Update on County affordable housing policy discussions

9/17/14 – Update

As you are aware, SCCBC has been closely following the conversations taking place at the County regarding possible changes to their affordable housing policies. The County’s impetus for examining their program is due to recent court decisions related to fees associated with rental developments and density bonuses. While the County is only required by law to update policies related to these court decisions, they ultimately decided to review all aspects of the program to identify future funding sources. Keyser Martson Associates (KMA), the consultant hired to conduct analysis to base potential changes upon, came back with funding recommendations focused solely on new development fees. SCCBC has concerns about the burden of funding affordable housing falling only to new development. Additionally, we have concerns that what is being proposed by KMA will ultimately not lead to more affordable (and market-rate) housing. Something we desperately need as a community.

SCCBC has met with supervisors Zach Friend, Bruce McPherson, John Leopold and Neal Coonerty over the past few weeks and directly communicated these concerns. Additionally, we discussed the unclear nature of the direction that the Board gave to County staff when this topic was first discussed at the 8/19 Board of Supervisors meeting. Aside for an ambiguities, we continued to stress the need for broad-based solutions, not just solutions that place all of the burden on new development. We also specifically asked that the in-lieu option be on the table for developments of 3 or more units, but at a rate that is more in-line with economic realties. Lastly, each supervisor asked SCCBC to send over further comments prior to the next public discussion of the matter–Planning Commission hearing in mid-November. Development of this list is underway.

Internally, Robert Singleton, SCCBC Policy Analyst, has pulling together research on some non-traditional funding methods other communities have adopted. Our plan is to refine this research, add to it over the coming months and present to County officials for a broader discussion.

Here is a link to our current analysis

In order to perform informed advocacy moving forward, SCCBC will be following up with staff and elected officials at the County in the coming weeks to ensure that we have a clear understanding of where the process currently stands. Again, the potential changes are slated to be discussed by the Planning Commission in mid-November, and the Board of Supervisors (for a second time) in early December. More updates will be provided as information becomes available.