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Morning Report: City, SRO Owners at Odds Over Plan to Preserve SROs

Golden West Hotel / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Single-room occupancy hotels, or SROs, are one of the most affordable types of housing available and a crucial bottom rung on the housing ladder – those who live there are often the most vulnerable to falling into homelessness if they lose their room. 

Recognizing this, the city has for years been wrestling with how to prevent even more SROs from closing, and to help tenants stay stable when they do close. Presumably this would be great news for the owners of those SROs, but as Lisa Halverstadt reports in a new story, a group of them is banding together to fight the city’s proposed regulations [1].

The plan calls for owners to notify the city at least 180 days before they sell their properties to give nonprofits a chance to make offers, increases relocation assistance payouts to residents who are forced to move, clarifies that SROs are eligible to apply for city rehabilitation funds if they agree to 30-year affordability restrictions and adds requirements for SRO managers to document certain occupancy details.

The owners argue the rules are too burdensome and “fear upgrades meant to better serve tenants could trigger significant administrative burdens and long-term commitments.”

Mayor Todd Gloria on Monday unveiled a package of initiatives to try to spur more housing development, including of SROs, as City News Service reported Monday [2]. But so far there are no specific details on proposals to induce more SRO production.

Supes Might Allow Cannabis Farming, But it Still Won’t Be Easy

Come fall, San Diego County supervisors could approve an ordinance allowing cannabis retail sales, manufacturing and cultivation in the unincorporated areas of the county.

But just because cannabis farming might soon be legal in those parts of the county doesn’t mean it would be easy [3], as Jackie Bryant lays out in this week’s Environment Report.

San Diego’s steep water rates, the risks of wildfire risks (and the related difficulty in obtaining insurance in the backcountry) and the declining availability of agricultural acreage all pose big challenges for anyone looking to break into the state’s legal cannabis market.

“So, it remains to be seen whether cannabis will prove to be viable for the county’s farmers,” Bryant writes. “But they are finally getting the opportunity to find out.”

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Sara Libby, and edited by Andrew Keatts.