City 10-2

The Santa Barbara City Council took the first step toward passing rules requiring developers to set aside a bigger percentage of affordable units in housing projects. The current rule affects only projects of 10 units or more, but the new rule would affect projects as small as two units, though developers could pay in-lieu fees instead. The current credit crisis, however, could mean little commercial funding for few housing, however, and consequently this ordinance may not bear immediate fruit. (/housing1002)

Nearly 80 Santa Barbara City employees associated with Service Employees International Union, a union representing about 840 city workers, rallied at City Hall on 9/30, hoping to nudge city councilmembers to pay attention to their negotiations with city management. The contract for two of the union’s bargaining units expired on 9/30. While the union enjoys considerable political pull, the credit crisis and California’s budget mess promise to make the city more fiscally conservative. (/city1002)

The City Council on 9/30 considered pursuing a plastic bag ban throughout city limits. Staff cautioned against proceeding, fearing the ban would divert time and resources from other recycling efforts while the Channel Keeper organization suggested the idea could be part of a broader community education campaign. Plastic bags pose a threat to the marine environment, but other cities with such bans encountered logistical and legal difficulties.

City recycling agents boast that they’ve diverted enough food scraps from the landfill to achieve the same CO2 reduction as taking 125 Priuses off the road. The food scrap recycling effort-which now involves Cottage Hospital, City College, the zoo, and a number of elementary schools-could soon be expanded. Since last April, it has recycled 210 tons of food waste.

The City Planning Commission continued on 9/25 to wrangle over and refine the recommendations that it will pass along to City Council for updating the city’s general plan, demanding ever more specific details from staff about the size and location of housing units, and other features of the future cityscape. Planning staff will present commissioners with a new report in November, which means re-opening the public hearing as well.

With the cost of animal sheltering increasing by nearly 400 percent, Santa Barbara City Animal Control will increase fees for picking up animals from $15 to $51, euthanasia from $10 to $25 per animal, and disposing of dead animals from $10 to $20.

Former Santa Barbara mayor Harriet Miller received a Lifetime Achievement Award by the League of California Cities in part for her work in locating a skate park at the beach-a huge controversy at the time-as well as efforts to get the $25 million Granada Garage built. Miller, who served as mayor from 1995 to 2005, delivered a brief speech at the Long Beach event that did not mention her key role in getting public restrooms built on the 800 block of State Street. (/harrietmiller)


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