Wednesday, December 19, 2018

12.18.18 Meeting Summary - and a couple questions

Last night was the first meeting after the swearing in. After each meeting I plan to write a synopsis, ask for feedback, and at times pose questions looking for insight. There are a few questions that I’d like feedback on at the bottom. Here are the highlights:
  • As mentioned in a previous update, Transwestern terminated its exclusive sales listing agreement for the city owned property downtown. The date of the termination letter was the date of the election. Campaigning on the idea that Clayton should not be for sale, I consider this a win. It could be entirely coincidental but regardless this is a good thing. 
  • The Planning Commission voted to extend the approvals for the Creekside Terrace development project that is envisioned for downtown where the old buildings on Oak St. are located. These building are also scheduled to be demolished soon due to them being dilapidated and presenting an attractive nuisance.
  • The Council voted in the first reading to adopt a motion to include non-owner occupied new development projects of 10 units or greater to be included in the city’s inclusionary housing requirement. 
  • I asked about the timing of when parolee housing would come back on the agenda as Mr. Diaz requested. It will NOT be at the next meeting on Jan 15. Mr. Diaz is meeting with representatives of the County to get more information and will request a future date after that has happened. I also want to introduce this as an item for discussion. I deferred to Mr. Diaz to do his diligence and was assured that this would happen soon. 
  • I asked for two things to be included on future agenda items. The first was a discussion on the use of Roundup by the city and potential alternatives. The second was to ask for a semi-annual report from staff regarding the status of all existing goals directed by the Council, including what has been done, what is planned to be done, and an outline of how each goal is expected to be achieved and when. Also to create a process to review and eliminate existing items with no activity for a certain period of time. Given there are 25+ items on the list of things the Council has directed Staff to work on, some 5 and 10 or more years old, this will ensure that the current Council is in agreement with what past Councils have directed. 

Should we include non-owner occupied developments in the inclusionary housing requirements?

I recognize that we are required to provide for a certain number of inclusionary housing units and we have a choice on how to do so. If it is a choice between funneling those units towards development for sale vs. development for rent, I'd prefer development for sale as there is greater stability and investment in the community with for sale units. However given that not including non-owner occupied developments in the inclusionary housing requirement would effectively make these rental developments more profitable than if they were included, I’m not positive.

So what are people’s thoughts on whether inclusionary housing requirements should be applied to non-owner occupied developments? Ms. Catalano and Ms. Pierce both were of the opinion that if non-owner occupied developments were not included in inclusionary housing requirements, that would encourage development of rental units over owner occupied units. I think this position has merit.

I think it’s a question of objectives. We are required to provide for additional housing units as per our RHNA requirement (more exposition on that in a separate post). Since we are required to provide for more housing (though not necessarily to build it ourselves), should it be owner occupied, or non-owner occupied?

There is also the question of the magnitude of the inclusionary housing requirement. The current ordinance as drafted sets it at 10%, the same level as is set for owner occupied developments. Increasing this figure could have downstream impacts on the economic viability of future projects. We do have room to change the ordinance to increase the requirement to a higher figure, like 15%. Much more than that and we invite burdensome state inquiry.