Borre Winckel, head of the Building Industry Association of San Diego, a lobbyist group for developers, isn’t a fan of the public art fees many municipalities tack on to private development projects.
Cities, like San Diego, often have policies that require developers to set aside 2 percent of a public project’s construction costs for art. The policies often also require private developers to cut a check for 1 percent of construction costs of private projects that reach a certain threshold.
Winckel wrote a scathing blog post about the fees on private projects, in part because both Encinitas and Vista have recently considered adopting new percent-for-art programs. Here’s part of what Winckel had to say:
“Truthfully, these public art fee discussions really tell us about the state of mind of those in charge of, or fueling the debate. It rhymes with “duck” followed by the adverb “off” and is directed at all who aspire to having more affordable housing options. The arrogance of some of these local government officials and their commissions is downright shocking. It’s another example of careless indifference in play.”
Developers pay all sorts of permitting fees and taxes that end up funding city services, though, so I called Winckel to talk about why he holds so much vitriol toward this fee in particular.
“We are categorically opposed to any fees, in this very very screwed up market, going to public art,” he said. “I mean, for any public official to, with good conscience, think that it’s OK to siphon off money out of construction dollars that otherwise could have gone to affordable housing programs or toward lowering the cost of construction is just beyond us.”
He blamed not just the public art fee for the difficulty of building housing in the region, but all permitting costs. He made the case all developers make: That policymakers’ No. 1 priority should be reducing fees so developers can build enough housing to meet demand. Public art, he said, is simply a luxury the market can’t afford right now.
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Belligerent about *public art*?!?!
My heart does not bleed for developers. That group mowed down many of the hills in San Diego, flattening our landscape in the name of the almighty dollar. They built bland cookie-cutter shopping malls, homes, and apartment megaliths throughout the County.
After destroying natural beauty and creating a dull man-made landscape, now they rail against fees for public art!
I have a new proposition for you. I'll removal all your fees: Zero Growth and you won't have to pay a dime for it!