By: 5th District Supervisor, Debbie Arnold
Most of us would agree that we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Our scenic coastline, rolling hills and open space are among some of the characteristics that makes our county so desirable. Balancing our rural culture along with the need for housing has been a challenge.
With the topic of affordable and workforce housing in the forefront of many discussions over the last few years, I am happy to a share that the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to move forward with a Three-Year Affordable Housing Pilot Program earlier this month. Supervisors Peschong and Gibson worked with our County Planning and Building staff and the Housing Coalition which is comprised of representation from: Central Coast Homebuilders Association, Economic Vitality Corporation, San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce, Housing Trust Fund, San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles Housing Authorities, and Peoples Self-help Housing.
Housing affordability has become a countywide community challenge that has affected various levels of housing (from low-income to moderate-income, as well as workforce housing) and our local economy. Deliberations encompassed: options to permanently fund stream $2-$4 million/year for low-income and workforce housing projects, California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guideline Update, and the Regional Infrastructure and Housing Plan. Possible revenue sources that were proposed for the Three-Year Affordable Housing Pilot Program included an Inclusionary Fee that would sunset in 3 years, a vacation rental impact fee, an increase to the Transient Occupancy Tax rate, a ¼% sales tax, and an affordable housing bond. Staff has been directed to do further research, gather public outreach and coordinate with other Departments. To learn more about the County’s Housing Initiative Package, please visit: http://agenda.slocounty.ca.gov/agenda/sanluisobispo/Proposal.html?select=9370
I am looking forward to continuing to build on the collaboration we have observed with the various industries that were represented in the Housing Coalition and commend their efforts to provide a wide range of solutions to a challenging issue.
As we close out 2018, I want to thank you for the opportunity to serve as your County Supervisor. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!