Governmental Affairs and builder advocacy continue to be the primary focus of the Riverside County Chapter. We are engaged with jurisdictions throughout Riverside County on numerous issues. Several updates include:
As you will recall Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) has contracted with the Nature Conservancy utilizing SB 1 Transportation Funds, to create an online conservation planning tool, in a manner that could invoke new CEQA threats to entitled housing projects. While the BIA supports both new transportation infrastructure and appropriate open space conservation, this effort is being conducted behind closed doors without appropriate stakeholder input. The Riverside BIA has actively engaged WRCOG and is working to educate local cities to the threat this program presents to new home construction.
Local cities are actively grappling with the latest state-required affordable housing mandates. Unfortunately, those state mandates came without any new funding sources, causing communities to look to the home building industry as a potential funding source via inclusionary housing policies and fees. While we understand the difficult challenge local governments face achieving affordable housing goals, taxing new home buyers to cover those costs will only make homes more expensive and put home ownership out of reach for even more people, exacerbating the home affordability issue we all want to solve. We are currently involved in discussions of a new inclusionary housing fee proposal from the City of Riverside of $7,000 per unit. More details on this proposal as they become available.
City of Riverside Decarbonization:
The City of Riverside is considering implementing new building codes that would require all single family and low-rise multi-family developments to be all electric by 2023. We have been at the table in discussions regarding the ordinance focused on an incentive-based program vs. a mandate. Currently, the city appears to be pushing for a mandate, but the ordinance drafting is in the early stages. We are working with a large coalition of stakeholders to achieve as much flexibility as possible for Riverside builders.
Construction Cost Index (CCI):
Record inflation on the national level have driven the local CCI to 8.3% in Riverside County, making normally routine City and Utility Agency CCI fee increases anything but that. While there is little grounds to opposes these fee increases, we are working with agency’s to allow for more early pre-payment options to protect the financial viability of housing tracts in the pipeline.
The June primary is next week, so we are beginning to turn our attentions to the fall campaign season. This fall we will see elections at local City Council’s, Water and School Boards in nearly every jurisdiction in Riverside County. Candidate filling periods will open in August. We continue to work hard identifying and supporting pro-business, pro-housing candidates.
The Riverside County Chapter will continue to be focused on industry advocacy and keeping Riverside County and our local cities a great place to build much needed housing. If you see an emerging issue you want to make sure the chapter is monitoring, please feel free to email your thoughts to email@example.com.