This post first appeared in the Nov. 14 Morning Report.
In a surprise twist Monday night, City Councilmembers voted down a set of housing reforms that Mayor Todd Gloria has been pushing for months.
Gloria’s Housing Action Package 2.0 appeared relatively uncontroversial and seemed as if it would sail through Council. But in recent weeks, two details in the package emerged as controversial.
First, the mayor wanted to stop giving fee waivers to developers who build studio apartments and instead give those waivers to developers building three-bedroom units. Critics on the council believed this would encourage the development of high-end units, rather than the smaller units they believe are critical in battling the city’s homeless crisis.
The second change, revealed two weeks ago by Voice of San Diego, would have watered down a requirement that forces developers who want to build big, dense developments to build mandated-affordable units on-site. The change would have allowed developers to build those units off-site — in some cases in poorer neighborhoods than the original development.
A block of four councilmembers — that included Council President Sean Elo-Rivera, Vivian Moreno, Kent Lee and Joe LaCava — tried to amend the package to get rid of, or at least roll back, some of the suggested changes.
But the council deadlocked on the amendments at four-four — with Councilmember Raul Campillo out on parental leave.
After the amendments failed, some councilmembers, who opposed the package entirely, sided with others who wanted it tweaked. Ultimately, they voted 5-3 to shut down what has been one of the mayor’s biggest legislative efforts of the year.
The package is likely to go back to the city’s Land Use and Housing Committee or come before the full City Council, again.
Related: Voice contributor Kathryn Gray recently shared the story of two women who are being evicted. They have shared a duplex in Golden Hill for years, but the building’s new owner wants to redevelop it and plans to use a city law that allows for density bonuses to build 108 units. Some of the changes proposed at Monday’s meeting would have affected these women. Read the story here.