Housing Sticker Shock

At a special City Council meeting on June 13, two consultant teams presented Phase I planning studies for affordable housing on the Fairgrounds and on two vacant City-owned sites. Council members seemed taken aback by the large amount of local money that would likely be needed to achieve between 61 and 83 units on the Fairgrounds, with estimates ranging from about $7- 13 million. However, every Council Member voiced support for “going big” and looking aggressively for county and state financial support to create a “model for how to create affordable housing on state property.” 


These preliminary studies are just the start. Much more work needs to be done to pin down specifics, including forging an agreement with the 22nd DAA to site housing on the Fairgrounds property. The studies focused on two acres near the southwest corner of the Via de la Valle and Jimmy Durante Blvd. intersection, with a two-story project, possibly targeting either senior or family occupants. The analysis also focused on two additional city-owned sites, on 28th Street and on 10th St. at the Civic Center.


The Council is expected to discuss next steps at a regular Council meeting in September 2022.


Under the terms of the City’s 6th Cycle housing element (adopted Dec. 2021), if an agreement is not reached with the 22nd DAA by Dec. 2024 for housing on the Fairgrounds property, the City will be required to rezone up to nine vacant parcels on North Bluff or South Stratford, at a density of 20-25 dwelling units per acre (du/a), with “by right” approval for projects with 20% low-income housing, to accommodate at least 54 of the 101 lower income units in Del Mar’s RHNA allocation. For example, the housing element identifies North Bluff properties adjacent to Border Ave. that could be rezoned for up to 200-250 above-moderate units and 47-61 lower-income units, at the required density of 20-25 du/a.