SANTA ROSA CITY COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2001
COUNCIL CHAMBER, CITY HALL, 100 SANTA ROSA AVENUE
1:00 P.M. (CITY COUNCIL CHAMBER)
1. ANNOUNCEMENT OF ROLL CALL
Mayor Martini called the meeting to order at 1:10 p.m. Present: Mayor Martini, Vice Mayor Wright, Council-members Bender, Condron,Evans, Rabinowitsh and Vas Dupre.
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
Anne Seeley, 4370 Ramondi Way, stated that workforce housing has been linked to moderate income housing, when in fact it should be considered low income housing due to income levels. She also suggested that permit restrictions be imposed which limited or curtailed construction of high income housing, and that the Council consider imposing other policy measures to ensure construction of low income housing.
Sonia Taylor stated She was disheartened at the idea of keeping the status quo, keeping A and B units and exempt units, and stated that the in lieu fees have been raised in a way that won't raise that much money. She recommended that all new construction be limited to low and moderate income housing, and stated She had spoken with a builder who indicates it is feasible to build low income housing without subsidy, only very low income housing requires subsidy. She spoke in support of inclusionary zoning, stating She opposes placing the poor only in certain neighborhoods.
Jessica Parsley, Greenbelt Alliance, referred to a joint letter from the alliance containing strategies for Bay Area governments, which She outlined. She stated in lieu fees should not be encouraged, rather, inclusionary units in market rate developments would provide more housing opportunities while preserving agricultural lands and open space.
Len Swenson commented on the Burbank Housing project at Railroad Square which was denied by the Housing Authority, and urged the Council to recall the decision. Mayor Martini responded that representatives of affected organizations are meeting in an effort to resolve the issue.
City Attorney Brien Farrell stated there is no right to appeal an action of the Housing Authority Board to the City Council as they are separate legal entities.
Dick Day, 847 Fifth Street, stated concern with the lack of a definition for moderate income housing and creating a substantial reliance upon in lieu fees. He encouraged a greater reliance upon inclusionary zoning.
Dick Latimer, 2025 Woodside Drive, commented on the worsening housing situation as it affects low income and very low income seniors. He advocated increases in housing subsidies.
John Lowry, Burbank Housing, referred to a memo that indicated Burbank's support for in lieu fees and a recommendation that if the lot size is reduced from 20 acres and that an overlay zone or other mechanism to allow for multi-family development be extended to smaller parcels as well. He also suggested a sliding fee scale or allotments to provide for moderate income housing. He recommended that the overlay zone allow for higher density for development of low income housing. He stated moderate income housing doesn't require subsidies but does need favorable policy. He suggested a jobs linkage fee for businesses expanding physical plants. He also commented that the low and very low income housing should not be counted against the 950 unit allocation.
Paul Carroll, SEIU Local 707, commented on the need to target housing for various wage levels based on actual data. He also suggested targeting opportunities for first-time homebuyers.
Bill Benjamin, 2455 Bennett Valley Road, spoke regarding building costs, stating the industry averages a 5% profit on the construction and sale of a new home. He outlined building costs in Santa Rosa, stating the in lieu fees and other fees will reduce profit margins to.04%, which is unacceptable to lenders so developers will not be able to finance construction.
Christopher Berglund, stated he works for a local general engineering contractor that does site work packages for builders in this area. He presented cost comparisons between this area and Solano county, stating that aggregate, base rock and concrete cost 20 to 30%more in Sonoma County. He stated that the cost of rock and aggregate work is about 28% of the total package.
Joe Keith, 1400 N. Dutton, stated that builders are building workforce housing and commented that many homebuyers would have been priced out of the market if not for the opportunity to purchase a reserve A home.
Michelle Gervais, City Vision, stated that if moderate income housing is to be included in the goal it should be so stated. She also stated the need for funding beyond that generated by in lieu fees.
Keith Christopherson, 1315 Airport Blvd., commented on the need for workforce housing, noting that they have over 100 employees who face the same need and have helped 18 of their employees purchase homes in the past eight months. He stated that they are building moderately priced housing because consumer economics supports doing so. He stated that Santa Rosa has been impacted by home buyers from Marin County, Petaluma or Rohnert Park where housing policies have curtailed housing starts in those areas. He stated that the A and B unit system has been beneficial and should be retained.
Mayor Martini closed the public appearance portion of the meeting at 1:55 p.m.
3. STATEMENTS OF ABSTENTION BY COUNCIL MEMBERS
There were no statements of abstention made.
4. CITY COUNCIL DISCUSSIONS AND/OR DIRECTIONS
Chuck Regalia, Deputy Director of Community Development, reviewed the recommendation from the last meeting, which included retaining the allocation system at 950 units and creating three allotment reserves, Reserve A (attached for sale and rental); Reserve B(detached market rate and qualifying units); and Reserve E (very low income units, special needs housing and disabled exemptions).He also addressed the housing allocation plan, implemented by the City's inclusionary zoning ordinance, with the parcel size designations for building on site or payment of in lieu fees. He summarized the direction given as making rental units subject to the housing allocation plan except the first 900 square feet of Reserve A units of 1400 square feet or less. He outlined the proposed fee structure and the projected revenues based on the reserves.
Discussion ensued, with the following points being raised:
- Councilmember Condron suggested that a portion of the transfer tax be dedicated to affordable housing.
- Councilmember Evans suggested strengthening the inclusionary requirements to include smaller developments and multi family developments, and make the in lieu fee as high as possible and applicable to as many units as possible. She also suggested implementing the plan at the building permit stage rather than through the allocation plan; and enhancing revenues for affordable housing through the transfer tax and other fees.
- Mayor Martini noted that if the ABAG numbers were used as the limits without exemptions, insufficient fees would be raised to support affordable housing needs.
- Councilmember Vas Dupre stated She does not support segregating housing and suggested lowering the parcel size limit to five acres to improve distribution.
- Councilmember Rabinowitsh supports mixed units, an adjusted fee for apartments, but is reluctant to use a sliding scale which would generate less than the $9707 fee. He also supported reducing the inclusionary requirement from 20acres to five acres.
- Vice Mayor Wright asked that a table be created indicating the various revenue projections after factoring in sliding scales and other variables.
- Councilmember Vas Dupre asked that an analysis of the social issues be included as well.
- Mayor Martini asked for information on similar efforts by other cities.
The next Special Meeting on Growth Management and Housing Allocation was set for Monday, November 26, 2001 at 1:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers.
Mayor Martini adjourned the meeting at 2:55 p.m. to the next regularly scheduled meeting to take place on November 6, 2001, at a time set by the Mayor.