July Legislative Update
LA Mask Mandates Imminent: Los Angeles appears likely to reinstitute an indoor mask mandate as soon as next week, following remarks by the L.A. County Public Health Director, Barbara Ferrer. “Sensible safety precautions that can slow down the spread of the virus are warranted, and that includes universal indoor masking.” Ferrer also told the L.A. County Board of Supervisors that indoor mask mandates would be re-imposed next week unless there is a significant reversal in hospitalization rates. The action comes on the heals of numerous California counties, including the County of San Diego, jumping into the US CDC’s “high community spread” level, which reflects reported COVID-19 positivity rates. Despite the pending action in LA County, San Diego County officials have not indicated any potential actions they might take. They have continued to urge residents to get vaccinated, and, if eligible, boosted, as well as recommending masks in high risk indoor settings. To learn more, click HERE. Novavax Approved by CDC: Novavax, now the fourth COVID-19 vaccine available in the U.S. was recently approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As Novavax uses a different type of technology than other vaccines on the market, some expect Novavax to appeal to those who have yet to be vaccinated. Currently, about two- thirds of the population are fully vaccinated. To learn more, click HERE.
Wastewater Testing Indicates Current Surge May Top Winter: Coronavirus samples taken from wastewater supplies seem to indicate that the virus is spreading at an even higher level than during the winter surge. With over-the-counter tests much more prevalent, officials believe that there are tremendous undercounts when reported tests are compared to wastewater samples. California is recording nearly 21,000 new cases
per day, an increase of 16% since last week.
BROAD COALITION MOBILIZES TO OPPOSE SB 1105; HUESO BILL WOULD CREATE NEW
HOUSING AGENCY WITH BROAD AUTHORITY TO IMPOSE TAX INCREASES
If passed, Senator Ben Hueso’s SB 1105 would create a “San Diego Regional Equitable and Environmentally Friendly Affordable Housing Agency (Agency),” a new body with the authority to impose new taxes. Given its broad implications and potential for huge new tax increases ranging from property-based parcel taxes to county-wide commercial linkage fees, a broad coalition of local and state stakeholders has mobilized to oppose the measure. As proposed, the Agency would be governed by a six-member board composed of primary or alternate SANDAG members and would be charged with increasing the supply of “environmentally friendly” housing in San Diego County through the provision of funding and technical assistance. Leading the charge on the coalition are the California Business Property Association, which includes BOMA California, the California Business Roundtable, and the California Building Industry Association. Locally, a number of stakeholders ranging from rental housing interests to general business groups to affordable housing providers have expressed concerns and, in many cases, opposition. The effort to oppose will continue to ramp up as the legislature returns from recess. To read the full text of SB 1105, click HERE.
WATER AUTHORITY APPROVES 5.2% INCREASE IN COST OF DRINKING WATER, 3.7% ON
UNTREATED WATER, SAN DIEGO CITY COUNCIL TO DISCUSS POTENTIAL WATER RATE HIKE
In May, the San Diego County Water Authority proposed increasing its rates on drinking water and untreated water by nearly five and four percent, respectively. Water Authority officials cited inflation, increased energy costs, and hikes set by the Southern California Metropolitan Water District. The City, which must cover the increased cost of water, has said that they would not increase rates to consumers by more than three percent. Before voting on any increase, the City Council said they would hold a public hearing. To learn more, click HERE.
CLIMATE ACTION PLAN UPDATE AT CITY COUNCIL ON JULY 26th
The Mayor's proposal to update the previously adopted "climate action plan" or CAP will go to the San Diego City Council for approval next Tuesday. The Mayor’s plan proposes to significantly increase the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by moving to "net zero" by 2035. This doubles the goal and requires it in half the time of the previously adopted CAP. The staff report included a number of draft implementation requirements that will potentially impact both new and existing commercial and residential properties. One significant proposal is to mandate electrification of new and existing buildings. If the Council approves the proposal, it will start a process to form a final list of implementation requirements, including a potential new "reach code" standard for building decarbonization. Staff has indicated those requirements will be brought to the Council no later than next February. In addition to the CAP, staff proposes eliminating the much-maligned CAP Checklist, which would be replaced by new CAP Consistency Regulations. BOMA will speak to both items, expressing concern about the feasibility of the updated CAP goal and the potential implementation requirements. BOMA will also speak in support of the change from the CAP Checklist to the CAP Consistency Regulations. For more information on the CAP Update, please CLICK HERE for the staff report and CLICK HERE for the draft implementation matrix. For the CAP Checklist item, please CLICK HERE for the staff report.
SAN DIEGO CITY COUNCIL TO DECIDE WHICH LOCAL MEASURES MAKE NOVEMBER BALLOT
On Monday, July 25th, the San Diego City Council will take up several potential ballot initiatives to determine which measures will appear on the November ballot. If approved, voters will have a chance to weigh in on the following:
People’s Ordinance Reform: Council President Elo-Rivera’s proposal to repeal the “People’s Ordinance,” which currently guarantees city-provided trash pickup to most single-family homes. The measure is supported by the Regional Chamber of Commerce, NAIOP SD, environmental groups, and several labor unions. The measure would require single-family homeowners to pay a fee for trash pickup, pending a cost of service study. Commercial buildings, apartment buildings, and homes on private streets, all of which already pay for private waste hauling, would see no change. The 100-year-old ordinance has faced scrutiny in recent years as San Diego is the only major city in California that provides free trash pickup to single family home residents. To read the staff report, CLICK HERE.
Proposal to Raise Coastal Height Limit in the Midway-Pacific Highway Community Plan Area: If you’re experiencing déjà vu, that’s because the measure was already put before voters and passed. The previous initiative known as Measure E, would have raised the coastal height limit in the Midway community planning area, but was blocked by a judge who said the City failed to follow CEQA procedural requirements when placing the measure on the ballot (the first time). This time around, the City aims to have all their ducks in a row on a ballot measure, including some additional environmental analysis that will guide the fate of the Sports Arena site. To read the staff report, CLICK HERE.
Authorize Childcare Centers on City Parks: City parkland is closely governed by Charter Section 55, which limits the types of uses on dedicated and designated parks, and open space. A recent report by the YMCA indicates that 522 childcare providers have closed in the County since 2019. This measure would make childcare centers an allowable use on city parks, including 42 potential recreation centers. CLICK HERE to view the staff report. Project Labor Agreements on City Construction Projects: The “Safeguard San Diego” measure would amend the municipal code on city contracting policies and overturn Measure A, which banned project labor agreements (PLA) on San Diego infrastructure projects. New state laws (SB 922, SB 829) cut funding to cities that seek to “limit or constrain” PLA’s. Safeguard San Diego is being couched as a “fix” to meet state funding requirements. If passed, the measure will allow the City to enter into PLA’s. You can read the staff report HERE.
WAREHOUSE KILLER BILL, AB 2840, FAILS TO ADVANCE
Assembly Bill 2840 (Reyes), which would have created a 1,000-foot buffer zone between logistics centers and residential areas, is dead. The bill was recently amended so that it would only apply to Riverside and San Bernardino Counties; however, after strong opposition from BOMA CAL, California Business Properties Association, CalChamber, LiUNA!, and others, the bill failed to advance out of committee. While the bill is dead for now, Assemblymember Eloise Reyes vowed to bring it back in a future legislative session. The full text of the bill may be found HERE.
CALIFORNIA GAS TAX INCREASED BY THREE CENTS
Despite California having some of the highest gas prices in the nation, the state’s gas tax increased by another three cents on July 1st, due to the annual excise tax adjustment. While several state leaders called on the Governor to suspend the gas tax, state Democrats instead signed a gas tax relief plan into law as part of the state budget. Gas tax relief will come in the form of tax refunds to residents. Couples with at least one depended earning up to $150,000/year will receive $1,050 while single persons with no dependents, who make up to $500,000, will receive $200. Payments are expected October through January. To learn more, click HERE.
CALIFORNIA STATEWIDE EVICTION MORATORIUM ENDS
A State approved emergency measure that extended its eviction moratorium until June 30, has ended. The 3-month extension was intended to provide more time for emergency rent relief to be doled out to tenants. Additionally, most other local eviction moratorium rules have also sunset. The San Diego City Council’s recently adopted eviction moratorium is STILL IN EFFECT. The City’s ordinance prohibits “no fault” evictions until 60 days after the end of the declared state of emergency from COVID-19 (read staff report for hearing here). No fault evictions typically occur when an owner wants to move back into a property, remodel it, or sell it. The state has yet to end the declared state of emergency, so no timeframe is known for when that might happen and the city’s ordinance might sunset.