In response to your memorandum of December 15, 2010, the following is a list of issues that I believe are important for the Land Use and Housing (LU&H) Committee to discuss this year:
The Housing Trust Fund is partially funded by linkage fees, a fee charged on commercial development within the city. This funding is vital to the city's ability to provide and maintain an adequate supply of affordable housing. The linkage fee was reduced by half in 1996, but I do not believe the original ordinance has been changed to reflect this reduction. As such, this committee should examine the city's current linkage fee and determine if it requires adjustment.
Redevelopment Area Programmatic EIR:
The Centre City Redevelopment Area allows applicants for development to work through an expedited process to initiate and complete required environmental review for projects within the boundaries of the redevelopment area. This has been a major benefit in encouraging increased development and revitalizing the downtown area, as such I believe this committee should explore whether the city and redevelopment agency could set up a similar process.
Community Plan Updates:
It is essential that the city continue to update its community plans through a community focused process that brings all stakeholders into the discussion. This is viiai to provide a clear vision and update the long range development preferences of each community with a planning document that outlines a clear picture of the desired community character.
Community Garden Land Use Regulations:
It appears that current sections of city land use regulations restrict, to some extent, community gardens in certain types of zones and redevelopment areas. Community gardens are beneficial to our communities as they provide a local, sustainable source of healthy food, stimulate social interaction between community members, provide a catalyst for future development, beautify our neighborhoods, and often are created on under-utilized, neglected parcels of land. For these reasons, I believe it is important for this committee to consider revising the applicable land use regulations to allow community gardens to exist in areas in which they are now needlessly restricted.
I look forward to serving on the LU&H committee in 2011 and working with each committee member to ensure that the city continnes to develop fair and equitable land use policies and procedures.