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Pismo Beach moves to make room for more affordable housing 

Pismo Beach is working to get itself off the state's "naughty list" for failing to provide adequate housing for residents at all income levels, and that effort will likely include bringing a number of new affordable housing units to the city.

At a meeting on Nov. 19, the Pismo Beach City Council unanimously voted to introduce ordinances that would create a residential very high density overlay district and rezone a property on 4th Street from retail commercial to high density residential. Both moves would allow for the development of about 88 housing units in the very low- and low-income categories, according to a city staff report, units that were supposed to be provided in the last two cycles of the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) but were not.

click to enlarge MEETING QUOTAS At a meeting on Nov. 19, Pismo Beach City Council unanimously voted to introduce ordinances that would allow for the development of about 88 housing units in the very low- and low-income categories. - FILE PHOTO BY KASEY BUBNASH
  • File Photo By Kasey Bubnash
  • MEETING QUOTAS At a meeting on Nov. 19, Pismo Beach City Council unanimously voted to introduce ordinances that would allow for the development of about 88 housing units in the very low- and low-income categories.

"I'm thrilled to pieces that we're going ahead with this because we really, really need this," Councilmember Sheila Blake said at the Nov. 19 meeting. "And it's very little of a choice on our part. We have to do something."

All California jurisdictions are expected to accommodate for the development of a certain number of housing units by RHNA, and if a city's quota isn't met, it risks the loss of local control over development, legal challenges, and lost state funding.

In December 2018, Pismo Beach received a letter of noncompliance from the California Department of Housing and Community Development, which oversees RHNA, regarding its failure to meet its RHNA quota.

Now the city is working to catch up, according to Planning Department Project Manager Brian Schwartz, who said at the meeting that two sites could help Pismo meet its goals: a 1.2-acre lot at 855 4th St. that currently contains a medical building and parking, and another 1-acre lot just down the street.

The first parcel would need to be rezoned to hold a housing unit, and the city's proposed ordinances would do just that. While one community member shared concerns about overcrowding and increased traffic in Pismo Beach, others showed support for the ordinances.

"The previous speaker mentioned that we need to keep in mind the needs of the people who live here," Grover Beach resident Krista Jeffries said at the meeting, "and projects just like this do support the people who live here because the people who live here can afford to live there and also work in the hospitality industries that Pismo Beach relies on for its tax revenue."

Both ordinances will come before City Council for readings at later meetings. Δ

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