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City Council

The People's Business: Nov. 6, 2020: Special Meeting!

The election is behind us, and we're in the home stretch of the City's 2020 legislative calendar. There's just one month until five new members of the City Council are sworn in and a new council president is elected.

This week, we'll have a regular Council meeting on Tuesday, which we'll summarize in a post on Monday, and a special meeting will be held on Monday, which we'll focus on in this here post today.

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 -- Monday, Nov. 9

Monday's special meeting starts at 11 a.m. The agenda includes two items that reside under the Complete Communities banner.

Complete Communities logoComplete Communities is a broad initiative that focuses on four components: housing, mobility, parks, and infrastructure. It includes planning strategies aimed at incentivizing construction of homes near transit, more mobility choices, and enhanced recreational opportunities. 

The two items on Monday's agenda zoom in on three of those four components: housing, mobility, and parks.

  • Item No. 600 is Complete Communities: Play Everywhere. The primary feature of this component is a new Parks Master Plan, which seeks to create an interconnected citywide park system that provides recreational spaces in areas with easy access to transit while prioritizing investment in areas with the greatest needs for parks. The Parks Master Plan would be part of the Recreation Element of the City's General Plan. The Master Plan creates a new standard for establishing a park's value to the community, adding more factors to the current single factor of acreage.

It also includes a new park development impact fee -- a levy on developers of new housing projects to pay for the parks needed to serve those new residents. Right now, this fee is segregated community by community. The new fee would be citywide, providing more flexibility to invest more quickly where the need is greater.

  • Item No. 601 is Complete Communities: Housing Solutions and Mobility Choices. This dual component is generally aimed at increasing housing production near public transit, improving the transit network around existing and new development, and making communities more friendly to pedestrians and bicyclists. This effort is, in part, a response to more stringent environmental and housing requirements, as well as a way to help achieve the goals in the City's Climate Action Plan by reducing vehicle miles traveled.

The strategies in this initiative revolve largely around further streamlining the process of permitting new development near transit. The goal would be to improve the balance of housing and jobs within communities, with a special focus on equitable Complete Communities illustrationinvestment in communities that have traditionally lacked access to opportunity. Developers would have new requirements to show how they'll reduce vehicular traffic or pay an in-lieu fee that would help fund projects to improve walking and bicycling infrastructure -- much like market-rate housing developers have to either build affordable housing as part of their projects or pay into a fund to build it elsewhere.

Clearly, we're summarizing these potentially landmark initiatives with a broad brush. There are lots of details to digest, so tune in to the meeting or dive into the staff reports.

Members of the public can participate in this virtual meeting 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 (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 Tuesday's regular meeting of the City Council.

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