Tulare County helps Lindsay apply for housing grants

The Sun-Gazette

Board of Supervisors agrees to apply for grants on behalf of Lindsay regarding housing citing unresolved issued with state housing department

VISALIA – While the city of Lindsay has worked fervently to clear their debts and any other penalties for obscure actions made by previous administrations, they are still under the watchful eye of state departments. In particular when it comes to state housing grants.

Despite their recent $3.7 million settlement with the California Housing and Community Development department, Lindsay still turned to the county to cosign for a Local Early Action Planning (LEAP) grant program. LEAP is part of the broader program established as part of the 2019-2020 Budget Act to provide a spectrum of support, incentives resources and accountability to meet state housing goals.

Specifically, the program provides one-time grant funding to regions and jurisdictions for technical assistance, preparation and adoption of planning documents and process improvements. The overarching goals of the program are to accelerate housing production, and facilitate compliance to implement the sixth cycle of the regional housing need assessment.

According to a Dec. 15 county staff report, Resource Management Agency’s (RMA) planning director was contacted by HCD’s department of planning and policy development with a request to assist Lindsay by administering, implementing and overseeing the city’s grant on behalf of the city.

“This request is based on unresolved issues between the city of Lindsay and HCD, therefore forcing the city to allow oversight by the county in order to receive grant funds,” the staff report stated.

The county was also asked to cosign on another grant through HCD under Senate Bill (SB) 2. Lindsay applied for a grant maximum of $160,000 to complete a zoning ordinance update, a subdivision ordinance update, to update city improvement standards, be reimbursed for web site improvements with cross referencing and search functionality and modernize and improve the city’s planning and permitting system.

A county staff report stated again the RMA planning director was contacted by HCD to oversee Lindsay’s grant, and was the result of unresolved issues between Lindsay and HCD. The report added that the city and county will each receive and enter into separate funding agreements with HCD.

“Both agreements will include county oversight and responsibility language,” the report stated.

Generally, SB2 established a permanent source of revenue intended to increase the affordable housing stock in California. The planning grant program is also a one-time component of SB2 that, among other provisions, provides financial and technical assistance to local governments to update planning documents in order to accelerate housing production, streamline the approval of housing development, facilitate housing affordability, promote development consistent with state planning priorities and ensure geographic equity in the distribution and expenditure of allocated funds.

Outgoing Lindsay mayor, Pam Kimball, said in a letter to the editor published last month the city will be forced to involve the county when it comes to applying for grants for a considerable period of time.

“We can and currently are receiving grant funds, but other agencies such as Tulare County must apply on our behalf during the next five years which the county has agreed to do,” Kimball’s letter states.

The board voted unanimously in favor of applying for both grants as a part of their consent calendar.

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