April Legislative Update
Thursday, April 27, 2023
by: Craig Benedetto and Marshall Anderson, California Strategies

Section: Government Affairs




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Legislative Update 

April 2023 

By Craig Benedetto & Marshall Anderson, Legislative Advocates 

   

HOMELESS ENCAMPMENT BAN MOVES OUT OF LAND USE AND HOUSING COMMITTEE

The City of San Diego’s Land Use and Housing Committee on April 12, 2023 moved forward with a proposal to prohibit homeless encampments on public land. The ordinance would prohibit encampments on all public property when shelter beds are available and would prohibit them regardless of shelter bed availability in regional parks like Balboa Park, shoreline parks, near schools, shelters, waterways, trolley stations, and transit hubs. While the proposal will move forward to full City Council, it will do so without a recommendation from the Committee. This is largely due to a somewhat lukewarm reception which culminated in a 3-1 vote and several amendments. Amendments require that the proposal include a plan to expand congregate and non-congregate shelter options, dedicated outreach, and consistent enforcement. Additionally, committee members requested that all parks be added to the ordinance and requested a legal analysis from the City Attorney. To review the staff presentation, please click HERE.  The full ordinance can be found HERE

 

SAN DIEGO CITY COUNCIL VOTES TO DECLARE CIVIC CENTER PARCELS AS SURPLUS LAND

The San Diego Land Use and Housing Committee also on April 13th voted to declare six blocks owned by the city in the civic center core as surplus land. Of the six civic center blocks, the current City Operations Building and adjacent parking lot is being focused on as the potential site of a new city hall. Once the full City Council votes, a “Notice of Availability” or NOA will be issued, which is expected in May.  While there aren’t any absolute conditions of the NOA, under the State’s Surplus Land Act, there are requirements for affordable housing and the city went further to encourage as much affordable housing as possible, with middle-income housing being emphasized.  The recommendation and committee member comments also showed a preference for the preservation of a theater presence, as well as prioritizing bidders that have “strong labor agreements.” An additional preference would be for bidders to work with the San Diego Unified School District to explore a performing arts high school on the site. To read the staff presentation, please click HERE.

 

RESIDENTIAL TENANT PROTECTIONS COMING TO CITY COUNCIL TUESDAY

Mayor Todd Gloria and Council President Elo-Rivera have released a new renter protection package that aims to make it harder for landlords to evict tenants from residential properties. The language, which can be found HERE, establishes that a landlord shall not evict tenants without “just cause.” Per the draft ordinance, just cause includes both at-fault and no-fault evictions and is summarized as any of the following:

  • Default in rent payment

  • Breach of a material lease term

  • Nuisance behavior

  • Lease termination (after receiving written request from the landlord and if tenant refused to execute a written lease extension)

  • Criminal activity, threat, or illegal use of the property

  • Tenant refusal to allow landlord to enter the property

  • Where tenant is an employee of the landlord and fails to vacate property upon termination of work

  • Landlord seeks to occupy (live in) the property (or their immediate family)

  • Landlord seeks to withdraw the property from the rental market

  • Government or ordinance requires the vacating of a residential unit

  • Landlord seeks to demolish or substantially remodel the property. This only applies if the landlord does the following:

    • Posts at the property an application of the necessary permits within three business days of application submittal

    • Secures permits necessary for demolition or substantial remodel

    • Serves copy of permits with a written termination notice

    • Note: substantial remodel does not include cosmetic improvements, including painting, decorating, and minor repairs where the tenant could otherwise safely continue living on the premises during the duration of the remodel

 

When noticing, a landlord must provide written notice of termination at least 30-60 days prior to the proposed date of termination. For no-fault evictions, the landlord must provide relocation assistance in the amount equal to two months of rent payment. If the tenant is senior or disabled, payment would be in the amount equal to three months of rent payment. The landlord must waive and not collect rent payment of any due or future rent under the tenant’s lease at the time of notice and through the remainder of the tenancy. Additionally, if the rental property is offered for rent or lease within five years of the date the tenant was evicted, the landlord must first offer the lease to the tenant that was displaced (applies only to no-fault evictions). This only applies if the tenant advised the landlord in writing within 30 days of termination of their desire to renew an eventual tenancy, and if the landlord received a mailing or email address from the tenant. The Ordinance is being direct-docketed to full City Council on Tuesday, 4/25, at 2pm. You can find the staff report HERE.

 

SECOND ANALYSIS ON CITY WATER RATE INCREASE POINTS TO HIGHER COSTS ON BUSINESSES, CONDOMINIUMS 

A second analysis conducted on San Diego’s proposal to raise water rates by 17.6% over the next two years found that more revenue may be needed to cover rising costs to buy imported water and replace aging infrastructure. While the first analysis recommended increasing annual revenue from $566m to $602m to cover rising expenses, the second consultant's recommendation calls for significant changes to the methodology and assumptions of the first consultant’s analysis. One such change would lead to lower bills for single-family home customers and raise prices for businesses, condominiums, and apartments. The City Council is expected to discuss the change in June.  To read the story, please click HERE.

 

CITY OF SAN DIEGO BUILDING ENERGY BENCHMARKING REPORT REQUIRED BY JUNE 1, EXEMPTIONS DUE MAY 1

San Diego’s local benchmarking ordinance requires commercial, mixed-use, and multifamily buildings larger than 50,000 square feet to report whole-building energy consumption to the city using Energy Star Portfolio Manager. To see whether your building might fit the requirement, please click HERE. If your property is over 50,000 feet and is not listed, the City encourages you to submit a support request form HERE. The city will host webinars on April 27, May 16, and May 23. To sign up for a virtual webinar, please click HERE

 

CITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES CLIMATE ACTION IMPLEMENTATION PLAN, PRIORITIZATION, MONDAY

A draft of the City’s Climate Action Implementation Plan, which was previously discussed by the San Diego City Council’s Environment Committee, was discussed at full city council earlier this month. Calling it a “moral imperative” city staff has said that aggressive action needs to be taken to help address climate change.  Much of the implementation plan focuses on transportation and the built environment.  While many specifics of “how” have yet to be presented, staff did note that a “reach code” is being drafted, which will be centered on building electrification mandates, starting with new construction. It is anticipated that the building electrification mandate for new construction will be presented for consideration in the next couple of months, with the retrofit mandate for existing buildings occurring later in the summer. 

 

BOMA, the SD Regional Chamber, BIA, NAIOP and others have been critical of the prioritization process since private sector input was largely left out of the plan.  Feasibility was, as a result, not ranked very high in the IBA’s prioritization scheme.  When asked during the Environment Committee’s discussion, the Mayor’s office stated that they will NOT conduct an economic feasibility analysis of private sector implementation costs and job impacts.   

 

BOMA’s Civic Engagement Committee received a presentation and is working with stakeholders and coalition partners on a coordinated approach to addressing these issues, including the cost implications of mandated building electrification. 

 

The full Climate Action Implementation Plan can be found HERE.  

 

CITY OF SAN DIEGO ACCEPTING SUGGESTIONS FOR ANNUAL LDC UPDATE UNTIL APRIL 30

The City of San Diego’s Planning Department is now accepting ideas and input for its annual update to the City’s development regulations, the Land Development Code (LDC). Code changes are made annually to keep the City up to date with changing land use needs, including clarifications, corrections, regulatory reforms, and changes to bring the City into compliance with state law. Suggestions must be submitted by April 30 to be considered. BOMA’s legislative advocates continues to participate in these discussions with city staff, including as a member of the City’s Technical Advisory Committee.  To make a request, click HERE. For more information about the LDC or to review the 2022 update, click HERE.  If you’d like to provide thoughts for BOMA to use in these discussions, please feel free to send them to Craig Benedetto at craigb@calstrat.com. 

 

CITY REQUESTING INPUT ON BLUEPRINT SD

The City of San Diego is requesting input on Blueprint San Diego, a citywide planning tool aimed at identifying the City’s housing, climate, and mobility goals to better implement them at the community planning level. Blueprint is expected to expedite the community plan update process and more than double annual housing production with a select emphasis on building homes near transit priority areas. It is also intended to be a key means to helping the city achieve its climate action goals.  It’s critical that BOMA members provide their input in this process.  To participate in the survey, click HERE.

   

COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS TAKE VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE

San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher was given a vote of no confidence by his four colleagues who have called for his immediate resignation. Fletcher had previously announced that he would resign effective May 15. The timing and process for replacing County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher remains unclear.  Board Chair, Supervisor Nora Vargas, has said that they intend to hold a hearing on May 2nd to discuss the options, which include appointment to his remaining term, calling a special election or a combination.  Technically, Fletcher has not yet formally resigned, but has said that he intends to do so on May 15th.  When (and if) that resignation is formally tendered, the Board of Supervisors will have 30 days to either appoint or call for a special election.  If they do call for a special election, it will need to be held within 75-90 days.  The calls for Fletcher to resign sooner have also increased, adding further uncertainty to the timing of action.  In the meantime, Fletcher continues to be on medical leave, out of the state, seeking treatment for PTSD, alcohol use and anger management issues.   

 

DOWNTOWN’S FORMER CENTRAL LIBRARY, NAVIGATION CENTER CONSIDERED FOR HOUSING

San Diego officials are considering the sale and redevelopment of the old Downtown Central Library and a former indoor skydiving center, which is now used as a housing navigation center, to be replaced with housing. The properties could be earmarked for sale to developers who commit to deed-restricting all residential units for low- and moderate-income families or homeless people, bypassing the noticing and negotiating requirements of the Surplus Land Act.

 

GASLAMP PROMENADE PROJECT MOVES FORWARD

San Diego City Council is set to vote on the proposal to create a seven-block pedestrian plaza along the Gaslamp Quarter, Tuesday. The plan involves banning cars and parking on Fifth Avenue between Broadway and K Street. The city hopes to add street furniture, public art, trees, murals, and possibly outdoor entertainment venues. To learn more, click HERE.

 

ASSEMBLYMEMBER MAIENSCHEIN OFFICIALLY DECLARES BID FOR CITY ATTORNEY

After weeks of speculation, Assemblymember Brian Maienschein officially announced his candidacy for San Diego City Attorney in 2024. He received endorsements from Mayor Todd Gloria and City Council President Sean Elo-Rivera and plans to focus on reducing the amount of money the city pays out in lawsuit settlements. Maienschein’s only opponent so far is Democrat Heather Ferbert, a current San Diego Deputy City Attorney.

 

ASSEMBLY MEMBER WEBER ANNOUNCES CAMPAIGN FOR STATE SENATE

California Assemblymember Akilah Weber, a La Mesa Democrat and daughter of Secretary of State, Shirley Weber, has announced her bid for the state Senate district currently represented by Toni Atkins. With Atkins terming out, Nathan Fletcher had been the only declared candidate until he ended his campaign last week. La Mesa Vice Mayor Colin Parent announced that he will run for Weber’s current Assembly seat.  Other candidates for both races could announce their intentions soon. 

 

MAYOR RELEASES FISCAL YEAR 2024 BUDGET

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria unveiled his proposed FY 2024 budget last week. The budget will increase spending on homelessness, lifeguards, litter removal, street paving, and internet access in historically underserved areas. The budget also increases the city’s general fund above $2 billion for the first time, a nearly 5% increase made possible by surging tax revenues, including TOT. The proposed budget also bolsters the city’s Personnel and Human Resources Departments to help fill several hundred jobs that have remained vacant for years.  The Mayor also highlighted his proposal to increase funding for homeless programs from $29mm to $46.8mm.  For more information, please CLICK HERE.  

 

BIDEN OFFICIALLY ENDS COVID-19 NATIONAL EMERGENCY

President Joe Biden has signed a congressional resolution to formally end the U.S. national emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The emergency measure allowed the government to take sweeping steps in response to the virus, including healthcare and economic support.