Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Santa Rosa Welcoming Downtown High-Rise Development Proposals


I attended two meetings recently at which the City told local business owners and developers that it is courting developers of potential housing projects.  At the Downtown Subcommittee and the Economic Development Subcommittee, the Mayor and three members of the Council heard staff presentations which outlined both the housing developments currently being approved, as well as the opportunities being discussed with developers involving City property which it hopes developers will buy and turn into housing projects.

Approvals for six hundred and thirty-two units are being processed by the Council now, in addition to 306 new hotel rooms.  On four City properties (Ross & B, 2nd & E, 3rd & D, and the City Hall), it is hoped that developers will take advantage of generous density bonuses and height limit variances to retain existing parking and build 7-10 story residential buildings.  Here is a link to the Downtown Development Update PowerPoint presentation used in the meeting.

Why the interest in raising the roofs?  If you'll remember, a series of workshops was sponsored by local architects last year in which the case was convincingly made that the best combination of increased tax revenues to minimum public infrastructure expenses was to build up in the city's core area.   Given also that Santa Rosa's budget has a $5 million deficit, and it owns several large vacant or under-utilized parcels downtown, and you can understand some of the motivation.

Over the next few months, the city will be asking its citizens to comment on key components of the incentives offered to developers to get them to partner with the City on these projects.  David Guhin, Director of the Planning and Economic Development Department, told the Subcommittee that he hopes to issue his "White Paper" soon on proposals for density bonus elements, low income inclusionary requirements in for-sale developments, and accessory and junior accessory development ordinances.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Santa Rosa Political Earthquake


This Tuesday's Santa Rosa City Council Agenda's last item is an earth-shaker.


BACKGROUND:  On July 17, 2017, the City received a claim alleging that the City’s at-large election of councilmembers is in violation of the California Voting Rights Act.

RECOMMENDATION: It is recommended by the City Attorney that the Council, by resolution, state its intent to respond to claim regarding the City’s compliance with the California Voting Rights Act. "

We might as well declare a political emergency, and admit that everything else the City is doing is now on the back burner.  The City has 90 days to act if it wishes to avoid the payment of large legal fees, and the imposition of district election boundaries by a judge.

To design your own political maps of the City, start with some of the tools which can be downloaded from the County Registrar of voters website:

Santa Rosa Precinct Maps
Santa Rosa Supervisor Districts

Thursday, July 13, 2017

S.R. City Council Agenda, July 18th


Once again, thanks to our friend, Anne Seeley, of Concerned Citizens For Santa Rosa, for this analysis of next week's City Council agenda:

Dear Friends: This report lack links to staff reports because I'm writing it on Thursday evening, before the links are available.

   There is no Study Session before the 4PM meeting.

  12.3 Request for authorization for a One Bay Area Grant 2 for 2 things: 1) pavement rehabilitation for various streets; and 2) for the design of the Highway 101 Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge planned to arch over 101 between the Junior College Area and the west side of 101.   The intended purposes for the bridge are to facilitate safe connections between west and east (the freeway underpasses have been found wanting for those not in cars) and to make available lower cost west-side housing to those (including JC students) who work and study on the east side of the freeway.

  14.3 Contract Agreement with Employee units Representing Executive Management, Middle Management and Confidential Staff. It's a 3-year contract with a 3% salary increase in year one, 1.3% in year 2 and 2.25% in year 3, for a total of 6.5% increase over 3 years.  The total cost for the next fiscal year is $588,164.00, to come from the General Fund Unassigned Fund Balance.

  14.4 Two Year Contract with Police and Fire Management units.  Total cost is $163,971 to come from the General Fund Unassigned Fund Balance.

No Public Hearings.

See you there!   Anne

Friday, June 30, 2017

Local Articles on Homelessness


Here are some articles you may have missed concerning "Housing First"(most recent on top)

Applause for Tent City and a word of caution about the city’s promises

Juneau’s Housing First opening delayed until September


Madison's biggest attempt at Housing First for homeless produces hope and unease

Move in Day: Amarillo Housing First Furnishes Homeless Woman's New Home

Advocates tout success of Housing First in fight against homelessness

Amarillo Housing First cleans up with car wash fundraisers

HUD makes $2 billion available to homeless programs: encourages Housing First

lnspira Donates $50K to Help End Homelessness in South Jersey County by 2020

Grand Forks LaGrave on First project set for groundbreaking as soon as August

Housing first, then personal transformation for the homeless

Three year Housing First - San Diego plan kicks off

Housing people fast is five times cheaper than homelessness - here's why

Seattle City Councilman says ‘Housing First’ is Key to Solving Homelessness. But Is That the Answer?

Will County Declares and End to Homelessness for Veterans

Is This Complex Affordable Housing Deal a Promising Model or a Unicorn?

Group tackling homelessness one person at a time

Program to Spur Low-Income Housing Is Keeping Cities Segregated

Creating a Home for L.G.B.T. Seniors in New York City

House Republicans want to kill a key federal housing policy. City Hall is not happy

The Disappearing Downtown Shelter

Advocates tout success of Housing First in fight against homelessness

‘Housing First’ only process that’s proven to rapidly end homelessness

Don't Abandon Housing First

Ted Yoho urges Ben Carson to reverse Obama-era ‘Housing First,’ reinstate homeless shelter funds

Madison's biggest attempt at Housing First for the homeless produces hope and unease

Homeless cleanups in L.A. have surged, costing millions. What has been gained?

Miniature Homes: A Possible Solution For San Angelo's Homeless

1 in 5 L.A. community college students is homeless, survey finds

Seattle to Award $30 Million in Homeless Services Contracts

June 29th:

Sonoma County confronts state over $9 million in outstanding Medi-Cal mental health payments

June 25th

June 26th
June 17th

June 16th

Affordable Housing Accomplishments by Santa Rosa Since 2013


Okay, let's try to understand the Santa Rosa data on affordable housing posted in reports recently on their Open Data Portal.  All data is as of June 30th of each year.

16 affordable houses, none at the levels of extremely low income or very low income, 10 at the level of low income, 6 at the level of moderate income.  Two affordable units were rehabilitated.  14 mobile home parks subject to rent control existed with 1,450 spaces.  The City had 2,885 affordable units being monitored, and 1,321 were inspected.

66 units of affordable housing were completed.  None at the level of extremely low income, 8 at the level of very low income, 47 at the level of low income, 11 at the level of moderate income.  None were rehabilitated.  There were still 14 mobile home parks subject to rent control, but they had grown by five more spaces.  The City's affordable housing stock had grown to 3,022 units being monitored, but only 1,176 were inspected.

The HOST program began, and in the quarter ending on September 30th, 136 homeless were contacted, and 90 people had accepted services.  In the quarter ending on December 31st, 131 were contacted, and 118 had accepted services.

47 units of affordable housing were completed.  None at the level of extremely low income, 11 at the level of veery low income, 34 at the level of low income, 2 at the level of moderate income.  153 units were rehabilitated.  The mobile home parks had grown to 15, with 1,642 spaces.  The number of affordable units in the City being monitored had dropped to 2,992, with 1,100 inspected.  For the first time, the City administered the HCA rental subsidy program, and 252 families were served.

The HOST Program contacted 97 people in the quarter ending on September 30th, 347 in the quarter ending on March 31st, and 131 in the quarter ending on June 30th.

23 affordable units were completed.  None at the level of extremely low income, 4 at the level of very low income, 19 at the level of low income, and none at the level of moderate income.  96 units were rehabilitated.  There were still 15 mobile home parks, but the number of spaces subject to rent control had increased to 1,664.  The City's affordable housing stock had grown to 3,119, with 1,250 inspected.  The City's Housing Trust had committed funding to 77 units, but were under construction.  240 families were served by the HCA Program.

60 units of affordable housing were completed, all at the level of low income.  The City's Housing Trust had committed funding to an additional 54 units, and 79 were still being constructed.

More data for 2017 for HOST, Housing Trust, and other Housing Department programs is expected soon.

Office of Community Engagement, Santa Rosa


Yesterday's meeting of the Steering Committee of Santa Rosa Together discussed the current activity of Santa Rosa's Community Advisory Board (CAB),  an appointed committee of the Santa Rosa City Council, established long ago in the City Charter. Some on our Steering Committee have served, or are serving, on it. Two members of the current City Council have served on it.

This morning, I discovered that the work being done by the City to develop an Open Data Portal for resident access to the information the City collects contains the history of grants given out by CAB.

There is lots more performance measures and other fascinating data from the City at its Open Data Portal.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

New Proposed Goals for Santa Rosa

Proposed New Goal Categories for Discussion
1.   Community safety, valued City services and open government Santa Rosa is a safe and healthy place and has the right mix of services supported by effective internal services operating within open government practices.
2.   Economic development and financial stability Santa Rosa sustains a strong, diversified economic base that continually renews itself, and has a structurally balanced budget with sufficient reserves in all funds to weather economic shifts for long-term sustainability of City services.
3.   Housing and homelessness Santa Rosa actively supports housing for all, including effective strategies that help homeless individuals become healthy and self-sufficient.
4.   Infrastructure and transportation Santa Rosa regularly invests in its transportation, roads and infrastructure to keep pace with community needs and protect its assets.
5.   Neighborhood partnerships and cultural assets Santa Rosa promotes thriving neighborhoods; complements the efforts of others in preserving its heritage; and promotes community vibrancy through cultural and recreational activities.
6.   Environmental sustainability Santa Rosa protects and improves the environment in arenas over which the City has influence of control.

Next Steps Regarding Goal Categories
·     Staff will bring a discussion of the six proposed goal categories and aspirational statements to the Council and seek feedback and either modification or confirmation. The interest is in having a revised set of broad goals that can be placed in the City’s operating budget and on the website. Additionally, a future step will be to identify how the Tier 1 and 2 priorities help move the City forward in achieving these broad goals.