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Salinas looks to relax regulation to invite housing development

Salinas looks to relax regulation to invite housing development


CHANGES, ACTION NEWS REPORTER CHRISTOPHER SALAS IS LIVE IN SALINAS. CHRISTOPHER: THAT’S RIGHT DAN, I’M AT THE HISTORIC BRUHN BUILDING WHERE OWNER JESSE KEHOE SAYS HE’S READY TO GET TO WORK. HE’S SUBMITTED A PERMIT WITH 15 APARTMENT UNITS THAT WOULD GIVE DOWNTOWN SOME MUCH NEEDED HOUSING. OLD DOWNTOWN IS ON THE VERGE OF GETTING A NEW LOOK.>>HONESTLY, IF THEY GAVE ME PERMITS I’D START ON THE ROOF TOMORROW. CHRISTOPHER: JESSE KEHOE OWNS THE HISTORIC BRUHN BUILDING DOWNTOWN, ONCE THE CITY’S HOME FOR FASHION AND CLOTHING, NOW HE JUST WANTS TO MAKE IT A HOME.>>WE’RE TRYING TO GET THE CUP FOR 15 RESIDENTIAL UNITS ON TH MEZZANINE AND 2ND FLOOR. CHRISTOPHER: AND HE’S NOT THE ONLY ONE LOOKING TO DEVELOP HOUSING DOWNTOWN. THE CITY RECENTLY APPROVED 401 MONTEREY STREET TO CONVERT FROM A COMMERCIAL BUILDING INTO A RESIDENTIAL BUILDING WITH 16 APARTMENTS, AND IT’S ALL IN LINE WITH THE CITY’S DOWNTOWN VIBRANCY PLAN, TO GET MORE HOUSING IN OLD DOWNTOWN. WHICH IS WHY THE CITY IS GOING THE EXTRA MILE TO RELAX REGULATION. FOR EXAMPLE, THIS BUILDING IS SET TO GET 16 APARTMENT UNITS. PREVIOUSLY WOULD HAVE HAD TO HAVE A MIX OF 1, 2, 3 BEDROOM APARTMENTS. BUT THE CITY MADE AN EXCEPTION AND ALL OF THESE UNITS ARE SET TO BE STUDIOS.>>I THINK THE CITY’S JOB IS TO SET THE TABLE. TO LAY THE FOUNDATION IN THE DOWNTOWN. WHETHER IT’S LOOKING AT REGULATIONS AND MAKING THE REGULATIONS MORE FLEXIBLE CHRISTOPHER: HUNTER SAYS THE CITY HAS A PROBLEM WHEN IT COMES TO A LACK OF HOUSING DOWNTOWN, THEY COULD ADD 100 UNITS DOWNTOWN OVER THE NEXT 5 YEARS AND STILL MIGHT NOT HAVE ENOUGH. AND SHE SAID THE CITY ISN’T LIMINTING DEVELOPERS TO AFFORDABLE HOUSING.>>WE HAVE AN INCLUSIONARY ORDINANCE WHICH REQUIRES HOUSING DEVELOPERS TO PROVIDE AFFORDABLE HOUSING WHEN THEY’RE BUILDING MARKET RATE HOUSING BUT WE EXEMPTED THE DOWNTOWN FROM THA CHRISTOPHER: FOR DEVELOPERS LIKE KEHOE, THEY BELIEVE THIS CAN BE A WIN-WIN SOLUTION FOR BUILDERS AND THE CITY.>>IT’S MORE OF A PARTNERSHIP WITH THE CITY RATHER THAN A NEW PROJECT WHERE IT’S JUST GO AHEAD AND BUILD IT. CHRISTOPHER: ONE OF THE CHALLENGES WITH TURNING THE BRUHN BUILDING INTO HOUSING IS THE FACT THAT THE CITY AND THE OWNER ARE WORKING TO MAINTAIN ITS HISTORIC FEATURES WHILE ALSO FOLLOWING MODERN BUILDING CODES.

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