February 7, 2017
The City Council Tuesday voted unanimously to bring a modified version of the former redevelopment process back to San Diego, likely starting with a special district to fund infrastructure projects in Otay Mesa.
Redevelopment — which funneled increases in property tax revenues toward paying for capital projects — was abolished by the state nearly six years ago. Since then, local officials have been looking for a new source of funding infrastructure upgrades and construction of affordable housing.
The state legislature responded in 2015 by authorizing Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts, which would fund projects in a roughly similar manner.
The council’s action was to establish a public financing authority that will hold a hearing later this year and then decide whether to create the district. The council also set in motion a process to inform property owners in the rapidly growing South Bay community of the city’s intention to create such a district.
Councilman David Alvarez, who represents the area, noted that an EIFD was the best chance to narrow a large difference between infrastructure needs and funding in Otay Mesa.
“Developer fees aren’t going to cover the cost of the infrastructure that’s needed in Otay Mesa, neither are any other initiatives or anything else the city has done at this time,” the councilman said. “This would probably be what gets us the closest to actually funding that $510 million gap that exists in infrastructure needs for Otay Mesa.”
The district would pay for things like road work, parks, a new police substation, libraries, and water and sewer projects over a 45-year period.
No locality in California has formed an EIFD so far, but a couple are close to adopting them, according to staff.