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Initiative to Replace Rental Housing Inspection
updated: Mar 15, 2017, 10:41 AM

Source: City of San Luis Obispo

A week after the Council voted to repeal the City's Rental Housing Inspection Program (RHIP), a citizens' petition to repeal and replace the RHIP has qualified for a special election, the City Clerk announced Monday. As a result, the Council will review the proposed replacement ordinance and determine how it will respond at its meeting on March 21, 2017 at City Hall. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. but this item is scheduled on the agenda after several other items.

Petition proponents Stewart Jenkins, Dan Knight and Dan Carpenter collected 7,112 signatures to qualify the initiative. The City contracted with the Office of the County Clerk-Recorder to verify the signatures using a random sample method. The results of the analysis indicated that the statistical total number of valid signatures is 5,419, exceeding the minimum 3,918 needed, said City Clerk Carrie Gallagher.

Since there are sufficient signatures to qualify the initiative for the ballot, the City Council will consider three options:

Order a report analyzing impacts of the citizens' initiative Adopt the ordinance without alteration Submit the ordinance to the voters at a special election

The proponents submitted the petition for signature verification on February 16, 2017, the same day the City Council held a community workshop about the future of the RHIP. At this meeting the Council unanimously directed staff to return with an ordinance to repeal the program. The Council unanimously repealed the RHIP on March 7, 2017. State law now requires that the City Council consider whether to adopt the initiative as is or place it before City voters. If adopted by the Council or approved by city voters in a special election, the petition would replace the RHIP with a "Nondiscrimination in Housing" ordinance.

If the City Council orders an impact report, staff will analyze the potential impacts of the measure. According to state law, a report analyzes the following: 1) Fiscal impacts; 2) Internal consistency with the city's general plan and zoning ordinance; 3) Effect on land use and availability and location of housing; 4) Impacts on infrastructure funding; 5) Community's ability to attract and retain business and employment; 6) Impact on uses of vacant parcels of land; 7) Impacts on agricultural lands, open space, traffic congestion and areas designated for revitalization; and 8) Any other matters that the City Council requests in the report.

For example, the proposed measure includes a provision that prevents discrimination based on income. The impact report could evaluate if the initiative would change the City's ability to implement its affordable housing program and mobile home rent control provision, which are programs intended to benefit low-income residents. The impact report would also evaluate if the initiative conflicts with Federal, State or local laws, particularly since each of these levels of government has existing non-discrimination provisions.

Should the City Council order an impact report, the City Council would consider the impacts in the publicly available document before choosing whether to adopt the ordinance without any alterations (as is) or order a special election (estimated cost is $119,000 to $158,000).

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