On Wednesday, February 23, Oceanside’s city council directed city staff to return in 90 days with an ordinance to repeal the $10,275 developer fee on construction of low-income housing units. The ordinance would give developers the option to contribute funds toward low- to median-income housing developments.
During public comment, several residents urged the council to abandon the proposal and keep the ordinance intact.
"This is a tax break to the development community at the cost of those who can least afford it — the working poor," said resident Jim Sullivan. "I understand a voluntary system as opposed to a tax system is always desirable. All of us would like that, but why give this to the development community.
Resident Nadine Scott: "I guess the war is on now that we have elected a right-wing conservative council majority. It's all about developer paybacks, and the war is on against anybody that doesn't belong to your party."
Councilmembers Jerry Kern, Jack Feller, and Gary Felien were not convinced. Kern, who proposed the repeal, said that in the past decade, the inclusionary housing program paid for only 241 affordable housing units.
"If you take the emotion out of it, I think we can do better," said Kern. "I understand that change scares people. Somehow people think that I am personally involved in this. I make nothing from this. I just want to get Oceanside started again."
Kern, Feller, and Felien voted in favor of the proposal. Councilwoman Esther Sanchez opposed it.