Report 2012-109 All Recommendation Responses

Report 2012-109: City of San Diego: Although It Generally Followed Requirements for Reviewing Permits, It Could Do More to Protect Historical Resources and to Notify the Public Properly About Its Actions (Release Date: April 2013)

Recommendation #1 To: San Diego Mayor's Office, City of

To ensure that it properly identifies potential historical resources for the structures on project sites and conducts reviews in accordance with the municipal code, Development Services should require applicants to submit documentation, such as the county's property records when available, with their applications or it should obtain the information directly from the county so that it can determine whether the project requires a historical resource review.

6-Month Agency Response

The City now requires the Residential or Commercial Building Record from the County for all permits requesting demolition or removal of a building or structure. Staff working the Zoning Counter will be responsible for review of the Record to confirm the building or structure is less that 45 years old and historical review is not required. Informatin Bulletin 710 has been revised to explain this requirement and to further refer the owner/applicant to the required historic review for all buildings and structures that are 45 or more years old. This procedure is effective November 2013.

  • Completion Date: November 2013
  • Response Date: October 2013

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Fully Implemented


60-Day Agency Response

Implementation of this recommendation would require a significant revision to the project submittal requirements. The potential effects of this recommendation are being evaluated. A possible alternative that would require all building permit applications to be reviewed by a zoning reviewer trained in identifying properties over 45 years of age is being examined. This alternative would be less onerous to applicants and may be recommended if it could ensure proper identification of those properties over 45 years of age requiring potential historic review.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 10/15/2013
  • Response Date: June 2013

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Partially Implemented


Recommendation #2 To: San Diego Mayor's Office, City of

To comply with the municipal code requirements for construction permits such as building permits, Development Services should align Information Bulletin 118, issued in June 2011, which describes its process for construction changes to approved plans, with the municipal code requirements for issuing permits and conducting historical resource reviews.

1-Year Agency Response

Information Bulletin 118 has been revised to specifically address the construciton change process. In addition, the San Diego Municipal Code Chapter 12, Article 9, Divison 2 has been revised to address issuance of building permit and requirements for approved plans.

  • Completion Date: March 2014
  • Response Date: April 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


6-Month Agency Response

Information Bulletin 118 will be revised to reflect the current requirements for historic reviews and for obtaining a building permit. On June 4, 2013 the City Council adopted amendments to the Municipal Code as part of the 8th Update to the Land Development Code to clarify that a single building permit can cover the development of multiple structures. The code amendments became effective outside the coastal zone on July 19, 2013. Before the 8th Update ordinance can become effective in the City's Coastal Overlay Zone, the Coastal Commission is required to certify the amendment per state law requirements (Coastal Act). The Coastal Commission approved a one-year extension that will give them until November 2014 to take action.

  • Completion Date: July 2013
  • Response Date: October 2013

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Partially Implemented


60-Day Agency Response

Information Bulletin 118 will be revised to reflect the current requirements for historic reviews and for obtaining a building permit. On June 4, 2013 the City Council adopted amendments to the Municipal Code as part of the 8th Update to the Land Development Code to clarify that a single building permit can cover the development of multiple structures. The code amendments will be effective after the Airport Authority determines the ordinance is consistent with applicable Airport Land Use Compatibility Plans per state law requirements (Public Utilities Code), which will occur by August 2013. Before the 8th Update ordinance can become effective in the City's Coastal Overlay Zone, the Coastal Commission is required to certify the amendment per state law requirements (Coastal Act).

  • Estimated Completion Date: 10/15/2013
  • Response Date: June 2013

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Partially Implemented


Recommendation #3 To: San Diego Mayor's Office, City of

To provide the public proper notice of San Diego's decision that a project is exempt from CEQA, Development Services should ensure that the exemption notice includes the information outlined in the CEQA guidelines.

1-Year Agency Response

The City has updated its CEQA Notice of Exemption shell to include all required information.

  • Completion Date: November 2013
  • Response Date: April 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


6-Month Agency Response

The City's CEQA exemption notice has been revised to include all information outlined in the CEQA guidelines and staff has received training on the revised notice.

  • Completion Date: October 2013
  • Response Date: October 2013

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Partially Implemented

The city did not provide evidence to substantiate its claim of full implementation.

  • Auditee did not substantiate its claim of full implementation

60-Day Agency Response

The City's CEQA exemption notice will be revised to include all information outlined in the CEQA guidelines and staff will receive training on the revised notice. The City is currently processing code amendments to clarify how the public is noticed of the right to appeal an environmental determination and the timing for when an appeal of an environmental determination must be filed. The amendments clarify the City's process for issuance of the NORA including details regarding the location the notice must be posted, who the notice must be distributed to, and the timing required for availability of the notice. The last action for that project occurred on March 20, 2013 at the City Council Committee on Rules and Economic Development where the Committee recommended approval. The amendments are pending City Council approval.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 10/15/2013
  • Response Date: June 2013

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Partially Implemented


Recommendation #4 To: San Diego Mayor's Office, City of

To provide the public proper notice of San Diego's decision that a project is exempt from CEQA, Development Services should submit exemption notices to the county within five business days after the date all rights to appeal its decision have elapsed, in accordance with its procedures.

1-Year Agency Response

The City has updated Procedure 4.04 to specifically direct staff to process and post all required Notices, including exemption notices, in accordance with the Municipal Code and CEQA.

  • Completion Date: November 2013
  • Response Date: April 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


6-Month Agency Response

Development Services has revised its written procedures (Procedure 4.04 Hearing Support Staff Responsibilities for Environmental Documents)to ensure that environmental exemption notices are filed with the County Recorder within 5 days after all appeal rights have expired, as required by CEQA and the State CEQA Guidelines.

  • Completion Date: May 2013
  • Response Date: October 2013

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending

The city did not provide a copy of its written procedures to substantiate its claim of full implementation.


60-Day Agency Response

Development Services will revise its written procedures to ensure that environmental exemption notices are filed with the County Recorder within 5 days after all appeal rights have expired, as required by CEQA and the State CEQA Guidelines. As part of this issue, Development Services is working with the City Treasurer and County Clerk to determine a process whereby filing fees for environmental notices can be paid within existing cash handling rules.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 10/15/2013
  • Response Date: June 2013

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Partially Implemented


Recommendation #5 To: San Diego Mayor's Office, City of

To provide the public proper notice of San Diego's decision that a project is exempt from CEQA, Development Services should retain documentation demonstrating that it posts the appeal notices in accordance with the municipal code.

1-Year Agency Response

The City has updated procedure 4.04 to direct staff to date stamp the NORA when it is physically posted and removed from the lobby and to retain that stamped and dated notice in the project file.

  • Completion Date: April 2014
  • Response Date: April 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


6-Month Agency Response

Development Services further revised Procedure 4.04 to ensure that environmental notices are retained after posting to demonstrate the notice was posted in accordance with the municipal code.

  • Completion Date: November 2013
  • Response Date: October 2013

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending

The city did not provide a copy of its written procedures to substantiate its claim of full implementation.


60-Day Agency Response

Development Services will revise its written procedures to ensure that environmental notices are retained after posting to demonstrate the notice was posted in accordance with the municipal code.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 10/15/2013
  • Response Date: June 2013

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending


Recommendation #6 To: San Diego Mayor's Office, City of

To provide the public proper notice of San Diego's environmental determinations within five days of the final approval of a project in accordance with the CEQA guidelines, Development Services should develop procedures to ensure that its staff file the determination notices in a timely manner. For example, to avoid delays, Development Services should require its staff to collect and submit to the county the filing fee for each determination notice within five business days of the final approval of a project.

1-Year Agency Response

The City has updated Procedure 4.04 directing staff to file the Notice of Determination within 5 days of final project approval.

  • Completion Date: April 2014
  • Response Date: April 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


6-Month Agency Response

Development Services has revised Procedure 4.04 to ensure that notices of environmental determinations are filed with the County Recorder in a timely manner, as required by CEQA and the State CEQA Guidelines. As part of this issue, Development Services is working with the City Treasures and County Clerk to determine a process whereby filing fees for environmental notices can be paid within existing cash handling rules.

  • Estimated Completion Date: June 2013
  • Response Date: October 2013

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending

The city did not provide a copy of its written procedures to substantiate its claim of full implementation.


60-Day Agency Response

Development Services will revise its written procedures to ensure that notice of environmental determinations notices are filed with the County Recorder in a timely manner, as required by CEQA and the State CEQA Guidelines. As part of this issue, Development Services is working with the City Treasures and County Clerk to determine a process whereby filing fees for environmental notices can be paid within existing cash handling rules.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 10/15/2013
  • Response Date: June 2013

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Partially Implemented


Recommendation #7 To: San Diego Mayor's Office, City of

To provide the public proper notice of San Diego's environmental determinations in accordance with its municipal code, Development Services should seek an amendment to the municipal code to clarify its belief that environmental determinations made by a hearing officer are not subject to the appeal notice requirement. In the interim, Development Services should post appeal notices for projects subject to permit review Process Three.

1-Year Agency Response

The City has amended its Municipal Code to specifically address the requirements for posting NORAs. Section 112.0310(b) states that a NORA is not required to be posted for projects with an environmental document subject to Hearing Officer or Planning Commission action. In the interim, since issuance of the audit and the approval of specified Code amendments, the City posted notices of right to appeal for these actions.

  • Completion Date: April 2014
  • Response Date: April 2014

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented


6-Month Agency Response

Development Services is processing amendments to the municipal code that clarify why environmental determinations made by a hearing officer are not subject to the appeal notice requirement, and clarify the required time for filing an appeal of an environmental determination made by the Planning Commission or hearing officer. The amendments are pending City Council approval. In the interim, Development Services will post appeal notices for projects subject to Process Three permit review.

  • Estimated Completion Date: December 2013
  • Response Date: October 2013

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Partially Implemented


60-Day Agency Response

Development Services will seek an amendment to the municipal code to clarify its belief that environmental determinations made by a hearing officer are not subject to the appeal notice requirement, due to verbal notice at the time of the hearing. In the interim, Development Services will post appeal notices for projects subject to permit review Process Three. The City is currently processing code amendments to clarify the required time for filing an appeal of an environmental determination made by the Planning Commission or hearing officer. The last action for that project occurred on March 20, 2013 at the City Council Committee on Rules and Economic Development where the Committee recommended approval. The amendments are pending City Council approval.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 10/15/2013
  • Response Date: June 2013

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Partially Implemented


Recommendation #8 To: San Diego Mayor's Office, City of

To ensure that its designated employees disclose their financial interests in a timely manner, Development Services should ensure that its filing liaisons and payroll staff develop and implement procedures for notifying the filing liaisons when designated employees assume or leave their positions.

60-Day Agency Response

Development Services has updated its procedures to ensure that its filing liaisons and payroll staff develop and implement procedures for notifying the filing liaisons when designated employees assume or leave their positions. Procedure 0.xx dated 3/26/13 is being forwarded via email.

  • Completion Date: April 2013
  • Response Date: June 2013

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #9 To: San Diego Mayor's Office, City of

To ensure that its designated employees disclose their financial interests in a timely manner, Development Services should ensure that the filing liaisons promptly notify the city clerk when designated employees assume or leave their positions.

60-Day Agency Response

Development Services has updated its procedures to ensure that the filing liaisons promptly notify the city clerk when designated employees assume or leave their positions. Procedure 0.xx dated 3/26/13 is being forwarded via email.

  • Completion Date: April 2013
  • Response Date: June 2013

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Fully Implemented


Recommendation #10 To: San Diego Ethics Commission, City of

To ensure that San Diego's unclassified employees attend ethics training as required by the city council, the commission should either follow the city council's policy or seek a change to align the policy with its current practice.

6-Month Agency Response

Revisions to Council Policy 000-04 approved by City Council on September 17, 2013. Link to revised Council Policy sent via email to Joanne Quarles.

  • Completion Date: October 2013
  • Response Date: October 2013

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Fully Implemented


60-Day Agency Response

The ethics commission provided a strike-out of the revised council policy it approved. In addition, the ethics commission stated that the revised city council policy is currently pending the approval of the Office of the City Attorney. The revised policy states that designated employees shall complete the ethics commission's ethics orientation training within 90 days of assuming office, and thereafter complete the ethics commission's continuing education program on a biennial basis.

  • Response Date: June 2013

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Partially Implemented


All Recommendations in 2012-109

Agency responses received after June 2013 are posted verbatim.


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