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City of San Luis Obispo looking to ramp up affordable housing production

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Posted at 5:47 PM, May 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-16 22:39:07-04

With the cost of living continuing to rise, the City of San Luis Obispo wants to ramp up construction of affordable housing units.

This proposal would essentially double the number of affordable housing units being built in San Luis Obispo with each new development.

"We need to make sure that folks are sheltered (and) have housing available to them and that they can live in or at least near the city," said Teresa McClish, housing coordinator for the City of San Luis Obispo.

Currently, the City requires either 3 percent of new units to be low income, or 5 percent to be moderate income.

An updated draft of the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance would require 5 percent of new development to be low income. Another 5 percent would be moderate-income, meaning that 10 percent of new housing in the city would be below market rate value.

Officials say it's a step in the right direction.

"I think a dent is a great word for it," McClish said. "I mean it's not a solve everything tool, but it's one of the tools and I think it's a good one."

The City has hired HouseKeys as an administrator.

The online application process will be available for affordable housing in the Avila Ranch subdivision, which is currently under construction.

There will be the ability for people to get on the waiting list to get certified as income-eligible and through a lottery process hopefully be successful," said Michael Codron, community development director for the City of San Luis Obispo.

The online process starts with an interest list. Applicants are then added to a lottery, which opens up periodically when units become available or are being built.

"They'll be helped through the system in terms of what they need to provide, what information they need to provide," McClish said. "We'll have orientations available for folks with the intent of making it easier going forward."

The council is seeking public comment right now.

The proposal will be discussed at the planning commission's next meeting on June 8.

There will be some exemptions to the new ordinance if it's passed.

They include new developments of four units or less, remodels or additions that create five units or less and new commercial developments less than 2,500 square-feet.

The City will also make exemptions for rebuilding structures destroyed by fire or flood.