Friday, September 18, 2020

Council Awards an Affordable Housing Contract, Discusses Sewage and Grants

At its February 6 meeting the Coronado City Council unanimously approved a slate of routine agenda items on the consent calendar, including approving its revised accessory dwelling unit (ADU) policy and an affordable housing lease agreement. This was the second reading for the ADU ordinance. It also approved a letter opposing Senate Bill (SB) 831. The bill would allow the state to override the city’s right to regulation of the construction of ADUs, including the new ADU ordinance. Whether the ADUs generate enough rental stock make rents affordable remains to be seen.

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Affordable housing

Meanwhile the council took steps to make the current affordable housing units more livable by approving a lease agreement between the City of Coronado and the Coronado Interfaith Housing Corporation (CIHC) to renovate and manage 35 units (on Orange and G Avenues). The 65-year lease would cost the CIHC one dollar per year. At the end of the 65 years, the units and all of the improvements would revert back to the City of Coronado. The city has used the group before and has been pleased with the quality of its work. “They do a good job of making affordable housing blend in with the rest of the community,” Councilwoman Carrie Downey said. “We need some rental stock to give a flavor to our community and to make sure everyone is welcome.”

The only item the council didn’t approve was a request from City Councilman Bill Sandke to agendize banning “clam shell” take out boxes. The City of Imperial Beach recently banned the use of these polystyrene containers. The council wanted more information before going forward with a ban.

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The rest of the meeting was taken up with reports on efforts to address the Tijuana River Sewage crisis at the federal level and to reform the city’s community grant program.

Tijuana River Sewage: Andre Monette of Best Best and Krieger (BB&K) reported his firm’s approach to helping to resolve crises through championing legislation and lobbying federal agencies to improve infrastructure on both sides of the border.

There is a bipartisan bill HR3795 sponsored by Juan Vargas (D-CA 51) and Darrell Issa (R-Vista) that would direct the Army Corp of Engineers to develop a program to enhance the infrastructure on both sides of the border. The bill was introduced in September and has yet to be taken up by the appropriate committees, which must approve funds for the project. Besides Congress, Monette said BB&K has also met with the International Boundary & Water Commission and the Department of Justice to look for ways to resolve the issue.

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He also pointed to short-term steps to be taken by a number of state agencies, such as California Fish and Wildlife and California Water Boards to improve infrastructure here. One step would be additional catch bins to reduce the amount of sewerage washing up on local beaches.

Community Grants: City Councilman Donovan presented the second of three status reports on his and Mayor Richard Bailey’s efforts to reform the community grants program. The third and final report will be presented at the May 20 meeting with a draft proposal due sometime in March.

The first report offered a draft mission statement and defined who was eligible to receive a grant. For example, organizations must be Coronado based, not-for-profit and serve at least one of the community elements. These include economic development, social services or the arts. The report also suggested what activities qualified for funding and a proposed schedule for applications, awards and reporting requirements.

The goal is to determine how much an organization needs in a given year. Unlike the past, “groups are not going to be guaranteed a set amount of money from the city every year,” Bailey said. “We are looking for ways to determine “what type of groups would give us [the community] the greatest return.”

 

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Gloria Tierney
A freelance writer in San Diego for more than 30 years. She has written for a number of national and international newspapers, including the Times of London, San Diego Tribune, Sierra Magazine, Reuters News Service and Patch.Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: manager@ecoronado.com
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