Public Tells City What to Cut

Suggestions brought to city council to reduce needless regulations, including mayor-granted amnesty

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Spring cleaning of city codes is coming early this year.

    City Councilmembers are calling for members of the public to bring suggestions to the table on how regulations can be cut, modified or clarified to help businesses.City officials call it the spring cleaning of city codes.

    The city will host a workshop for these suggestions Monday night. The workshop will be part of the regular city council meeting in City Hall at 6 p.m.

    The suggestions expected to be heard Monday night range from simple – such as outdated codes that can be overturned – to major overhaul of a city development department.

    Councilmembers announced their stance against excessive regulations at a Nov. 4 press conference. Now, they will hear from several groups and organizations about what specific rules are a hindrance to San Diego businesses.

    “The city is saying, ‘hey, if there are ways we can improve the system, let us know,’ and we are taking them up on that offer. We’ve got a whole laundry list of things they could be doing better to help people get back to work,” said Matthew Adams, vice president of the Building Industry Association of San Diego County.

    Among the items on Adams’ laundry list include self-certification for building inspections. This way, anyone in the process of construction won’t have to wait around for inspectors to approve their plans – it’s one of the many reasons why construction on new businesses takes so long, Adams said.

    He will also present his ideas on parking reform. As San Diego transitions from a suburban to urban area, parking rules should also change to eliminate excessive parking in certain urban areas, he said.

    Councilmember and mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio threw his support behind the workshop, suggesting in a press release that the city’s mayor be granted “regulatory amnesty,” or the ability to waive any penalties and fines he or she finds excessive.

    It’s unlikely that any of the regulations will be cut at Monday’s meeting. Most of the suggestions will have to be handed off to other committees to determine the consequences of cutting the regulations, said Jill Esterbrooks, communications director for Council President Tony Young.

    In a previous article on the workshop, Tony Khalil of the Neighborhood Code Compliance division in the city said he stands by the health and safety codes and building codes he helps to enforce.

    "These codes are there for a purpose,” Khalil said. “They provide the standards to make sure people are living a good quality of life.”

    The workshop is considered the first of many phases though, and councilmembers could vote on changes within a couple weeks, Esterbrooks said.