4/30/2013 Council Preview

Interesting and diverse evening.  We start the night with a closed session discussing potential litigation involving the former redevelopment agency.  I think I know what this is about, but no comment, unfortunately.

We then have a study session to discuss a ballot measure to increase Sunnyvale’s Transit Occupancy Tax, or TOT.  TOT is a tax that cities place on hotel/motel room rental as a revenue measure.  Sunnyvale’s rate is currently the second lowest in the county, and we’re looking at this due to the Santa Clara stadium and the possibility of Santa Clara getting Superbowl 50 in 2016.  The stadium is going to create an obvious burden on Sunnyvale’s services, and it makes some sense to make hotel visitors who come for stadium events to pay for that burden – particularly since, as hoteliers have told us, we’re “leaving money on the table” by not having a TOT comparable to other cities. So we’ll be looking at this and indicating our preference prior to a public vote on the topic.  If we want to adjust the rate, the time to do so is obviously this November’s election, since the next election will be too late.

Then comes the general meeting.  No presentations or special orders.  We’ve got a good-sized consent calendar, including our investment report, four contracts for various infrastructure items, the master work plans for all boards and commissions, and second reading of the Community Facilities District that we approved at our last meeting.

Item 2 involves consideration of a general plan amendment necessary for approving the affordable housing project on the old armory site.  I’ve heard something about this being postponed for a week, but I haven’t seen or heard any official confirmation, so I’m assuming this is still happening.

Item 3 involves possible rezoning of three mobile home parks in Sunnyvale.  This isn’t quite straightforward.  When we discussed protecting mobile home parks last year, we asked staff to come back to us with plans to rezone any property in Sunnyvale that currently houses mobile homes but isn’t zoned “Mobilehome Park”.  The intent is to protect mobile home owners.  Mobile homes are a tricky arrangement, because the homeowners own their homes but not the property that the homes are on.  This creates a potentially difficult situation when the interests of the property owner aren’t the same as the interests of the mobile home owners.  Like, say, when a park owner decides to convert to other housing but the mobile homeowners don’t want to.  And contrary to common belief, mobile homes aren’t really that mobile.  There are real difficulties in relocating a home from one park to another.

So staff identified three parks that aren’t zoned as mobile home parks, and they’re proposing that we rezone them.  But there’s another complication.  It turns out that two of the three were never zoned as a mobile home park because the owners have been actively attempting to convert those parks for the past 30 years.  They’ve bought up homes from people who sell, until they now own all of the units and are renting them out.  So those two parks really don’t fall under the goals of our request – rezoning to protect residents who own mobile homes, because there aren’t any residents that own mobile homes in those two parks.  There are other issues that argue for rezoning, for not rezoning, or for doing something else, and this is going to be an interesting policy discussion, beyond the specifics of the issue.

Item 4 is a return to an old chestnut, whether or not to approve a ballot measure to change our mayoral scheme yet again, this time going back to a one-year rotating mayor.

Item 5 is one I’m still trying to figure out, possibly amending our ordinances regarding labor impasse procedures.  This isn’t something we’ve just decided to do.  It has to do with changes to state law, and I believe it’s an attempt to bring our ordinances into conformance with the new state law.


4/30/2013 Council Preview — 1 Comment