Policy Initiatives

The Downtown Sacramento Partnership is the voice for Downtown business and property owners and residents.  Since 1995, DSP has worked to grow a vibrant downtown by advocating for our stakeholders’ revitalization interests and working to reduce barriers to economic development and revitalization. 


Entertainment & Sports Complex Moves Closer to Construction

Last week, the Court of Appeals denied U.S. Bank’s attempt to stall the City’s transfer of the Macy’s building to Sacramento Basketball Holdings, LLC.  This means that the only remaining legal issue is what the City will pay, and that issue is set for trial this Wednesday.

There are many legislative items remaining, however, and they are coming fast and furious.

On April 10, 2014 at 5:30 p.m., the Planning & Design Commission will hold its last hearing on the ESC and formulate final recommendations for full council action on May 13.  The PDC will act on staff recommendations for planning approvals for arena design, plaza development, ESC space use, permitting of the digital billboard program, L Street “activation,” and authorization for five nightclubs/bars in the ESC boundaries.  Feedback provided at this hearing will be incorporated into the final materials the council prior to the final vote on May 13.

With respect to that final vote, on April 22, 2014, city staff will provide the council with a walk-through of all the project agreements and financing plan, as well as providing some of the supporting documents that will be formally submitted in support of the final, full council vote on the ESC.  No action will be taken on the 22nd, but the complexity of the ESC project and the voluminous nature of the supporting documents warrants this advance presentation.

On May 13, City staff will present the final agreements, the final EIR, financing plan, entitlements, and digital billboard ordinance for approval.  Council approval will be the green light for construction. 

Mixed Signals Removed From Mixed-Income Housing Ordinance Revision

Increasing Downtown housing is a critical priority for DSP and its stakeholders.  Accordingly, DSP is working with City staff to avoid proposed amendments to the city’s Mixed Income Housing Ordinance that impede these efforts. 

By way of background, the current ordinance requires that 15% of all new residential units constructed in new growth areas (defined to include North Natomas, Delta Shores, and the Railyards, but not Downtown proper) will be affordable.  The city is reviewing changes to the ordinance, per state law, to improve the city’s affordable housing options.  The initial working draft for amending the ordinance would apply a per square foot impact fee to new construction citywide.

DSP met with city staff to make its concerns known, and its advocacy, combined with input from a technical advisory group comprised of housing stakeholders, resulted in a full fee exemption for projects with at least 10% affordable housing or that have density of at least 40 units per acre.  DSP will continue to advocate for a methodology that does not hamper beneficial infill housing projects.

Downtown/Riverfront Streetcar Rolls On

On March 21, the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) submitted a letter to the Federal Transit Administration Regional Administrator asking for permission to enter the Small Starts Project Development (PD).  If this request is granted, dollars spent going forward on the project would count toward the region’s portion of funds that it needs to match to receive up to $75 million (one-half of the total anticipated cost) for development of the Downtown Riverfront Streetcar Project.  The FTA is expected to provide a reply within thirty days of the request.

DSP supports the Streetcar concept as a potentially effective at promoting economic development, expanding retail reach, and decreasing traffic congestion. DSP will continue to work to ensure that any financing method is equitable to its stakeholders based on the evaluation of benefits and that the project includes removal of light rail off of K Street as a critical component to the overall project.

With respect to the project financing, the Downtown/Riverfront Streetcar Business Advisory Committee will begin preliminary discussion of possible financing models on April 10.

Click here to see the letter to the FTA, which details the project needs, anticipated benefits, expenses to date, and the proposed route alignment.

E-Permit (Entertainment) Renewal Process Clarification

In mid-February, the City Council Law & Legislation Committee passed a measure that would reward entertainment permit holders for good behavior by granting two-year extensions of their permits, provided they had no city code or e-permit violations.  Last week, DSP met with e-permit holders and city staff, who has since refined the policy to specify that violations must be Level C (those likely to cause harm to public or private property or worse) or above to disqualify the holder from automatic renewal.  The city clarified that in no manner does this new ordinance alter the existing permit process, and each automatic renewal would save an e-permit holder $1,300.  This measure is expected to go to full council sometime in May.  DSP will continue to support this measure on behalf of our members who deserve this fee relief. 

“Taking the Gloves Off”

AB 2130, Assemblymember Richard Pan’s bill to repeal the law requiring food handlers to wear gloves,  passed unanimously out of the House Health Committee on March 27 and was referred to the Appropriations Committee for further action.

The original law was designed to make “ready-to-eat” foods safer, but the law generated outcry after it was interpreted to prohibit sushi chefs from touching their creations or bartenders from adding fruits to drinks.  Our DSP members viewed the glove law as wasteful and counterproductive.  DSP will continue to support this measure for the benefit of the restaurant owners and the culinary artisans who drive Downtown’s food and beverage success.


 For more information contact, DSP Sr. Policy Manager Chris Worden at cworden@downtownsac.org or 916.442.8575

Contact the DSF

Downtown Sacramento Partnership
980 9th Street, Suite 400
Sacramento, CA 95814
P: (916) 442-8575
F (916) 442-2053
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