Solvang OKs draft housing blueprint to help define future growth | Local news |

2023-02-26 05:32:47 By : Ms. jojo yang

Solvang City Council members Monday unanimously approved the Draft Housing Element of the General Plan for submittal to the California Department of Housing and Community Development after having received extensive feedback from the community.

“We don’t have to figure out the mechanics of whether and how development would occur. … When the housing element goes to HCD and is approved, the city will still have design review, planning commission, planning staff, city council, (environmental impact report) and other resources to look at it. But until that time the city could be subject to both litigation and builders’ remedy,” said Solvang General Plan Advisory Committee member Elizabeth Breen. D400 Manhole Cover

Solvang OKs draft housing blueprint to help define future growth | Local news |

The Housing Element is one of nine elements of the city’s General Plan, a state-required document which helps define the future direction of a city. It addresses the city’s efforts to meet housing needs over the next eight years before the planning tool is again revisited on a schedule prescribed by the state.

The element identifies constraints to housing production, establishes goals, policies and programs to meet those needs, updates city practices and regulations to reflect new state laws established since the last version was adopted in 2014-15.

In recent years, more than a dozen state laws have been adopted to require local jurisdictions to take meaningful action to combat housing discrimination, eliminate racial bias, undo historic patterns of segregation, lift barriers that restrict access, ultimately foster inclusive communities and achieve racial equity, fair housing choice and opportunities.

Consequences of failing to comply could include facing legal challenges to land use decisions, having to pay fines and fees, losing grant funding opportunities, facing court-mandated compliance requirements, losing local land use control, and/or facing court-ordered moratoriums on all permits.

Public Works Director/City Engineer Rodger Olds last presented the document for consideration by the council in January. At that meeting, local residents and council members called for further edits, particularly involving “Site C.”

The document has since been updated to amend the stated capacity of that site west of the junction of Alamo Pintado Road and Village Lane to the northwest corner of Alamo Pintado Road at Old Mission Drive. The former plan called for a capacity of 76 units, but members of nearby Mission Oaks Homeowners Association expressed concern about the density, particularly in light of the steepness of the site terrain.

The latest version states a reduced capacity of 40 units on the site.

There was also discussion of lot line adjustments on that property, but Olds said including a proposed adjustment in this iteration of the document would be premature. The specifics for such an adjustment including environmental impact and hydrology reports, surveys of soil conditions and cultural/archaeological resources must first be analyzed, he said.

“If we do it now, we’re taking a shot in the dark, and it could be that’s just not the right or appropriate place to put it, so that’s why we didn’t address it here at the draft element stage,” Olds said.

He noted that even once approved by the state and incorporated into the city’s final General Plan Update, the city would have to take action before any development may occur.

“This is a planning exercise to provide to the state to meet the (Regional Housing Needs Allocation) numbers imposed upon jurisdictions by the state,” he said

In other news, the council unanimously approved a $688,120 budget adjustment to cover the cost of storm recovery through various emergency contracts.

Olds reported that, as a result of the Jan. 9 storm, several public facilities required cleanup or repair. They included: cleanup of roadways and creek bed debris after Alamo Pintado Creek overtopped at Mission Drive; minor slide along Fredensborg Canyon; washouts on slopes at Hans Christian Andersen Park; flooding in the Veterans Hall crawlspace where materials and equipment were also damaged; failure of Alisal Lift Station pumps due to overflows; washout of the city access road to Well Number 7; and compromised manholes.

The repairs already either completed or soon underway are likely to be covered by FEMA to which an application has already been submitted.

The council also unanimously approved the consent calendar which included:

- A $30,120 agreement with Badawi & Associates for FY 22-23 auditing services;

- A $50,650.80 change order with Roy Allan Slurry Seal, Inc. to reflect project quantities and additional work; and

- An $18,710 contract with Hanley General Engineering Corp for sewer manhole repairs.

Solvang OKs draft housing blueprint to help define future growth | Local news |

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