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Housing Workshop #1

On November 3, 2019, the City hosted Housing Workshop #1 at the San Rafael Corporate Center, which discussed housing policy. More specifically, the workshop provided context on the housing crisis and discussed potential regulatory and zoning-related actions the City could take to streamline the process for housing approval and construction. Approximately 40 people attended the workshop. Findings from the workshop (in the table below) revealed that a majority of the public was in favor of streamlining the housing development process.

Strongly Disagree/ DisagreeNeutralStrongly Agree/ Agree
Policy 1 – Streamlining Planning & Design Review Board13%6%81%
Policy 2 – Streamline CEQA/Environmental22%6%72%
Policy 3 – Reduce Requirements for Certain Technical Studies28%13%59%
Policy 4 – Support Form-based code for Downtown Precise Plan19%10%71%
Policy 5 – Adopt “By-Right” Zoning for Affordable Housing Projects16%16%68%
Policy 6 – Raise Appeal Fees and Change Appeal Process29%13%58%

As noted above, workshop attendees were polled on the numerous policy recommendations.  Out of those residents who responded to the survey during the first workshop, 66% strongly agreed that the City should consider changes to the Design Review Board to streamline the project review process. Fifty-three percent strongly felt that the City should make it easier for “infill” projects to receive a CEQA exemption. Those who were not in favor of the City to reduce the requirements for site-specific technical studies for housing projects were outnumbered by 31 percent.  At the same time, more than half of the respondents believe that the City should allow for modest increases in building height and eliminate residential density limits as part of the form-based code being developed in the Downtown Precise Plan.  Sixty-eight percent are also in favor of the City providing a faster process to receive approvals for affordable housing projects.  Likewise, a clear majority prefers that the City should make it harder to file a non-substantive appeal. Moreover, 50% of the surveyed population believed that the City should focus on implementing changes to the Design Review Board to streamline the project review process. Similarly, around 68% believe that making it harder to file a non-substantive appeal is the least important action the City should be focused on.

The polling results have been considered in the recommended prioritization of the policy actions the City is working on.

 

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