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  AGENDA ITEM NO. K.2.       
Meeting Date: 09/21/2021  

SUBJECT:
Consideration of a determination of exemption pursuant to Sections 15262 and 15061(b)(3) of the state Guildelines implementing the California Environmental Quality Act Guidelines and, consideration of urgency Ordinance No. 2928 of the City of Redlands establishing a temporary 45-day moratorium on certain new development projects for properties located within the Commercial Industrial (EV/IC) District of the East Valley Corridor Specific Plan that are identified on the list of potential housing sites prepared in conjunction with the City’s Housing Element update (6th Cycle Housing Element).  (Development Services Director Desatnik)
MOTION(S):

If the City Council desires to adopt the urgency ordinance, the following motion is provided.
  1. "I move to adopt Ordinance No. 2908."
RECOMMENDATION:

Staff recommends that City Council introduce and adopt Ordinance No. 2928.
DISCUSSION:

A)  Background

The City of Redlands is currently in the process of updating the Housing Element which is part of the City’s General Plan. The Housing Element is a required element of the General Plan that provides policies, programs, and actions to achieve the City’s housing goals. The Housing Element must clearly demonstrate that the City of Redlands has sufficient land zoned to accommodate the required number of housing units for each income category identified in the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA). The City’s Housing Element will cover an eight-year planning period from 2021 to 2029 and will accomplish the following:
  • Analyze the City’s demographics, economics, and housing supply;
  • Analyze housing constraints and resources;
  • Evaluate sites appropriate for potential housing; and
  • Develop housing goals, objectives, polices, and programs.

Based on the number of future housing units allocated to the City under RHNA, the City must then plan accordingly to provide a sufficient amount of land to accommodate the jurisdiction’s allotment for the next eight-year period. The properties must also be zoned properly to accomodate the number of units and densities. The City’s Housing Element Update project team has developed the draft RHNA inventory sites and created a Potential Housing Sites Inventory Map (link here) that shows how the City can accommodate the required number of RHNA units for each income category. The Housing Element must be certified by the California Department of Housing & Community Development (HCD). In reviewing local Housing Elements for consideration and certification, HCD emphasized the realistic development potential of each RHNA site such as the zoning designation and surrounding uses.

For the planning period of 2021-2029 (current RHNA cycle), the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) has provided the following RHNA allocation numbers for the City of Redlands as shown in Table 1.
 
Table 1: City of Redlands 6th Cycle RHNA Obligation 2021-2029
Income Category Housing Units Growth Needed
Very-low income 967
Low income 615
Moderate income 652
Above-moderate income 1,282
Total RHNA allocation 3,516 units

Over the past several months, the Housing Element Update project team has conducted public outreach including community meetings, conference calls with various stakeholders, and study sessions with the Planning Commission as well as City Council. Based on input received from these efforts, a portion of the East Valley Corridor Specific Plan (EVCSP) area has been identified as a suitable area for future housing development for the following reasons:  there are existing and approved but yet to be constructed multi-family housing projects in that area of Redlands; the existing industrial uses to the north are separated from this area by the drainage channel and Orange Blossum Trail; and new residential neighborhoods are being developed in nearby City of Loma Linda.

The area of the EVCSP that is affected by the proposed urgency ordinance consists of 15 parcels that are located in the Commercial Industrial (EV/IC) District of the EVCSP (see Attachment A-1 and Attachment A-2). These properties are generally located south of Citrus Avenue (between New Jersey Street and Alabama Street) on the northerly side of Orange Avenue. The uses immediately surrounding these parcels include vacant lots and storm water channel to the north (with commercial and light industrial uses more than 200 feet to the north on the opposite side of the storm water channel), vacant lots and single-family residential neighborhoods to the west (in the City of Loma Linda), higher density multifamily development (condominiums and apartments) to the southeast, light industrial uses further to the east, and higher density multifamily residential developments and a neighborhood shopping center with Stater Bros. market to the south.

Most of the parcels identified on the Potential Housing Sites Map (link here) are currently vacant, and nine (9) are developed with a single-family residence or with citrus trees. Some of the parcels developed with a single-family residence have a commercial component at the rear of the dwelling. All of the parcels identified are close to schools, parks, grocery stores, health care services, and other neighborhood services.

To accommodate the required number of RHNA housing sites, the City requires additional time to study the parcels that have been identified as potential housing sites and to process the rezoning of these parcels. The sites that are subject to the proposed Moratorium will assist the City in providing sufficient land to meet the City’s required number and density of housing units as required by the State. The sites identified will be required to be rezoned to authorize residential development as the primary use, and at a density sufficient to comply with State requirements for different household income categories. Furthermore, the State provides severe penalties to local jurisdictions that fail to provide the appropriate zoning for the RHNA sites that would be used for housing development. Therefore, staff is proposing a temporary moratorium on new development projects for a limited number of industrial properties in the EV/IC District, and only those properties that are identified in the City’s draft RHNA inventory map.
 
In accordance with Government Code Section 65858, the City Council may adopt as an urgency measure (an interim ordinance) prohibiting any uses that may be in conflict with a contemplated general plan, specific plan, or zoning proposal that the legislative body, planning commission, or the planning department is considering or studying or intends to study within a reasonable time.
 
B)  Analysis

Some of the potential housing sites are currently located within the Commercial Industrial (EV/IC) District of the East Valley Corridor Specific Plan (see Attachment B), which is intended for a wide range of industrial and services related uses and prohibits the development of residential development. The identified potential housing sites may need to undergo a zone change or Specific Plan Amendment in the case of the EVCSP (see Attachment B) and General Plan Amendment (see Attachment C) to permit future housing. Staff needs additional time to study the potential rezoning and General Plan land use designation for the properties that have been identified as potential housing sites.   

With the current housing crisis, the City’s ability to identify sufficient land area with appropriate zoning to accommodate the required RHNA number is a matter of critical and immediate local concern. Based on the 6th Cycle RHNA obligations for the period of 2021-2029, the City’s must identify land and provide appropriate zoning to accommodate new housing for all income levels. The area that has been identified as potential housing as shown in Exhibit A to the proposed ordinance is an area located within close proximity to residential uses (e.g. single-family homes, apartments, etc.), commercial and services related uses (e.g. medical offices, retail, etc.), as well as schools and parks. It is crucial to rethink the potential uses for this area, as this part of the City can be re-envisioned as a potential housing corridor given that the parcels have sufficient acreage as well as compatibility with the surrounding uses. The parcels identified in Exhibit A (Attachment D-2) will help the City meet the RHNA allocation and are potentially compatible with the surrounding neighborhood context.
 
To protect the City’s ability to comply with State law and complete its Housing Element Update in accordance with the State's requirements, City staff is proposing a temporary moratorium on certain developments in order to ensure, to the best extent possible, that the sites identified are not developed with uses that are incompatible with housing (such as industrial warehouses). Meanwhile, staff is working to finalize the draft 6th Cycle Housing Element and develop a rezoning program for the Zone Map changes that will be necessary to fulfill the City’s RHNA requirement.
 
To address these concerns, staff is proposing a temporary 45-day moratorium on certain new development projects for those limited number of properties that are: 1) located within the EV/IC district, and 2) identified on the list and map of potential housing sites associated with the Housing Element Update. The temporary moratorium will allow staff time to thoroughly study these sites and related land use issues.

Proposed Moratorium:  The proposed moratorium will allow staff additional time for the following:
  • Allow staff with additional time to identify and confirm if certain properties will need to be re-zoned from an Industrial zone to a different (Residential) zoning designation to accommodate future housing.
  • Examine if certain properties will need to change the land use designation under the General Plan to permit residential uses (i.e., from Industrial to Residential for consistency with zoning as required by State law).
  • Evaluate if properties should be added or removed from the list and map of potential future housing sites.
  • Study the surrounding land uses and other characteristics of properties identified on the list of potential future housing sites.
  • Study the process by which future housing projects (including lower-income housing, affordable housing, projects with a State density bonus, and/or market rate housing projects) may be subject to what level of discretionary review.
The moratorium, if adopted, will place an interim prohibition of land use approvals and/or building permit issuance for properties identified in Exhibit A of the Ordinance (see Attachment D-2). The only exception is for any multi-family housing development in the Low and Very-Low Income category (minimum density 30 du/acre) and Moderate-Income category (density of 12 du/acre to 30 du/acre) at property locations consistent with the 6th Cycle Housing Element. Therefore, this moratorium is crucial to discourage new commercial and/or industrial types of development in this area and to preserve the properties identified as future housing sites.  

Urgency Ordinance: In accordance with California Government Code Section 65858, the urgency ordinance shall require a 4/5 vote of the City Council for adoption and is immediately valid for a total of 45 days from the date of adoption (until November 5, 2021). Prior to the expiration date, the City Council may extend the interim ordinance, which will require a public notice and public hearing as well as a 4/5 vote to extend the moratorium an additional 10 months and 15 days.  Staff anticipates proposing such an extension at the November 2 City Council meeting.
 
C)  Environmental Review
 
The proposal qualifies for exemption from environmental review in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). CEQA Guidelines Section 15262 (Feasibility and Planning Studies) and Section 15061(b)(3) provide appropriate exemptions, as there is no possibility that adoption of the interim ordinance will result in a physical change to the environment.
ALTERNATIVES:

The City Council can continue the proposal and direct staff to address any further issues.
STRATEGIC PLAN:

Not applicable.
SUBMITTED BY:
Brian Desatnik, Development Services Director

RECOMMENDED BY:
Charles M. Duggan Jr., City Manager

REVIEWED BY:
Daniel J. McHugh, City Attorney
Janice McConnell, Assistant City Manager
Danielle Garcia, Management Services/Finance Director
 

PREPARED BY:
Jocelyn Torres, Assistant Planner
  

Fiscal Impact
Fiscal Year: 21-22
Appropriation Required Y/N: No
Discussion:
No fiscal impact will result from this action.
Attachments
Attachment A-1: Vicinity Map
Attachment A-2: Properties & Assessor Parcel Numbers
Attachment B: Zone Map
Attachment C: General Plan Land Use
Attachment B-1: City Council Ordinance No. 2928
Attachment B-2: Exhibit A to Ordinance No. 2928


    

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