In an effort to make the development process faster and more efficient, the Oceanside City Council unanimously approved a proposal to eliminate certain bonding requirements and to revise occupancy guidelines.
As a result of the vote earlier this year, developers of commercial and industrial projects are no longer required to post bonds for some on-site private improvements, such as landscaping or paving, according to Jane McVey, economic development director for Oceanside.
Noting this does not affect bonding requirements for grading, drainage, buildings and public off-site improvements, McVey said that it is in a developer’s interest to make sure that the work is completed and done well.
Occupancy requirements also have been changed to allow developers to receive temporary certificates of occupancy for buildings that comply with all city requirements while another portion of a project is being completed, McVey said.
In order to receive a temporary certificate, a cash bond or its equivalent must be posted for any outstanding items that remain. The occupancy certificate is only granted if the unfinished items are minor and pose no health, safety, or access issues, she said.
Since the bond for unfinished portions is posted near the end of construction, McVey said the bond amount would be smaller and be held for a shorter time compared to a bond posted at the beginning of a project.
City officials hope developers will invest any money saved by this change into other areas, such as building design or landscaping, she said.
– Changes Based On
The change comes as a result of experiences developers have had, according to Peter Weiss, public works director for Oceanside.
For example, a fast-food restaurant in one retail project was unable to open for three weeks due to improvements taking place across the parking lot, he said.
While the changes are relatively new, the response has been good so far, she said.
“We understand development projects and don’t want to be unreasonable by placing unnecessary requirements on them,” she said.
“The challenge to the staff is to look at how we can make things work better, without any burden to the general public,” Weiss said, adding that the city is open to suggestions and ideas.
– Improving Efficiency
For A Volume Of Projects
With so much development going on in Oceanside, McVey said the city wants to increase the quality of developments while making the process more efficient.
Currently, 1 million square feet of industrial and 800,000 square feet of retail developments are under construction or will be soon, she said. Also, more than 1,000 hotel rooms are in various phases of the development process.
Implemented immediately after the April 12 vote, the new requirements affect developers who were applying grading and building permits after the vote, she said.
While bonding and occupancy requirements were the main changes implemented, the proposal also implemented the following:
o A contact person in each city department is being assigned to each development project.
o Staff skills and training will be enhanced to provide developers, engineers and contractors with the most up-to-date and accurate information.
– Applications Will Be
Specific To Projects
o Project specific applications will be created for items such as tentative maps and other development entitlements.
o Development conditions will be more specific.
o Building permits will be combined when possible.
o Funding has been requested to implement a computerized project tracking and automation system that is expected to cost about $250,000. The figure includes the cost of software and training.
The city began its ongoing efforts to streamline the development process about three years ago when it enacted an initial 24 streamlining changes, which included the deferment of impact fees. Instead of paying the fee when submitting an application, the fee is paid when the building permit is pulled.
Since then, the city has surveyed and interviewed developers who have gone through the process, McVey said.
These efforts resulted in a number of ideas that were included in the April 12 decision to make the process faster and more efficient, she said.