Planning commissioners are dubious about affordable housing bonus plan

Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

And yet, somehow, despite a long list of concerns, the panel seems ready to move this forward.

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Commissioner Richards asked which of these homes are protected under the AHBP. “Why not just upzone the places where there is no housing?” he asked.

The Planning Commission is ready to move forward on a potentially dramatic rezoning of some 30,000 building lots, many of them with housing already on them – although many of the commissioners had serious problems with the program.

After a lengthy hearing Thursday/21, the commission decided to continue the discussion for just four weeks. The planning staff had asked that it be delayed until April, so that more community outreach could be done. Even Commissioner Michael Antonini, who is among the most pro-development members of the panel, asked for another full hearing on the issue.

But Dennis Richards said that it was time to move this to the Board of Supes, and made the motion to continue to Feb. 25.

That was a bit odd, since Richards was one of the strongest critics of the plan and presented extensive information about some of the serious problems it might create.

Planning Director John Rahaim, possibly responding to this 48hills article, insisted that “this is not a program created by the Planning Department to destroy the West side of town or return to the era of Redevelopment.”

But there are endless problems when you decide to create an incentive to demolish what exists today to build something larger and denser… (please read the rest of the article and comment at the source. Feel free to copy your comments here as well.)

Perhaps the fact that there are so many iterations of the plan and the plan seems to be in a state of constant change and amendments are not fully developed, the Commissioners felt the need to give it some breathing space.

The Planning Department is still setting up meetings to explain it in neighborhoods that got passed by and some that need updates on the latest version, but, no matter how you paint it, you can’t get around the fact that this is a fast track method for developers to avoid scrutiny and input by both the public and the Planning Commissioners on any project that claims it contains some (as yet undetermined) amount of “affordable” housing. The definition of the “affordable” housing is somewhat suspect.

There is also concern over whether or not any or all existing affordable units would be protected from demolition, and what percentage of the current residents living in the target areas would be protected and allowed back into the new affordable units.

There is no protection for the businesses and that is also of great concern as many as being priced out without the “incentives to densify”.

Meanwhile, there are bills moving forward in Sacramento that could make the entire issue moot. Those are more damaging than anything being dreamed up here.

Follow some of those here: https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/california-bills-2016/

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