SANTA ROSA CITY COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES
MONDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2001
COUNCIL CHAMBER, CITY HALL, 100 SANTA ROSA AVENUE
2:00 P.M. (CITY COUNCIL CHAMBER)
1. ANNOUNCEMENT OF ROLL CALL
Mayor Martini called the meeting to order at 1:05 p.m. Present: Mayor Martini, Vice Mayor Wright, Council-members Bender, Condron,Evans (arrived at 1:20), and Rabinowitsh and Vas Dupre (arrived at 1:15).
Mayor Martini announced the special meeting was being held to provide the Council with an opportunity to discuss recommendations regarding the City's Growth Management Ordinance as well as the Housing Allocation Plan and to address the issues of affordability.
2. CITIZEN PUBLIC APPEARANCES
Patrick W. Kilkenny, 4824 Ardyce Circle, submitted a letter containing his comments regarding allotment versus permits as the methodology for implementing affordable housing policy. He outlined some of the financing requirements that could have effect upon builders depending upon what methodology is implemented. Because of financing time frames and other factors, he stated it is difficult to predict the number of homes to be built, and that the absorption rate for homes has gone down in spite of very low interest rates. He stated that if policies are adopted that affect the predictability of entitlements it will likely require additional credit enhancements of builders. He stated that the allotment system works from a financing perspective.
Jamalie Samonte, stated She is a loan officer at Meadowwood, where home prices range from $275,000 to $340,000. She stated the majority of sales are in the $275,000 to $310,000 range. She stated the low income is 45,700 the high is $94,000, with the average income $60,400, and the median $57,000. She described some of the financing programs, some of which have back end debt to income ratios up to 35 to 40 with down payment requirements of 5%, and there are 100% financing programs available also. She
further described some of the financing packages her firm offers.
Mike Humphrey spoke regarding the housing crisis faced by people with disabilities, particularly those with incomes of $600 to $700per month. He advocated for building more subsidized housing for those with disabilities, and for having Section 8 funds prioritized for that purpose. He stated that although he was able to buy his own home, it required an additional $15,000 to modify it for accessibility. He requested building standards be established so that homes are constructed to be accessible. He stated that many disabled are homeless and some Shelters do not have accessible bathrooms.
Hugh Futrell, 410 E Street, stated he was speaking as a private citizen. He stated the plan produced in the early '90s was premised on giving some projects preference, but it was not intended to be the fundamental funding vehicle, rather there should be additional fee sources through the transfer tax initiative. He stated his concern about impacts on qualifying units through these changes. He stated that market rate apartments are a primary vehicle for affordable housing, that those projects need preference under growth management in order to obtain financing due to low profit margins and should not be subject to in lieu fees. He stated the same is true for downtown projects. He commented that the 50/50 projects have created additional affordability and that those projects should be protected in the process in some manner.
Anne Seeley, 4370 Ramondi Way, stated that within reserve A there are about five or six categories of housing and it is being assumed that subsidized housing is entirely separate. She stated it is important if apartments, qualifying units, rental units and sale units are to be separated out that it be clearly specified in order to assure the changes lead to improvements. She suggested reviewing the policy effectiveness after six months.
3. STATEMENTS OF ABSTENTION BY COUNCILMEMBERS
There were no statements of abstention.
4. CITY COUNCIL DISCUSSIONS AND/OR DIRECTIONS
Discussion ensued on methodology and implementation of the policy. The following points were discussed:
- A sliding scale fee based upon lot or building square footage.
- Consider how to adjust the fee for sloped or flag lots that have unusable area.
- Consider adjustments for planned unit developments' common areas.
- Consider a formula similar to that used for assessing school impact fees.
Council directed staff to draft a policy which will provide for a sliding fee tied to the building square footage based upon the nexus study data.
The following points were raised in relation to the issue of allocations versus building permits:
- Adverse impacts to non-profit builders if the system is changed from allocation to building permits. Suggestion made to exempt those from the permit limits.
- The market fluctuations have created an average consistent with the growth management plan, but the market drives the number rather than the plan.
- The plan plays an important role in guiding development of infrastructure.
- Make the permit allocation system part of the growth management plan.
- If permits are limited and certain affordable units exempted, the remaining number of units being assessed fees will not generate enough funding to support the total cost burden.
- Placing emphasis on smaller and attached units to help promote affordable housing, and retaining the A and B unit system.
- Whether workforce housing should be exempt or a sliding scale fee applied.
- The number of units not subject to growth management or housing allocation has averaged about 230 the past few years. If the City stays with a fee-based program, there is a need to increase the number of units subject to a fee.
- Adding an exempt category to the A and B category system. This would allow for exempted units and exemption of units for special needs housing. These could be second units.
- The definition of A's, B's and qualifying units was discussed, with A's being attached units for sale or rent, B's would be all detached units regardless of lot or house size, and C's would be exempt like second units, or units that are affordable to low and very low income and affordable special needs units.
Staff analysis was requested on those numbers within the constraints of the existing 950 allotment using the building square footage based sliding fee scale. In order to assure incentive to construct affordable apartments, provide an analysis of an exemption for the first 900 square feet for each apartment unit of 1400 square feet or less; and an analysis without the partial exemption. The analysis should assume that all A units will be subject to the in lieu fee and upper end apartments would be fully subject to the fee and that50/50 developments will be retained.
It was the Council's consensus to delay discussion of the inclusionary issue for two weeks to allow for review of the staff analysis.
Mayor Martini called for the next meeting to be held in two weeks at 1:00 p.m. on November 5, 2001 at a place to be determined.
Mayor Martini adjourned the meeting at 3:15 p.m. to the next regularly scheduled meeting to take place on October 23, 2001, at a time set by the Mayor.