Will Schmitt, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Santa Rosa may revisit 27-year-old caps on growth in its struggle to create more places to live, as the city continues to greenlight an increasingly higher volume of homes and apartments to alleviate its housing shortage.
The city approved building permits for 431 residential units — not including hundreds of applications to rebuild homes destroyed by the October 2017 wildfires — in 2018, the third consecutive year the figure increased, according to an annual development review presented to the City Council and Planning Commission on Tuesday.
Though 1,400 Santa Rosa homes and apartments have received building permits since 2015, the city would need to approve an average of 925 housing units annually — more than double the amount it approved last year — from 2019 through 2022 to meet a housing quota it adopted in 2014.
“The need for more housing is clear,” said Amy Nicholson, a city planner and one of several staffers who relayed volumes of information to council members and planning commissioners Tuesday.
The 431 newly approved units mark a five-year peak, but the figure is well below the 800-unit annual cap set by Santa Rosa’s 1992 growth management ordinance. David Guhin, assistant city manager and planning and economic development director, expects the ordinance will be reviewed as part of a long-term citywide planning effort.