This is the product of more than a year of effort from our Community Development director, as well as the rest of the city staff. Because of their diligence, outreach and community engagement, the process went smoothly and our Community Development director is to be commended.
While the HE has many required elements, the main point is to provide zoning sufficient to meet our allocated Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) of 570 units across all income levels.
Our updated HE will actually provide for 796 units. The additional units are needed to allow for a buffer should the state Department of Housing & Community Development (HCD) disallow any units, or if future projects come in at a lower density than we anticipated.
This buffer allows the city more flexibility in approving projects and decreases the chance Clayton would have to go back to seek HCD approval all over again.
Details of the updated HE can be found at the city’s website, claytonca.gov. The next step is gaining HCD approval.
While the city was required to approve the HE to remain in compliance with state law, I brought forward a resolution during the same meeting to send the message that while we are approving the HE, Clayton does not agree with the state’s one size fits all approach to housing and zoning requirements. Accordingly, the city adopted a resolution in support of Our Neighborhood Voices, an organization that is trying to advance a ballot measure in 2024 as a constitutional amendment taking back local control over housing matters.
This ballot measure advances a straightforward idea – if there is a conflict between state law and local law regarding housing related matters, then local law should prevail. This idea unequivocally supports and cements local control, and I am glad that Clayton is able to join with others in voicing that support. For details, visit www.ourneighborhoodvoices.com.
Earlier this month, the newly formed Concerts in the Park Committee met for the first time. We formed the committee to provide oversight for this city-sponsored program. While the concerts have been a popular community event, overall there has been a lack of clarity in the process, procedures and financial discipline related to how they operate.
Howard Geller has been acting as a lead for these areas, but he is stepping aside this year. In order to ensure the concerts can continue to be an event the whole town can enjoy, I thought it prudent to establish an oversight committee working to promote the sustainability of the concert program. I look forward to the recommendations of the committee.
As we continue to assess what needs to be done to balance the budget at City Hall, work is in flight at the city across a number of different areas. An overall organizational assessment will determine appropriate staffing levels and establish proper roles and responsibilities. An update to the city’s master fee schedule will make sure the city is adequately compensated for the services it provides. An update to our overall investment policy will protect the city asset portfolio and ensure we are achieving appropriate returns on our investments. We are also conducting a review of our utility usage to determine if there are potential savings and efficiencies to gain.
Each of these take time, but in the end should yield either increased revenues to the city or decreased costs for operations.
One thing that the city will be doing in the short term is updating the hours of operation at City Hall. In order to provide time when staff can focus without distractions, we will be closing City Hall to the public for at least one day per week. The details are being finalized, and we will share the new operating hours when they are updated.
Often there is work that requires dedicated attention, but because of our small staff, it can disrupt their work and cause inefficiencies when they need to address individuals who come to City Hall. Allowing them dedicated time to focus should allow them to structure their workload to be as efficient as possible while still being available to provide service to the public.
I look forward to offering further updates on the above items and all of the activities of the city as we move forward.
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