Backroom deals still not cool

Six weeks ago, county leaders offered their assurances they weren’t selling out while settling a lawsuit with developers over affordable-housing rules.

Today, “We are just as in the dark as ever,” said Joan Burke with the Sacramento Housing Alliance.

Burke and others have condemned the so-far secret settlement agreement between Sacramento County and the North State Building Industry Association over county rules requiring developers to build housing for extremely low-income families along with their market-rate houses.

The BIA sued to overturn the rules and lost in Sacramento Superior Court, then appealed a year ago.

Defenders of the new housing program thought the developers had little chance of winning the appeal, but county leaders unexpectedly decided to offer the BIA a settlement in April. (See, “Developers gain ground,” SN&R News, May 17.)

County legal counsel Robert Ryan insisted the county wasn’t “caving in” to developers.

And the Board of Supervisors is expected to vote in public on the settlement this summer. But Burke worries the Supes will simply rubber-stamp the deal already struck with the BIA in private.

“This is an important public-policy question, and it needs sunshine,” she said.