the growing number of Rooming Houses or proposed apartment complexes, the City of San Diego, San Diego State University (SDSU), and nearby residents will soon need to address planning in the College Area.
Last November, Councilmember Marti Emerald and a group of College Area residents criticized San Diego’s Rooming House and High Occupancy ordinances before the City Council. They believed the ordinances were not strong enough to limit the growing number of mini-dorms in the College Area and in nearby neighborhoods. Emerald and the residents asked the City Council to adopt stronger rules that would curb new rooming houses, or mini-dorms, in the College Area and nearby communities. The group asked the Council to create a mini-dorm ‘overlay zone’ for the College Area, impose a moratorium on home renovations on single family homes that have four or more bedrooms in the College Area, change off-street parking requirements, and require the annual $1000 fee for houses or apartments with six or more adult occupants be increased considerably. While no action was taken by the City Council, the City Attorney’s office said it will review Emerald’s proposals and bring the issue to the Council’s Smart Growth and Land Use Committee for discussion in the future. To date, the Committee has not discussed the proposals offered by Councilmember Emerald.
Most recently, a group of college area residents filed a lawsuit against City of San Diego, San Diego State University Foundation, and Capstone Development Partners over a proposed 91-unit, 351-bed apartment complex. The resident group accuses San Diego and SDSU of trying to build student housing in disguise of an apartment project, and contests the validity of a 2004 environmental study the city used for another smaller scale project. The group also says the development of the apartment project will cause the residents “irreparable harm” and violates the California Environmental Review ACT (CEQA). So far, the group was successful in getting the developer to reduce the number of units. The court handling the case is expected to make a ruling this July. The SDCAA will continue monitor the situation and report any updates.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer gave his State of the City address before a large audience on January 14. Faulconer summarized the city’s accomplishments of last year and announced several key initiatives for this year. Faulconer’s speech focused on education, recreation, infrastructure, and improving the lives of all San Diegans.
Faulconer touched on some of the city’s major accomplishments in 2015. The city’s successes include the City Council’s unanimous passage of his Climate Action Plan, the opening of a new city fire station for the first time in several years, improving response times of its emergency services, extending library and park hours, building new parks, and passing a salary-benefits package to attract and retain its police officers. He reiterated his commitment to repair a thousand miles of city streets, legally defend the city’s voter-approved pension benefit plan, expansion to the San Diego Convention Center, and keep the Chargers NFL Football Team in San Diego. He also endorsed an infrastructure funding measure proposed by Council Member Mark Kersey, mentioned that the city’s website will be modernized, and that the city will adopt a new Master Parks Plan.
While Mayor Faulconer focused on San Diego’s achievements, he believed the city could do much more to provide opportunities to San Diegans who continue to struggle financially. The mayor announced a program to expand online high school classes for adults who want their high school diploma, labs to expose grade school students to high-tech careers, and a new initiative to house homeless veterans.
“Housing our Heroes” is a new initiative to find apartments for 1,000 homeless veterans this year - there are approximately 1,700 homeless veterans in San Diego County. The San Diego County Apartment Association, San Diego Housing Commission, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, and other organizations will help the Mayor identify available apartments. The initiative will cost $12 million, but Faulconer will ask the City Council to contribute $4 million to start the program; the rest of the money will come federal and state subsidies and other sources.
2016 SDCAA President Jeff Hickox announced a similar initiative to find housing for 200 homeless veterans at the Mark of Excellence Awards Dinner last November, and urged all member property managers and owners to participate. See the article on page XX for more information.
AB 1826 (Chesbro), signed into law October 2014, will be phased in over the next five years beginning in 2016. On April 1, 2016, the law will require businesses and multifamily properties with 5 or more dwelling units that generates enough solid waste per week to arrange for recycling services for their organic waste. The complete timeline of AB 1826 is as follows:
nonhazardous wood waste generated would still be subject to the law. CalRecycle
recommends property owners refer to their city and county government ordinances. A
multifamily dwelling that has four or fewer units is not considered a business and is
exempt from all provisions of the law.
Public housing complexes operated by local Public Housing Authorities that have 5 or more dwelling units are considered multifamily complexes. Mobile homes and RV parks and townhomes considered by the local jurisdiction as single family residences are not subject to AB 1826, unless considered by the jurisdiction as multifamily.
For more information, contact the jurisdiction where your property is located about its recycling programs, or CalRecycle’s Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling (MORe), http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/Recycle/Commercial/Organics/FAQ.htm.