Thanks to Anonymous for the summary:
All in all, it was a pretty good meeting. Bruce E did a good job of outlining 11 constructive points about how to build a housing element that may be acceptable to both HCD and voters. I don't think he'll get everything, but the majority of it was pretty reasonable stuff.UPDATE: Articles on the forum from Aaron Burgin in the Coast News and Barbara Henry in the U-T.
Blakespear didn't have her best night, but she got a B grade. Not sure if it was planned, but she seemed to do most of the talking for the City. Some technical issues came up around RHNA numbers and accessory units that she should have had our lawyer answer, and instead engaged in a back and forth with citizens explaining why their ideas wouldn't work. It created a little bit of citizens vs. city atmosphere when she was clearly trying to create a sense of unity.
We learned that the strategy is to get a new housing element in front of voters this fall, if at all possible. The terms of the settlements are in breach, so we should expect those cases to restart. Right now, we don't have a viable defense. If we can show a judge potential to have the matter resolved this Fall without court intervention, they likely would give us time and space to make it happen.
This is going to upset some folks, because we are back in hurry up mode. We'd need to put another draft in to HCD for review this Spring. It means there isn't time to go back to square one. I'm expecting to see them start with Measure T, and make revisions to lower building height, create actual affordable housing, shrink the "buffer," benchmark against other cities, restore how heights are measured, remove the attic bonus floor--that sort of thing.
There's a constituency that will never be satisfied, and that's okay. They aren't winnable, so the city should focus on the most important changes that would affect voters who were on the fence last time.
After last night, I now think it's possible to get this done. I'm not sure if the time pressure is a good thing or a bad thing. There will be errors; the process won't be perfect. But having more time encourages a bloated document with more targets for misinterpretation or confusion.
I'd like to see CC develop a list of guiding principles and goals for the refresh, and stay laser focused on them. I think half or more of those principles should come verbatim from Bruce H's list.
Before sending anything to HCD or the voters, measure the draft against those goals.