The city planning staff is recommending rezoning: Site 1, 1.15 acres; Site 20, 5.79 acres; Site 22, 20 acres; Site 27, 1.94 acres; Site 28, 2.50 acres; Site 29, 10 acres; Site 30, 5.61 acres; and Site 31, 7.12 acres. That would total 54.11 acres and satisfy the state's most recent order to rezone 54 acres somewhere within the city limits. The same sites were recommended on a majority vote of the commissioners present at a May 15 planning commission meeting. But since the recommendation was not by a majority of the total commission, because of recusals and an absence, that recommendation was not passed on to the city council.

The meeting on July 2 may be the final opportunity to express an opinion

The council won't have much down time between approving a $47 million city 

budget and trying to solve a complex zoning puzzle.

No matter what it decides to do with a state ordered rezoning of 54 acres within the city limits to accommodate affordable housing, the decision is not going to be popular.

This will be the third time 

the council has had the controversial "Not In My Back Yard" issue on its agenda.

The first time was on Jan. 23 at city hall when it took the council only a few minutes to agree with dozens of obviously frustrated residents who spoke during a public hearing. The council unanimously turned down a request from city planners to rezone multiple sites within the city for affordable housing.

Mayor Frank Gonzalez admonished planners to work with the planning commission to reconsider sites to be rezoned and to do a better job of involving and communicating with the public.

  The second time was on June 6 when the council facing a smaller but equally upset and frustrated group of residents in the community center decided to continue a public hearing to July 3 when more people could attend. The June 6 date conflicted with two well attended 8th grade promotions.

The state had revised its demand down from 63 to 54 acres to be rezoned.  

That didn't seem to matter to angry residents who obviously equated rezoning to imminent building of Section 8 housing in their backyards and substantially lowered property values.

If Sanger doesn't comply with the state rezoning demand it might face consequences that could include a state imposed building moratorium or a cutoff of funds the city uses to maintain its streets.

The city has no plans to build anything on any of the vacant parcels, Sanger's senior planner David Brletic has repeatedly pointed out at pubic hearings. That would be up to private developers.

The effort right now is just to comply with a state law. 

A lengthy explanation of the law on the state's housing and community deveopment website goes something like this: 

Since 1969, California has required that all local governments (cities and counties) adequately plan to meet the housing needs of everyone in the community. California’s local governments meet this requirement by adopting housing plans as part of their “general plan” (also required by the state). General plans serve as the local government’s "blueprint" for how the city and/or county will grow and develop and include seven elements: land use, transportation, conservation, noise, open space, safety, and housing. The law mandating that housing be included as an element of each jurisdiction’s general plan is known as “housing-element law.”

California’s housing-element law acknowledges that, in order for the private market to adequately address the housing needs and demand of Californians, local governments must adopt plans and regulatory systems that provide opportunities for (and do not unduly constrain), housing development. As a result, housing policy in California rests largely on the effective implementation of local general plans and, in particular, local housing elements.

Those who attend the 6 p.m. meeting on July 2 at the community center will have an opportunity to express their thoughts about the rezoning during a public hearing before the council makes a decision - which is likely not going to be popular one, no matter what it is.

The reporter can be contacted by email at or by phone at the Herald at (559) 875-2511.

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