Gonzalez proposes bills to increase density bonus and ban ‘poor doors’

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Because of a scarcity of land and rising demand, cities like San Diego are building up. Taking smaller parcels of land to build structures with more stories and more units. The concept is called density.

State Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez wants to help developers out by increasing something called a density bonus.

In development circles, the bonus allows a builder to put up more units as long as they agree to include affordable housing in the mix.

For example, in an apartment complex in Hillcrest, the developer was allowed to build 35 percent more units on the site by including some rent-restricted housing for seniors and disabled veterans.

Two of the 36 are set aside for low income tenants.

Under a bill proposed by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, that density bonus would increase to 50 percent.

By raising the density bonus, developers like Gilman Bishop say it will be easier to build inclusionary housing, therefore more units bring the costs down.

Assemblymember Gonzalez said Monday that the City of San Diego already offers a bonus density of 50 percent and that incentive has led to more projects in the pipeline.

But in meeting the demand for more housing, especially affordable housing, at least one proposed project has incorporated some controversial design elements.

The developer of Pinnacle Pacific Heights in San Diego’s East Village wants to build two towers. The taller one is for those renting at market rate the smaller building is for low income renters.

In the way it’s designed, the rent subsidized tenants would enter through a separate door to get to common areas and amenities.

Critics of the so-called “Poor door” say its demeaning. In a second bill, Gonzalez said she wants to require developers in California to let all tenants access the same entrances and common areas.

Her bill would prohibit a developer from isolating the rent restricted tenants to a specific area or floor.

Gilman Bishop who played a role in developing this Hillcrest project Says well integrated projects make stronger communities.

Both housing bills by Gonzalez will be heard in legislative committees before going to the full state assembly for a vote.

Categories: Local San Diego News