The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors hopes that a recently approved housing initiative will expedite the creation of affordable housing.
At Tuesday night’s meeting, the supervisors unanimously approved a three-year pilot program that addresses the county’s housing supply through a number of angles.
The housing plan would provide up to $2 million a year in county funding to new housing projects.
“Everybody understands that the housing crisis transcends all politics,” said San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill. “If we don’t do something about it, we will lose what everybody loves about this place.”
Supervisors are also exploring additional ways of increasing funding for affordable housing projects, including an increase in fees on vacation rentals, sales tax increases, property tax surcharges on second homes and an affordable housing bond. Some of those ideas would require voter approval.
The housing plan also expedites approval and construction processes for affordable housing projects. The Housing Coalition has recommended that San Luis Obispo County do what it can to streamline the California Environmental Quality Act process, which can be used to delay projects.
“There are a lot of housing projects that have been approved, and with the city’s requirements, too,” Hill said, “but it’s almost impossible to get housing that’s affordable by design because the process can be so onerous.”
Supervisors are expected to revisit the housing package at the next meeting.