San Diego City Council called to adopt new strategies as part of mayor’s ‘Housing SD’ plan

Councilmember Georgette Gomez joined Good Morning San Diego to talk about Mayor Faulconer’s “Housing San Diego” plan and new strategies that will need to be adopted.

To address the lack of affordable housing for many San Diegans, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer was joined today by City Councilmembers Georgette Gomez and Scott Sherman and housing advocates to call for the City Council to adopt additional strategies as part of the Mayor’s “Housing SD” plan to help increase housing supply, lower development costs and promote smart growth.

“We need more housing that people can actually afford and the changes we’re pushing for are aimed at making that a reality,” Mayor Faulconer said. “We want to put the dream of homeownership back within reach for San Diego’s working families and the way to do that is by increasing supply and lowering costs as much as we can.”

More than 60 percent of San Diegans can’t afford to buy a house at the county’s median home cost of more than $500,000 – making San Diego one of the least affordable markets in the country.

To tackle this housing crisis, Mayor Faulconer is pushing for meaningful code changes to the Affordable Housing Density Bonus Program to reflect changes mandated by state law, and to further incentivize developers to use this housing tool to increase the production of smaller and more affordable units. San Diego’s unique program will allow a developer to increase affordable units above the maximum density as long as the size of the building footprint does not increase.

Several of San Diego’s unique density bonus program changes include:
• Offering 10 percent density bonus for projects not going beyond maximum permitted building footprint
• Allowing developers to be eligible for an incentive or a waiver even if they don’t request a density bonus
• Allowing for 100 percent density bonus for micro-unit production for projects not going beyond permitted building footprint

“It is important for us to use every tool available to increase the housing stock in our City,” said City Councilmember and Chair of the Smart Growth and Land Use Commission Georgette Gomez. “Easing regulations for development and finding creative solutions to encourage the production of more affordable housing is crucial. I look forward to working together with the Mayor on comprehensively addressing the housing crisis.”

Mayor Faulconer is also advocating for 47 updates to the Land Development Code (11th Code Update) to streamline the review process, remove unnecessary barriers to development and increase production. Proposed changes include:
• Easing zoning regulations to create more live/work developments
• Implementing parking exemptions for designated historic structures
• Changing ground floor height limits in mixed zones to 13 feet to allow for three-story buildings in 30-feet height limits

“This code update cleans up and streamlines the regulatory process and encourages developers to build more housing stock,” said City Councilmember Scott Sherman. “While much more work is needed to end San Diego’s housing crisis, this is a step in the right direction.”

These changes are part of the “Housing SD” plan – a package of proposals designed to spur construction of low-income and middle-class housing through incentives, speed up the development review process, direct funding toward affordable housing, and encourage growth in transit-priority areas, among other things.

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