Downtown’s Housing Momentum is Unmistakable

By Emilie Cameron, DSP Policy & Advocacy Manager

Downtown Sacramento Partnership has been busy this summer advocating for housing policy priorities that will attract investment, spur development, and grow downtown’s population. Learn more about our recent advocacy efforts to support a thriving downtown.

Mixed Income Housing Ordinance

Last night the City Council approved significant updates to the city’s affordable housing policy. City Council recognized the difficult, and very costly, nature of downtown development and enacted a balanced compromise that will foster new housing, of all types. Downtown Partnership successfully advocated for predictability measures that set the fee rate to zero for high-density and conversion residential development. This removes one of the many costly challenges to residential construction downtown and encourages infill, reuse and urban development downtown.

The first ordinance reviewed since approval of the Downtown Housing Initiative, adoption of the Mixed Income Ordinance is an important first step toward the creation of more housing downtown.

Downtown Housing Initiative

Mayor Kevin Johnson’s Initiative was unanimously approved by the City Council last week.  This plan is an important part of transforming the Central City to include 10,000 new homes over the next 10 years. As a member of the Leadership Committee, Downtown Partnership advocated for several key policy proposals included in the plan:

  • Downtown Specific Plan: The first step of the Initiative, the City’s Planning Department will work with downtown stakeholders to identify key opportunity sites downtown ripe for site analysis, survey, public improvements and adjusting zoning standards to fit a new programmatic EIR, which will streamline the CEQA review process for downtown projects.
  • Streamlining Existing Policies & Practices: A critical part of the plan includes a plan to simplify the process to receive approvals and permits for projects, this includes a comprehensive impact fee study, design process review, tracking system and more that will be incorporated into a user-friendly development toolkit
  • Enhanced Infrastructure Finance Districts: A critical new tool to reduce the overall cost burden of a project, this additional source of revenue could fund infrastructure for new projects downtown. Modernizing downtown’s infrastructure is an important – and major – first step of the downtown development process.
  • Ordinance Review: The plan calls for the review and update of current city ordinances that impact housing, including Mixed Income Housing, Housing Trust Fund, Preservation and Single Room Occupancy Ordinances, and in the future, potentially a Vacancy Assessment study.

What’s next?

In the coming months, Downtown Partnership will continue to prioritize support for policies that encourage more housing downtown. For more information or to learn more, contact Policy & Advocacy Manager Emilie Cameron.