Mayor Gloria proposes waiving fees for cleanup of Jan. 22 flood damages
On Friday, Mayor Todd Gloria proposed that the city of San Diego's Development Services and Environmental Services departments waive fees for building and demolition permits and waste disposal associated with recovery from storm damage over the past several weeks.
Gloria's proposal — set to be presented to the City Council on Monday — would also reimburse recycling costs associated with the reconstruction of damaged private property.
"We've been on the ground listening to residents and businesses impacted by the Jan. 22 storm to ensure we're providing the most effective assistance to help them recover," Gloria said. "Another way the city can help is by lowering the costs of rebuilding.
"These fee waivers will make things a little easier for San Diegans whose lives were changed so suddenly and dramatically by this natural disaster," he said.
According to the mayor's office, the draft fee waiver does not include fees for the expansion of structures over those that were destroyed or damaged, but the city will provide permit amnesty for storm victims who wish to permit and reconstruct previously unpermitted additions.
According to early estimates, as many as 1,000 San Diego residents suffered damage to homes, businesses and personal property in the Jan. 22 storm, with a majority of them in the communities of Mountain View, Encanto, Mount Hope, Shelltown, Southcrest and Rolando.
City staff estimate that the fee waiver proposal would save residents $2.41 million in total.
Though the storm this week has resulted in no reports of heavy damage locally, widespread flooding destruction from the much worse spate of downpours two weeks ago prompted Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday to seek an official disaster declaration from President Joe Biden to help the San Diego region recover.
"The late-January storm saw record-breaking rain in San Diego, where the worst impacts were felt in lower-income neighborhoods," Newsom noted. "Many folks saw damage to their life's work that can't be recovered without federal support."
If approved, the action would help hard-hit locals via eligibility for such support as housing assistance, vehicle replacement, food aid, counseling, medical services and legal services, according to the governor's office.
Gloria also proposed additional support for residents with flood-damaged properties through a Debris Assistance Program, which would allow for debris-management services at no cost to eligible flooded properties. This city program, which would be coordinated through the Environmental Services Department, would provide a container or trash bin to be delivered at addresses within the impacted areas for proper handling, recycling and/or disposal of demolition waste.
San Diego is making emergency grant funding available to small businesses and nonprofits, with applications being accepted starting on Monday. These grants will provide up to $2,500 per business and $5,000 for those in the Promise Zone, Opportunity Zone or Low-Moderate Income Census Tracts.
This weekend, the city's Local Assistance Center at the Mountain View Community Recreation Center will be open for residents in the storm-affected communities. Hours of operation this weekend are through 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.