Chair Kim John Kilkenny says affordable housing is ‘biggest loser’
By Ashley Mackin | Downtown News
At a monthly Sound Bites seminar on Jan. 24, the San Diego Centre City Development Corporation (CCDC) had Chair Kim John Kilkenny discuss the recent decision by the California Supreme Court to abolish Redevelopment Agencies across the state and its impact on San Diego.
Kilkenny explained Assembly Bill 26 and Assembly Bill 27, which were adopted as a part of the recent state budget. AB 26 abolished all redevelopment agencies across California and AB 27 allowed redevelopment agencies to continue if they agreed to pay the state a fee that would go towards the state education fund.
The California Redevelopment Association, League of California Cities and the cities of San Jose and Union City believed AB 27 was a violation of Proposition 22 and filed a lawsuit against the state. Kilkenny said Proposition 22 “expressly prohibits the state of California from diverting certain revenues from local government to state government or from local to any other agencies.”
On Dec. 29, 2011 the California Supreme Court determined AB 27 was in violation of Proposition 22 and reversed its passage. However, the Court upheld the passage of AB 26.
Kilkenny further explained the CCDC is not a redevelopment agency, but a non-profit corporation owned by the City. The City gives CCDC land use responsibility, which expedites the approval or disapproval of projects, a role similar to that played by redevelopment agencies.
However, the CCDC funding is at risk with the Supreme Court’s decision.
Regarding the future of the CCDC, Kilkenny said, “[It] may be reconfigured and renamed [and] definitely downsized. Its responsibilities, I assume… will continue with the land use function that they have done previously, [but] we will charge permit fees for those services…. It can’t use redevelopment money.”
Kilkenny said the service that would suffer most is development of affordable housing, losing approximately $30 million in funding.
“We see… funds dwindling for affordable housing,” he said. “The role redevelopment agencies used to play is [that] a developer would come in and get state money and federal money and tax credits, and redevelopment would pay for the gap. If the gap funding isn’t there, then there is not enough money in the other sources to make affordable housing work. I think it’s a huge challenge,” Kilkenny said.
District 3 Councilmember Todd Gloria, although not present at the Sound Bites seminar, said, “Affordable housing and bay front improvements are things that are going to be missed if we’re unable to find a way to fund them without [redevelopment funds] going forward.”
Despite the challenge, Kilkenny said he believes Downtown San Diego will continue to “prosper and thrive.”
At their annual board meeting on Jan. 25, the CCDC Board of Directors elected the following officers with a unanimous vote: Chair, Kim John Kilkenny; Vice Chair, Bill Shaw; Treasurer, Donna Jones; and Secretary, Steven Relyea.
Though Kilkenny said affordable housing is “the biggest loser” with the loss of redevelopment funds, the Board granted design review approval for a residential mixed-use project in downtown that includes affordable units.
Bounded by Broadway, E Street, Eleventh Avenue and Park Boulevard, this facility will consist of two towers of 31 and 32 stories with 623 residential units, 40 of which are affordable units. Also included in the design are indoor and outdoor amenity spaces, approximately 9,700 square feet of street-level retail space, and 644 parking spaces.
At the next CCDC Sound Bites seminar on Feb. 7 from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m., City Council President Pro Tem Kevin Faulconer will speak in his tenure as downtown’s Councilmember and discuss goals for his final year representing the district. A question and answer session will immediately follow. Reservations are not required to attend the event at the Sheila R. Hardin Downtown Information Center located at 193 Horton Plaza.