The dire housing situation, exasperated by the fires, has spurred an awareness and sense of urgency around policy change aimed at accelerating the recover and rebuilding. There has been a wave of changes across the board in nearly every jurisdiction. We will try to capture some of them for you here.
Santa Rosa has seen an unprecedented level of support (unanimous votes) for all policies, fee reductions and efforts to bring infill to the downtown near transit and made downtown housing one of five top Council priorities. The City has reduced discretionary action by the Design Review Board for housing projects located in the downtown and implemented a Downtown High-Density Residential Incentive Program that reduces impact fees and allows for fee deferral on water and sewer. The City created an “Express Permitting” process for downtown infill, designed to take an 18 month process down to ~6 months. Housing development partnerships on several City owned property is currently being explored and a Density Bonus Ordinance passed. Some of you may recall our 2016 push to reform policy and reduce fees on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) aka Granny Units. We are happy to report that the new ADU policy adopted last Spring is having a huge impact on the number of units being permitted and built. 2019 Engagement opportunities to watch: the Downtown Specific Plan Update and General Plan 2035 Update.
Stay tuned for policy updates from around the North Bay!