Bud Emerson | Klish Way
Del Mar continues to have a zero in every roundup of affordable housing built in cities throughout the county. To date we have produced a 5/22 consultant report delineating many options possible within the city, but so far nothing has been constructed.
Some actions have been taken to move us in the right direction. Council has directed staff to move forward with rezoning to accommodate housing in the north commercial district on Jimmy Durante Boulevard, as well as the north professional zone. Staff has approached San Diego about annexing the trailer park property next to the Hilton hotel. Two affordable units in the new 941 development are now awaiting a building permit. A proposed granny flat in a remodeled home is being reviewed by the DRB. Discussions are underway about a possible cooperative project with the fairgrounds.
The deadline for our required 22 affordable units is fast approaching in year 2021. Meanwhile our region is drafting a plan for the next round of state-mandated housing units to be allocated among all of the cities in the county. So we can anticipate a new target number to be added to the 22 target. There is also a risk of getting penalized with even more numbers if we fail to achieve 22 in two years.
Other actions around the county and state are both concerning and promising. The State has filed suit against Huntington Beach for failure to take action. A judge has issued a court order temporarily invalidating a voter-approved citizen initiative in Encinitas because it has caused two City Council housing plans to be defeated at the polls.
Several nearby cities are taking steps to facilitate construction of affordable housing. San Diego eliminated sewer and water fees, reduced development fees, and loosened zoning regulations for granny flats (formally called “ADUs” - Accessory Dwelling Units). San Diego County has taken similar steps. Chula Vista has experienced an increase in granny flat applications after waiving parking requirements and cutting permitting fees by about $10,000. Solana Beach issued a request for proposals for about 20 affordable housing units on a one acre parking lot near Fletcher Cove. Even Encinitas, a poster child for resistance to state housing mandates, has funded the creation of three alternative, free, permit-ready architectural plans for building stand-alone granny flats. The mayor of Poway recently asked the Council to consider a proposal for the city to fund building granny flats at its own expense in the backyards of willing property owners, with rent proceeds being shared.
One final note of Del Mar failure came when the Council decided to fund rental subsidies only at the five family level, down from the level of eight families that we have provided for decades. Council members promised to revisit that decision as well as other funds for housing in upcoming budget deliberations.