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San Diego Council Considers Raising Fees On Developers

Evening Edition

Aired 11/4/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.

Former Mayor Jerry Sanders, CEO President, San Diego Chamber of Commerce

Susan Riggs, Executive Director, San Diego Housing Federation

Transcript

The San Diego City Council will decide Monday on whether to increase fees on developers to help fund affordable housing. The proposal comes as tens of thousands of low-income San Diegans are waiting for housing assistance.

Aired 11/4/13 on KPBS News.

The San Diego City Council will decide today whether to increase fees on developers to help fund affordable housing. The proposal comes as tens of thousands of low-income San Diegans are waiting for housing assistance.

The issue is over the fee the City of San Diego charges commercial developers to help subsidize low-income housing projects, called a linkage fee. It links the gap between low-incomes and the cost of housing in San Diego.

The proposal, by the San Diego Housing Commission, would raise the fee to 1.5 percent of current construction costs — an approximate 500 percent increase. It's the same level set when the fee was first initiated in 1990, but six years later, it was halved and has remained at that level since.

Susan Riggs, executive director of the San Diego Housing Federation, said a good measure of the housing crisis is the 45,000 people in San Diego currently on a ten year wait for Section 8 housing assistance.

"In the interim, folks are struggling to get by," she said, "they’re doubling up, they’re ending up in shelters, they’re moving out of San Diego. And again, these are folks that are really critical to our economy that are really the backbone of many of our industries."

The business community argues increasing the fee would amount to another tax that would kill jobs and encourage builders to take their projects to other regions in the county.

The San Diego County Taxpayers Association sent an email last week encouraging recipients to lobby against the plan to City Council members.

Comments

Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | November 4, 2013 at 9 a.m. ― 8 months, 4 weeks ago

Instead of forcing companies to prop up an unnatural market condition, why don't we let the free market correct itself? If these people are the backbone of industry but they cannot afford to live here, they should move. If they truly are the backbone of certain industries here, then their employers will give them raises to prevent them from moving, or their employers will also move away.

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | November 4, 2013 at 10:16 a.m. ― 8 months, 4 weeks ago

Just another legal theft of money from the successful to sustain the tattoo bearing, pit bull owning, Newport smoking folks. Is there a limit to the length of time people can stay in low income housing? How many 500% increases will it take for the developers to just lose interest in the area? It appears to me that Ms. Riggs has a distorted view of who really is the "backbone" of our industries. Who is John Galt?

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Avatar for user 'Derek'

Derek | November 4, 2013 at 2:04 p.m. ― 8 months, 4 weeks ago

I agree, JeanMarc. The fee is just a way to shift costs from employers to developers.

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