City Services Adapting to Serve the Community – Community Development
During these unprecedented times, the Community Development Department has been busy working to support residents and businesses with housing support, ongoing construction, and planning for the future.
The mission of the Community Development Department is to help make San Leandro a vibrant and livable community by providing expertise and assistance to residents and businesses and supporting high-quality and sustainable development that reflects community values.
The Community Development department has 5 divisions:
- Planning Services
- Building & Safety (includes Building Permits)
- Housing Services
- Economic Development
- Code Enforcement
In spite of the pandemic, the Building & Safety division has been processing a high volume of permit and inspection work. In fact, to date, the volume of work currently surpasses that of last fiscal year at the same time. Though the Permit Center continues to be closed to the public, applications are being received electronically or via mail, and staff is available to answer questions via phone and email.
The Planning division has also been busy, reviewing a significant amount of planning entitlements and building permit applications. Last May, the Planning division completed a transition to enable online planning application submittals. Major achievements this year include modernizing and re-chaptering the Zoning Code, and drafting of a new Bay Fair Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Zoning District that will be considered by the City Council for adoption in December, 2020.
In order to comply with recent housing legislation, the City is using a State planning grant to establish objective design and development standards for multi-family and mixed-use housing developments. These standards will help to provide predictability, streamline the review process, and ensure that the community’s aesthetic standards are maintained. Please visit https://www.sldevelopmentstandards.com/ to complete the survey and learn more.
Housing Services has worked on some significant projects directly related to the effects of the pandemic. In late March, Housing worked with the City Attorney’s Office and City Council on the establishment of the Eviction Moratorium, which restricts residential and commercial evictions due to inability to pay related to COVID-19. Housing also helped create the Rental Assistance Program (RAP) , which will provide up to $1.15 Million in assistance to residential renters unable to pay rent due to lack of income and unemployment. The program is funded using over $450,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) stimulus funding, with another $700,000 in CDBG stimulus funds slated for City approval on November 16. 2020.
Economic Development (ED) has been focusing its efforts on helping the local business community navigate the changes in restrictions of the Public Health Order as well as available public and private funding resources. At the onset of the pandemic, ED provided $300,000 in one-time grants ($5,000 each) to businesses in need across the City. After the civil unrest on May 31, ED was also pivotal in the establishment of a declaration of emergency for Alameda County, which provided affected businesses with economic assistance.
In August, ED led the roll-out of the Temporary Outdoor Facilities Registration program, allowing eligible businesses to set up shop outdoors during the pandemic. This streamlined and free process removes the need for a formal permit and has allowed for a number of restaurants, beauty salons, and some fitness businesses to continue their operations safer outdoors during the pandemic.
Code Enforcement has continued to respond to a high volume of alerts from the community, and address complaints related to code violations. While compliance is the ultimate goal for Code Enforcement, financial penalties are one enforcement tool available to the City. The City Council recently voted to update San Leandro’s administrative penalty amounts for greater alignment with State law. Complaints can continue to be input into the City’s Mobile 311 platform, MySL.
To learn more about what Community Development does and find staff contacts, visit the contact web page on the City’s website.