City permit process goes online
Starting Monday, July 19, the city’s Development Services Department (DSD) will be updating the online permit process for all Building and Engineering permit types.
This central system update will transform the “hybrid submittal process” launched during the COVID-19 pandemic to an entirely cloud-based permitting system that will provide 24/7 access to customers. This transition will reduce operational delays processing permits.
According to a press release from the City of San Diego: “The new online permitting system offers many benefits that will enhance customer transactions, making it more intuitive, easier and faster for customers to apply for a new permit, track projects during the review, schedule inspections and make online payments.”
Benefits include eliminating the two-step application process, separate requests for PTS numbers prior to document upload, and the general application form. The new system will make it easier to add and upload new documents, conduct cloud-based plan reviews and incorporating plan review comments for customers to view in real-time.
System upgrade timeline
To accommodate the system updates, intake for new building and engineering applications will be suspended from July 13 to July 19. Customers are advised to plan accordingly using the timeline below. • July 12: Last day to submit new applications using current process — To accommodate the critical update, Monday, July 12, at 5 p.m. will be the last day to submit new Building and Engineering applications using the current hybrid submittal process.
July 13–18: No new Building and Engineering Permit applications accepted — New applications for all Building and Engineering Permit types will not be accepted. Existing applications will continue to be processed and the resubmittals will be accepted.
July 19: New online permitting system available — DSD will resume accepting new applications for all Building and Engineering Permit types in the new online permit system at 5 a.m. Monday, July 19.
Building and Engineering Permit types
As part of the switch to the cloud-based solution, the revamped online application Building and Engineering Permit types include: Building (all buildings, master plans and special program projects); construction changes to a building permit; deferred submittals; grading; mapping; public improvements; and public right-of-way.
In July, DSD is hosting webinars each Thursday to familiarize customers with the new system, address questions from customers, offer tips and review all new features. Each interactive webinar will be facilitated by senior DSD staff, hosted using Zoom and be recorded so customers can watch each webinar 24/7. Visit www.bit.ly/3AEUJVe.
SD Humane Society named Nonprofit of the Year
San Diego Humane Society has been selected as a 2021 California Nonprofit of the Year by Assemblymember Brian Maienschein. San Diego Humane Society is one of more than 100 nonprofits that will be honored by their state senators and assemblymembers for their tremendous contributions to the communities they serve.
San Diego Humane Society, an open-admission shelter, is creating a more humane world by inspiring compassion and advancing the welfare of animals and people. Their lifesaving safety net has helped San Diego become the largest city in the U.S. to keep healthy and treatable shelter animals from being euthanized. Caring for 50,000 animals each year, San Diego Humane Society is a private, independent, nonprofit organization that is not affiliated with any other humane society or society for the prevention of cruelty to animals.
“It’s so rewarding to see the impact that we’re making for our community being acknowledged by our legislative leaders and partners,” said Gary Weitzman, president and CEO of San Diego Humane Society. “To earn this recognition is truly an honor and we are deeply humbled to be recognized by Assemblymember Maienschein in this way.”
With campuses in El Cajon, Escondido, Oceanside, Ramona and San Diego, San Diego Humane Society provides animal services for 14 cities within San Diego County. They not only care for 50,000 animals in the region but also share their expertise about their innovative programs with shelters nationwide so they can save more lives in their communities.
San Diego rent Increased 4.9% since COVID
Prices for single-family rental units have soared over the past year as the COVID-19 pandemic prompted households to reevaluate their living spaces. Lower-priced units increased 3.2%, while higher-priced single-family rentals rose 5%, according to the “Single-Family Rent Index” by CoreLogic. And the hottest trend has been toward standalone rental properties with more space in less dense neighborhoods, which grew five times as fast as rentals in attached units since last year.
To determine which large metropolitan areas in America saw the greatest rent increases during COVID-19, researchers at Stessa compared the “Zillow Observed Rent Index” from March 2020 to March 2021 to find the year-over-year change in median rent. Researchers also calculated the relative cost of living in each area as well as the median income for renters using data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Census Bureau.
The analysis found that in the San Diego metro area, the median cost of rent was $2,255 in March of 2020. One year later, rent had increased by 4.9% to $2,365 per month. Here is a summary of the data for the San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA metro area:
Year-over-year change in rent: +4.9%
Median rent in March 2021: $2,365
Median rent in March 2020: $2,255
Overall cost of living (compared to U.S. average): +17.9%
Median income for renter households: $60,563
For reference, here are the statistics for the entire United States:
Year-over-year change in rent: +1.3%
Median rent in March 2021: $1,739
Median rent in March 2020: $1,716
Overall cost of living (compared to U.S. average): N/A
Median income for renter households: $42,479
For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on Stessa’s website: www.stessa.com/blog/cities-most-rent-change-since-covid19.
SAN joins community power program
San Diego Community Power (SDCP), the not-for-profit community choice energy program, announced San Diego International Airport’s (SAN) enrollment into its service and SAN’s decision to opt-up to the Power100 service level. SDCP will provide 100% renewable, 100% carbon-free energy to SAN, who continues to be a leader in environmental stewardship for the travel industry and region. The airport served 25 million passengers in 2019, making it the busiest single-runway commercial airport in the United States.
“Having the opportunity to work with San Diego Community Power enables us to reach our goal of 100 percent renewable electricity well before our planned timing of 2035,” said Kimberly Becker, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority President and CEO. “SDCP’s ability to provide reliable, zero-carbon energy at competitive costs is a game-changer for us and everyone in the region.”
Environmental stewardship is a hallmark of operations at SAN. The Airport Authority instituted one of the first sustainability policies for a major airport in the United States and is committed to building and operating SAN in a manner that promotes the region’s prosperity and protects its quality of life.
“We are thrilled to partner with the Airport Authority to advance our shared vision of a cleaner, healthier region,” said SDCP Board Chair and Encinitas Councilmember Joe Mosca. “They are a great role model for organizations and businesses that are committed to saving money, our environment, and reinvesting in our local community.”
Cox Charities offers $100,000 in grants
Cox Charities is accepting applications from nonprofit organizations through July 31 as a part of its annual Community Grants program. This year, Cox Charities will be awarding a total of $100,000 in grants to San Diego area nonprofits, with individual grants ranging from $2,500 to $10,000.
Cox Charities will accept applications from nonprofits that offer programs in the following areas:
Youth and education with a focus on innovative STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) opportunities for K-12 students beyond the classroom;
Conservation and sustainability;
Diversity, equity, and inclusion, including military and veterans;
Bridging the digital divide, including digital equity and digital literacy.
To apply for a Cox Charities community grant, organizations must meet the following qualifications:
Be a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
Be located or provide services in a Cox service area in San Diego County.
Apply online at www.coxcharitiesca.org/communitygrants. Grant recipients will be announced in September 2021.
City launches small business support service
To support the economic recovery of small businesses and restaurants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of San Diego has launched a Small Business and Restaurant Assistance (SBRA) Program. Through SBRA, qualified local businesses can access support to navigate the City’s planning requirements and permitting process, expediting construction projects and improvements that can give businesses a boost and help grow their operations.
Mayor Todd Gloria’s “Back to Work SD” budget plan, unanimously approved by City Council last month, provides funding to establish the first-of-its-kind program, operated through the City’s Development Services Department.
“This small business concierge service, provided by the SBRA Program, will help equitably jumpstart the City’s economy by targeting those that need assistance the most,” said Mayor Gloria.
Many small businesses and restaurants with 25 or fewer employees – including restaurants, retail shops, home offices and businesses, gyms, catering facilities, and hair and nail salons – qualify for the SBRA program. For a complete list of program qualifications and exclusions, visit www.sandiego.gov/SBRA.
To get started, business owners are encouraged to search the City’s Open Counter Business Portal to identify requirements and fee estimates for their project. Then, applicants can schedule a virtual counter appointment to go over their application and make sure that it is complete and apply for the building permit. Once a permit application is submitted, the project will be placed into review and a DSD project manager will work directly with the applicant to resolve any conflicts or questions.
“COVID-19 was devastating to our local small businesses and restaurants. As small business owners research online what is needed to remodel, repair or undertake a new construction project, DSD reviewers and planners will be available to guide them through the ins and outs of the process,” said DSD Director Elyse W. Lowe. “We want to provide immediate assistance to help our economy recover and get our small businesses back to work again.”
The new SBRA program is an integral part of #DigitalDSD, an initiative to modernize all DSD workplace systems and cost-effectively leverage technology to increase productivity and improve service delivery. Other #DigitalDSD services include all new permits being processed online, virtual over-the-counter appointments, the launch of an online portal to assist local businesses with outdoor expansion during the COVID-19 pandemic and virtual inspections for construction projects.