On Wednesday night January 21st the Vallejo Planning Commission will review a Code Text Amendment which would allow homeless shelters in Intensive Use zones in Vallejo (primarily commercial, industrial, retail etc.) Under SB2 (Senate Bill 2) the city would need to identify one or more zones for emergency shelters (stays up to 6 months). Vallejo’s last homeless survey identified approximately 650 individuals who would need to be accommodated. This amendment, mandated by state law seems to be bringing displeasure to both homeless advocates, Vallejo residents and businessmen alike. As they say, the DEVIL is in the details. Poor implementation could have serious negative consequences for Vallejo. Unfortunately, the Planning Commission’s hands are largely tied by the weight of state level requirements.
It is estimated that 1.75 acres of land would be required for each shelter that could accommodate 50 homeless clients. The City will be very limited in curtailing the construction or use of a facility as a homeless shelter within the designated zones. SB 2 strengthens state law by ensuring that every jurisdiction identifies potential sites where new emergency shelters can be located without discretionary review by the local government. It also increases protections for homeless care providers seeking to open a new emergency shelter, transitional housing or supportive housing development, by limiting the instances in which local governments can deny such developments.
Undoubtedly, Vallejo’s homeless issue is one that needs to be addressed. However, the wisdom of a mandate from on high ordering the quantity and location of homeless housing serves to derail local control and input as to how we handle this issue in our city.
Your input at this meeting is highly recommended in order to help guide Vallejo’s planning commissioners to exercise their very limited discretionary control on this issue in the way the residents of Vallejo want.
The Vallejo Planning Commission meets in City Council Chambers 555 Santa Clara St. on January 21 at 7 PM.