OCEANSIDE — To help meet its goal to provide more inclusionary housing, City Council approved changes to inclusionary housing standards for building projects that exceed base density on Jan. 16.
New options for builders include land donations, rehabilitation of market-rate units, $12,250 per unit in-lieu fees for units above base density, and builder incentives of one additional story of building height, reduced parking requirements, and waiver of a conditional use permit.
Initial recommendations applied to low and moderate-income housing and limited incentives to projects in transit corridor areas.
Councilman Jerry Kern modified recommendations to exclude moderate-income housing and apply standards citywide.
The changes became a point of contention and resulted in a 3-2 council vote in which Mayor Jim Wood and Councilwoman Esther Sanchez voted no.
“Our job is to do what’s best for our city and our residents,” Sanchez said. “It’s about quality of life in our neighborhoods.”
Sanchez said citywide application of the standards would result in building projects that would be out of character with neighborhoods.
She added that current in-lieu fees, which are overwhelmingly selected by developers, are too low to cover the cost of building affordable housing units.
“It’s really clear what the BIA (Building Industry Association), who helped determine the standards, was pushing at the time — get rid of fees, get rid of as many regulations as possible — under the guise of building affordable housing,” Sanchez said.
Half a dozen residents said the incentives would cause parking shortages, and might lower the property value of current homes.
Planning commissioner Bob Neal, speaking as a citizen, said he supported applying the standards citywide.
“It releases up a lot of potential of what the building industry can do for the city,” Neal said. “We need to open up the city to opportunity that might be there.”
Sanchez said she would like to see the city return to using a formula to determine in-lieu fees that would cover the cost of building affordable housing units.
Councilman Gary Felien said he supported the standards and added that the higher in-lieu fees previously required could not be collected in the current recession.
In another 2-3 vote, council re-voted on changes to the appointment process to regional boards and approved allowing council members to make nominations for appointments. Wood and Sanchez voted no.
Regional appointments will be made in late February.