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Hotly debated Measure S tackles building, zoning laws


Measure S is a citizen-initiated ordinance which if adopted, will amend city law to impose a maximum two-year moratorium on certain development projects, with specified exceptions; restrict General Plan amendments; require periodic review of the General Plan and Community Plans; impose requirements on General Plan review and environmental impact report preparation; and, limit reduction of required parking. It would also restrict the City’s ability to issue building or demolition permits for previously approved projects which meet certain criteria.

This ordinance would impose a maximum two-year moratorium on the approval of new projects seeking General Plan amendments or zone and height district changes which would result in a more intense land use, such as a less restrictive zone or the construction of a higher structure; an increase in floor area ratio, density or height; or, a net loss of land zoned for open space, agricultural, or industrial areas.

Similarly, the ordinance would impose a maximum two-year building moratorium by prohibiting the issuance of a building or demolition permit on a previously approved project that the City granted a General Plan amendment, zone or height district change that resulted in a more intense land use; an increase in floor area ratio, density or height; or, a net loss of land zoned for open space, agricultural or industrial areas.

Exceptions to the two-year moratorium would be provided for projects with 100 percent affordable housing that apply for a zone or height change but do not seek a General Plan amendment; projects necessary to comply with a city-issued order relative to an unsafe or substandard condition; projects for which a vested right has been obtained under state law or the Municipal Code; and, certain residential projects.

If approved, this ordinance will restrict General Plan amendments to areas meeting one or more of the following criteria: (1) entire community or district plan area; (2) entire area included in a specific plan; (3) entire Neighborhood Council area; and/or (4) an area of 15 acres or more. The ordinance would establish a public process for the systematic review and possible amendments to the General Plan, 35 Community Plans and the Port and Airport District Plans every five years. The City would be required to adopt a schedule in advance for this public review process.

The preparation of environmental clearances is also proposed to change if the ordinance is approved, wherein it will require the city or its third party consultant to prepare any required environmental impact report, rather than the applicant, subject to possible reimbursement. The ordinance proposes to limit allowable reductions in on-site and off-site parking requirements for projects located in transit corridors to no more than one-third of the number required by City codes. If approved, the ordinance will require City decision makers to make findings that the project is consistent with the General Plan.

This measure would become effective with a majority vote.