Community Development 2019 in Review

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News Date: 
January 3, 2020
Community Development Year in Review Quad Photo

The Community Development Department (CDD) had a 2019 full of notable accomplishments. CDD’s tasks include long-term and current planning, funding community projects and service providers, permitting new development, and enforcing code and building regulations to keep our residents safe. Below are just some of the Department’s achievements in 2019, made possible through collaboration with the Salinas community.

  • The City accepted the Alisal Vibrancy Plan (AVP) in November. The AVP is the City’s first community-driven plan for East Salinas, with over 2,000 community members participating and helping to generate more than 150 strategies.

 

  • In December, CDD also completed the Chinatown Revitalization Plan (CRP), which represents nearly three years of extensive work guided by dedicated Chinatown stakeholders. The CRP and the AVP both contain a mix of projects and priorities to undertake now, and a collection of long-term strategies that will inform the update of the City’s General Plan, starting in 2020. The CRP and AVP documents are being finalized, and will be on the City’s website later in January.

 

  • City Council also adopted the West Area Specific Plan (WASP) and accompanying Environmental Impact Report in December. CDD also completed the rezoning development agreement entitlements. These actions bring Salinas one step closer to adding over 4,000 new residences, along with new parks, schools and commercial space north of Boronda Road.

 

  • Improved Coordination of Investment and Services in Chinatown - (Completion of Moon Gate Plaza (88 units), initiation of the Downtown Streets Team, re-opening of hygiene services at the Navigation Center, close collaboration of service efforts among Departments (CDD, PD, Fire, PW, & LCS) and increased housing navigation in Chinatown).  

 

  • The City and CDD conducted an Inclusionary Housing Lottery in May for eight (8) homes in the 71-unit Monte Bella subdivision in East Salinas, with CDD staff also assisting individuals with the application process. This was just one of the efforts made by CDD to increase affordable housing in Salinas, which also include fee holidays for Accessory Dwelling Units, and contributing funding to housing projects and rehabilitation efforts.

 

  • In 2019, the City approved 2,402 permits, almost double from the previous year of 1,248.  Despite having no additional increase in staff, 91% of permits were approved in less than 40 days versus 81% in 2018.  Average approval time for all permits decreased from 23 days in 2018 to 10 days in 2019.  Over the Counter Approvals increased from 37% in 2018 to 63% in 2019. Among the approved projects were 49 apartments in the Rabobank building, new businesses in North Salinas including Hometown Buffet, Big Lots, and Planet Fitness, and major interior renovations at the former Montessori School site in South Salinas and Bank of America on East Alisal Street.

 

  • CDD continued its proactive approach to community engagement, hosting dozens of meetings, workshops, open houses, and pop-up events for community pans, U.S. Census outreach, new or proposed ordinances, and education and relationship building.

 

Thank you to all the Salinas residents, business owners, and other community members that made 2019 a great success, and cheers to an even better 2020!