Facing its first requests for exemptions from the Interim Development Ordinance today, the City Council has voted to restore its depleted reserve of available residential building permits on a case-by-case basis.
The slow-growth ordinance, adopted by the council July 21, limited citywide residential development to 8,000 units over the following 18 months, distributing the units among city neighborhoods. As part of the ordinance, 1,204 of the units were placed in a reserve account for later use.
But the council voted Aug. 7 to use all 1,204 reserve units to allow builders who had applied for building permits, but had not been granted them, to construct their projects. That move left no reserve units for builders asking to exceed the neighborhood limits. Fourteen city neighborhoods have reached their limits under the IDO.
The first 17 of those builders will come before the council today, asking for a total of 41 units. Under terms established by the council, these exemptions are for people who want to build three or fewer residential units.
On Dec. 1, the council will hear from 16 builders who want to build four or more units; they are requesting that 792 units be exempted from the ordinance.
According to Mike Stepner, acting director of the Planning Department, the council could restore the reserve by borrowing from future allotments or by taking permits from neighborhoods that have not reached their IDO limits, such as Old Town, and awarding them in neighborhoods where the limits have been reached, such as Midway.
Rather than establish a reserve fund Monday, the council voted to parcel out the permits on an as-needed basis.