25% inclusionary zoning policy. No loopholes (AKA no in-lieu fees)
Explanation: As the most expensive city of its kind in the US, we are in desperate need of quality multi-income housing. Presently, 15% of all new multi residential development must be *affordable in the City of Santa Cruz. Following other gentrifying areas, we will increase this to 25%. In addition, the City Council has increasingly allowed developers to opt out of the affordable requirement by paying an in lieu fee instead. This concentrates affordability in city built units that are often segregated within low income neighborhoods thus further reducing their tax base and weakening schools and services. Our Brand New Council wants to end all loopholes. Implementation: A vote by city council. *City council also defines the terms for “affordable housing”.
A Dedicated Fund to Support Affordable Housing Built Through Taxing Speculators and increasing the Transient Occupancy Tax
Explanation: To provide a sustainable funding source for affordable housing, voters will have to raise some kind of tax, hopefully with appropriate leadership from the City Council. The speculation tax would add a percentage to real estate sales. This could be applied disproportionately to encourage long term live-in ownership and discourage the rapid “flipping” of houses for profit. Our Transient Occupancy Tax, which raises funds from the hotel and AirBnB visitors, could be raised and still be similar to other Coastal Cities in California. Implementation: Both taxes can be put on the ballot by the city council, or via signature gathering but require voter approval. The TOT requires 50%+1 while the speculation tax requires 66%+1 approval.
Tenants Rights Program
Explanation: Gives renters a clear avenue to go when their rights as renters are violated. (ex. Excessive mold; unjust raise in rent; lack of proper upkeep, etc). Implementation: City council could create this program with a majority vote. The most obvious way to do so would be to hire a law firm with a small adjustment to the City’s budget.
Restrict Vacation Rentals to 90 days/year
Explanation: Homeowners would be limited to 90 days to rent out their units to tourists. (AirBnB, etc). Why is this necessary? In some cities including San Francisco, vacation rentals are a major contributor to the lack of affordable housing. This is a clear and present danger here in Santa Cruz. Low income people (youth, low income workers, etc) are restricted in their renting options due to excessive vacation rentals. Further, AirBnB pushes up rental costs in many neighborhoods. We need to limit the number of days units can be rented out to guests to insure that they are not taken off the rental market. The goal is to prioritize people who live, or work in Santa Cruz. Implementation: City Council Majority Vote.