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City Council

The People's Business: July 20, 2020

There are just three more City Council meetings before the August legislative recess, including tomorrow's session, which we'll preview today.

Remember, if you'd like more detail on anything summarized here, click the agenda, then click on the item. Over on the right side of the page, you'll see links to a staff report and other pieces of supporting material.

City Council -- Tuesday, July 21

Tuesday's agenda includes seven consent items that won't be discussed unless someone wants to -- including a proposed program under which the City would donate aging computers to the San Diego Futures Foundation, a local nonprofit that will then refurbish and distribute them to some of the estimated 30,000 San Diego households that don't have computers. Currently, the City has 2,271 such machines ready to go.

Cool, cool. So, how about the items up for discussion?

More ballot measures!

The Council so far has sent four measures to the November ballot for voters' consideration. On Tuesday, two more contenders will vie for the Council's affection: 

  • Map of Midway-Pacific Highway Community Plan areaCoastal Height Limit: To make way for new housing and an entertainment district in the Sports Arena area, City Councilmembers Jennifer Campbell and Chris Cate want voters to consider removing the 30-foot coastal height limit for the entirety of the Midway-Pacific Highway Community Plan area. Under the proposal, no more than five acres in the area would contain buildings taller than 150 feet. No more than five additional acres would contain buildings taller than 80 feet. In the remaining portion of the property, no buildings would be taller than 50 feet. 
  • Ranked Choice Voting: A group known as More Choice San Diego wants voters to consider creating a new way to elect the mayor, city attorney, and City Council members. Under the proposal, voters in the primary election would send the top four candidates, rather than the current top two, to the general election. Then, in the general election, voters would rank those four candidates in order of preference. If no candidate receives a majority of first-place votes, the candidate with the least number of votes is considered defeated and those voters who chose her or him as their first choice are instantaneously transferred to their second-choice candidate. That process of elimination is repeated until a candidate has a majority of the vote.

What else is happening?

  • Tiny house in Portland, OregonMovable Tiny Houses: Right now, the City has regulations on the books for accessory dwelling units (ADU), or companion units, or granny flats -- whatever you want to call them. They're the second living spaces, either attached or detached, on a residential property. As cities across the state grapple with the housing crisis, they are looking to add new types of homes to their supply, and some have introduced "movable tiny homes" into the mix.

Movable tiny homes are, well -- movable. And tiny. Less expensive than building an ADU, these are pre-made and rolled into place. They range in size from 150 to 430 square feet, so while there's not enough room for a bowling alley or indoor swimming pool, there is room for the basics -- living, sleeping, cooking, and sanitation. Fresno was first to get in on this option, followed by San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles, and San Jose. Some counties are in the process of adding them. A few counties and cities allow them as caregiver dwellings.

On Tuesday, San Diego will consider joining the party when the Council votes on whether to add movable tiny homes to the sections of the Municipal Code and the Local Coastal Program that govern ADUs. (Photo by Tammy - Weekend with Dee.)

  • Community Parking Districts: Each year, the City Council must approve a new plan and budget for each of the City's community parking districts (CPD). There are three CPDs that use revenue from parking meters to fund projects and activities in neighborhoods that face serious parking challenges -- Uptown Community Parking District (Hillcrest, Bankers Hill, and Mission Hills), Downtown Community Parking District, and Mid-City Community Parking District (El Cajon Boulevard, University Heights, and Golden Hill). That money can be spent on things that relate directly or indirectly to parking. 
  • Lawsuit-Settling Plan Amendments: Last June, to settle a couple of lawsuits, the Council approved amendments to the City's General Plan, Downtown Community Plan, Centre City Planned District Ordinance, and Local Coastal Program. The amendments included returning planning and permitting functions within the Downtown area from Civic San Diego to the City, merging the Marina Planned District Ordinance into the Centre City Planned District Ordinance, and bringing review processes into consistency with other City review processes. 

Well, the City went and submitted these amendments to the California Coastal Commission, and in response, the commission went and said, "That's all well and good, but we have some amendments to your amendments." (We're paraphrasing.) The Coastal Commission amendments essentially make sure the Downtown Community Plan and Centre City Planned District Ordinance are consistent.

  • Cloud-based Permit System Hosting and Maintenance: The City's Development Services Department is asking the Council approve a five-year contract for $7 million with Accela Inc. to host and maintain the department's new cloud-based development permitting and code enforcement system.
  • Coast Boulevard Concrete Panel Replacement: The Council is being asked to give the go-ahead on a project to replace pavement along a roughly 1,100-foot section of roadway along portions of Coast Boulevard, Cave Street, and Prospect Place in La Jolla.

Tuesday's meeting starts at 11 a.m. Only City staff and credentialed members of the press may attend in person. However, anyone can participate and make comments by dialing 619-541-6310 and entering the access code 877861 followed by # when the item you're interested in comes up (PDF icon full call-in instructions). Watch the meeting on cable TV channel 24 or AT&T channel 99, or stream it online.

Next up will be a post on the Audit and Rules committee meetings happening on Wednesday.

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