Since 1995, the Downtown Sacramento Partnership has served as the voice for Downtown property, business owners and residents. We work on behalf of our stakeholders to reduce regulatory barriers to economic development and represent their interests in revitalization.
Downtown Policy Briefs:
Single-use Plastic Bag Ordinance:
Council members Cohn and McCarty have directed staff to draft an ordinance banning singe-use plastic bags in Sacramento. Numerous jurisdictions statewide are enacting these types of ordinances to address litter abatement, and environmental and sustainability objectives.
Recently, city staff released draft language for an ordinance that would ban single-use plastic bags and require retailers to charge for recyclable paper bags. The ban would be imposed on larger grocery retailers and convenience marts that sell alcohol. There are exemptions based on square footage and annual sales as well as exemptions for retailers that do not sell grocery or food items.
Impacted retailers would be required to maintain records on the number of paper bags provided and total funds collected for providing recycled paper bags. Penalties ranging from $250 to $25,000 will be charged for violations of the ordinance for each day violations occur.
The impact to businesses in the downtown core will be extremely limited. DSP staff is working with the MetroChamber, The California Grocers Association and other business interests to ensure any ordinance is limited in scope and does not create economic disadvantages to Sacramento businesses.
The Cities of Sacramento, West Sacramento, the Yolo County Transit Authority, and Regional Transit continue to complete environmental and engineering tasks for a streetcar project that will link the West Sacramento Civic Center and Raley Field with the Railyards, the Sacramento Convention Center, and other downtown assets. The draft preferred alignment has been approved by both the City of Sacramento and West Sacramento, however, due to recent actions on the Entertainment and Sports Complex (ESC) the proponents will consider modifications to the proposed alignment to better interface with a possible ESC. As the project team continues to tackle environmental and engineering tasks, discussions about local funding options continue.
- Proponents will seek federal small starts grant funding that could provide up to 50% of project costs.
- To request federal funds, the local match must be in place. Possible local match options include parking revenues, development fees, transportation sales taxes and an assessment district on properties or businesses along the alignment.
In April, the proponents will release an economic development analysis that will provide guidance on possible economic benefits and impacts and illustrate examples where streetcar lines have proven to increase property values, retail activity and private investment. Additionally, the analysis will look at economic development opportunities linked to the Sacramento project.
State legislation seeking to prevent local law enforcement and DSP staff from enforcing quality of life laws in public spaces has been introduced. The DSP has taken an oppose position and is working with our local partner organizations and the California Downtown Association to communicate concerns on the measure.
A hearing on AB 5 will be scheduled in April in the Assembly Judiciary Committee. We will continue to work with CDA and the California Business Properties Association to prepare for the hearing.
Mixed-Income Housing Ordinance:
As part of the City’s update of its Housing Element (as required by State Law) Council has directed staff to look at options to modify the existing Mixed-Income Housing Ordinance. The current ordinance requires that 15% of all new residential units in a project must include low and very low-income housing units in new growth areas in the city (North Natomas, Delta Shores, Downtown, and Curtis Park Railyards). Staff has been asked to look at options that expand the ordinance citywide and to develop alternative compliance options to allow for greater affordable unit production and address inefficiencies in the marketplace.
The DSP is in the process of identifying and removing barriers to development and finding new ways to attract private investment for residential projects in the core and oppose any additional requirements that further challenge project feasibility.
ESC Term Sheet Approved:
On March 26, the City Council approved the preliminary term sheet for an Entertainment and Sports Complex (ESC) at the Downtown Sacramento Plaza. The term sheet represents a improvement over the proposal approved last year, which was eventually rejected by the King’s ownership.
The term sheet calls for a $447 million facility financed by $189 million in private contributions and $258 million from the City of Sacramento. The public contributions comprise primarily of securing future parking revenue from the City’s off-street parking assets (garages/lots) and land transfers to the investor group. An additional $5 million will come from Sheraton Sale proceeds (MOPA Funds).
April 3: NBA finance/relocation subcommittee
April 18-19: NBA Board of Governors
April 23: Report at Council with next steps (pending outcome with NBA)
Planning and Development Code Update:
The City’s Community Development Department will finalize the process to complete a comprehensive update to the Planning and Development Code in April. This update will ensure consistency with the 2030 General Plan and provide greater flexibility for higher density mixed use development in the Central City and key commercial corridors citywide. Key highlights of the Planning and Development Code update include:
- Encouraging economic development by relaxing height and density standards in commercial corridors.
- Creating greater social equity by allowing housing by right in commercial zones (C-1 thru C-4) to encourage greater housing choices and new regulations that encourage access to healthy foods and community markets.
- Streamlining of the entitlement processes by creating a uniform citywide approach for site plan and design review, removes special regulations within the code, and eliminates “call up” provisions. This provision allows an individual Council Member to “call up” a project even if it has complied with all zoning, building and environmental processes. This leads to the eventual rejection of a project after significant efforts by the developer and further discourages investment in Sacramento.
Staff will present the final recommendations to City Council on April 9th at 6 pm. The DSP has been very involved throughout the process and will be supporting the staff recommendation in front of Council on April 9th.
For more information contact, DSP Policy Manager Kevin Greene at 916.442.8575