Homelessness, etc. on council agenda

HOMELESSNESS is one of three major topics on the Westminster City Council agenda for Wednesday (Shutterstock).

Three potentially hot topics will be featured at Wednesday’s meeting of the Westminster City Council.

They are:

  • a report on the status of homelessness in the city
  • a summary of options for “rent stabilization” and
  • consideration of term limits for elected officials.

Homelessness:The report on efforts to alleviate issues associated with the unsheltered indicates that from January 2017 to January 2019 the number of homeless people in Westminster has doubled, and that across the county, the increase has been 43 percent.

According to the report, “the ability to respond is limited, in many cases, as Westminster does not currently have an emergency shelter” nor the resources to operate one.

An estimate of the cost to operate such a shelter in Westminster with 75 to 100 beds has an annual cost of $1.3 to $2 million.

On rent stabilization– also known as “rent control” – much of the impetus comes from those residing in mobile home parks in the city, where both rents and the pressure to convert those sites into other housing uses are rising.

The report notes that Westminster had a rent control ordinance from 1981 to 1985, but was beset by legal challenges. Current state law limits city’s use of such laws, but does not prohibit them regarding mobile homes.  Additionally, the proposed Assembly Bill 1482 would limit on a statewide basis annual rent increases to 7 percentage points above changes in the consumer price index, or a 10 percent increase, whichever is lower.

Term limits:Currently in Westminster, there are no restrictions on how many terms a person may serve on the city council, either consecutively or in total.

A council subcommittee of members Sergio Contreras and Kimberly Ho was created earlier this year to consider the subject. If any term limits were to be recommended, the issue would have to go before voters, with the next election in November 2020 and any new rules in effect for the November 2022 election.

The council will meet at 7 p.m. in its chambers at 8200 Westminster Blvd.  The Aug 28 meeting has been cancelled, so the next meeting will be held on Sept. 11.

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