Councilman Lucas Policy Issues
Each month, Council addresses a number of key issues in community. Serving on more committees than any other member of Council, I often either sponsor, cosponsor, or support legislation. I share a few of my proposals here.
Housing Policy Legislation:
After several years of research, the City has promulgated a housing report with the focus on increasing the availability of quality housing stock for all income levels throughout Kansas City. The proposals include efforts to increase housing supply for working-class families; to increase access to affordable housing along transit corridors; to fund a Housing Trust Fund of up to $75 million that can support the transition from rental to home ownership and provide home repair to keep longtime residents in their homes; and to build more areas of the city that are inclusive to families of all income types.
The Housing Committee report is available.
A suite of ordinances have been proposed following the Housing Study Group’s work, including:
Percentage Affordability Requirement (Ordinance 180721) – Requiring 15 percent of all units in taxpayer subsidized projects to be affordable for persons earning below area median income
Density Bonuses (Ordinance 180723) – Eliminating barriers to the creation of more dense developments near transit corridors, particularly where developments help increase the supply of affordable housing
Housing Trust Fund (Ordinance 180719) and (Resolution 180720) – Creating a new fund of up to $75 million to (1) support construction of 5,000 new or renovated single family homes; (2) provide loans to support individuals looking to move from renting to home ownership; (3) to enhance the City’s support of individuals looking to conduct minor or major home repair of aging structures; and (4) to support legal services for those facing eviction or neighborhoods looking to gain control of blighting structures in their communities, the Study Group is recommending the City create a Housing Trust Fund
Inclusionary Zoning Study (Ordinance 180722) – Eliminating exclusionary zoning policies and supporting construction and renovation of affordable housing stock in all Kansas City neighborhoods with consideration of differing lot sizes and areas with development of multi-and single family housing areas in all parts of the city.
Bar on Discrimination Based on Source of Income or Status as Domestic Violence Survivor (Ordinance 180724) – Creating a municipal ordinance violation for providers who refuse to consider renters based on their legal income source or status as survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.
Removing Barriers to Efficient Housing Production (Ordinance 180725) – Directing the City Manager to review the permitting process for efficiencies and to eliminate any barriers for development of new housing construction, particularly in affordable housing construction
Safe Harbors for Redevelopment (Ordinance 180726) – Creating “safe harbor” provisions allowing for waiver of fines/liens and reprieve for further City code violations on residential properties newly acquired by redevelopers for its rehabilitation and reoccupation and where developers have previously submitted to the City an approved plan for rehabilitation.
Affordable Housing Policy:
Recognizing the need to address the inadequate supply of quality and affordable housing in Kansas City and ongoing policy concerns, Councilman Lucas has introduced several pieces of legislation aimed at ensuring all Kansas Citians have quality housing choices that can meet their income levels. As Chair of the Housing Committee, Councilman Lucas also remains engaged in the City’s effort to develop a long-term affordable housing policy for all Kansas City neighborhoods.
Ordinance 180370 – Setting a rent level at or below the median individual income in Kansas City as a requirement on projects seeking taxpayer-supported incentives based on affordability determinations.
Ordinance 171031 – Creating a policy providing sales tax breaks on affordable housing projects to encourage the construction of further quality affordable housing in Kansas City.
Tax Incentive Reform:
On October 6, 2016, the City Council voted 9-4 to pass an ordinance limiting tax incentives to 75%. Exceptions to this cap may be granted if the project qualifies for Jobs-Based or Site-Based “High Impact” designation as determined by the AdvanceKC Scorecard, derived from the City Council’s Economic Development and Incentive Policy, or if the project is located in a severely distressed census tract that has continuously maintained such status for not less than ten (10) years immediately prior to the effective date of the request.
KCI Project Transparency and Accountability Legislation
Beginning in May 2017, Council reconsidered the terminal modernization issue at Kansas City International Airport. In an effort to share information with the public, Councilman Lucas authored or introduced several legislative actions and memoranda that reasserted the public and Council’s right to information so that the public would have adequate information about the KCI project.
Resolution 170635 – Requiring disclosure to the public of proposer answers to certain follow-up questions and information received as part of the selection committee process.
Resolution 170552 – Permitting attendance of councilmembers in selection committee evaluations to engender greater public understanding of the selection committee process and to avoid claims of secrecy within process.
Nondisclosure Memorandum – Stating that rules creating more secrecy in selection process were inconsistent with city ordinance and Missouri case law requirements.
Proposed Street Vacation Policy Updates
Given the ongoing need to ensure that vacations of streets and public right-of-ways are done in a manner that ensures adequate consideration of community mobility, neighborhood continuity, and respect of public infrastructure investment and planning, Councilman Lucas has worked with the City Planning and Development Department to craft a new street vacation policy. The proposed text amendment is scheduled to be heard at the City Plan Commission on October 17, 2017. Councilman Lucas welcomes comment directly to his office or the Department of City Planning and Development.