Mayor Todd Gloria’s proposed housing package will return to the City Council next month.
Remember: Last week, the City Council slammed the brakes on Gloria’s Housing Action Package 2.0 because of two reforms that emerged as controversial. Here’s what they were:
- First, the mayor wanted to get rid of development impact fees related to the construction of three-bedroom units — and add development impact fees to the construction of small studio apartments, which currently get a fee waiver.
- Second, developers would get the flexibility to build guaranteed-affordable units off-site of their developments — in poorer neighborhoods and to lower quality standards. (Read more on that here).
Councilmembers agreed with elements of the housing package, but some could not get behind those two points. Council President Sean Elo-Rivera unsuccessfully offered some changes.
There was some blowback in the days that followed. The Building Industry Association blasted the City Council for not approving the package. Elo-Rivera told us late last week that maybe by rejecting the whole thing, the two sides could work through their disagreements faster.
It seems to have worked.
Gloria and Elo-Rivera released a joint statement Monday saying that the package that will come before the Council next month will include amendments. They did not provide details about the changes — but it’s likely they’ll be related to one or both of the controversial elements of the package.
“The lack of affordable housing in San Diego is connected to every major challenge our city faces, and we must increase housing supply in order to bring down housing costs,” their statement read.
More Rain, More Money Problems
Our MacKenzie Elmer followed up on how rain is affecting water sales for San Diego County’s water supplier.
While many around the state rejoiced at the recent rainy winter that broke records, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California isn’t so thrilled. That’s because an increase in rain means its customers need to buy less water.
Metropolitan, California’s biggest water supplier, is facing a more than $300 million budget shortfall. The agency had to find creative ways to close that budget gap, but its leaders are worried this could happen again.
California’s water policies are constantly evolving, and so is the public’s use of water. Now, the agency is considering changing how it charges for water altogether.
Note: The Environment Report will return to its original programming next week.
More Sobering Homelessness Data
Preliminary data from the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office shows this year’s homeless deaths have already exceeded totals from just a few years ago with weeks left to go in 2023.
The agency, which generally focuses on sudden and unexpected deaths, reports that it investigated the deaths of 550 unhoused residents through Nov. 11. That’s more than the total number of homeless deaths the county probed in 2020 or 2021. The tally is already 54 percent higher than the year-round total for 2020.
As of earlier this month, county data showed more than half of 2023 deaths remained under investigation and at least 23 percent resulted from a drug overdose. At least 97 deaths involved fentanyl, which has plagued both San Diego’s homeless and housed populations. Another 27 followed a motor-vehicle accident.
ICYMI: Our Will Huntsberry earlier this year wrote about unprecedented deaths in San Diego’s homeless community.
Water Rate Hikes Are Coming to Oceanside
Oceanside residents will see price increases in their utility bills starting next year – that includes water, sewer and trash rates, the Union-Tribune reported.
The City Council unanimously approved the rate hikes last week, which includes a 12-percent water rate hike. Water rates will be phased in over two years going up 6 percent starting Jan. 1 and another 6 percent starting January 2025.
The hikes are thanks to higher rates at the Metropolitan Water District and the San Diego Water Authority. Rising costs of labor, materials and supplies also contributed to the increase.
Trash rates will increase by about 25 percent, and sewer rates will increase 6.5 percent over the next two years.
Residents in San Diego will also see a water rate increase soon after the San Diego City Council approved a 20 percent increase back in September, which will be phased in over the next two years.
In Other News
- Barrio Logan’s long-awaited community growth plan update, which will finally separate residents from the nearby shipping industry, is close to being approved. The neighborhood is one of the most pollution-burdened communities in the state because of nearby industrial facilities. The plan update will create a 65-acre buffer zone between housing areas and the shipping industry. (Union-Tribune)
- A new state law allows Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADUs, to be sold separately, but it’s up to individual cities whether or not they want to adopt it. The law takes effect in January, and the idea is that allowing ADUs, sometimes called granny flats, to be sold separately, and presumably at a lower cost, would give low and moderate-income families a chance at homeownership. (Union-Tribune)
- For those road tripping this week, a major freeway in Los Angeles is fully reopened after an arson fire shut it down for more than a week. (KPBS)
- The Santa Ana winds won’t subside in San Diego County until Tuesday afternoon. (Union-Tribune)
The Morning Report was written by Tigist Layne, Will Huntsberry, Lisa Halverstadt and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.