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Housing Construction Continues During Pandemic as City of San Diego Moves to All Permitting Online

Mayor Faulconer Also Announces Weekend Reopening of Three Reservoirs – Miramar, Murray And Lower Otay – For Fishing, Boating & Exercise

Thursday, May 14, 2020 - NEWS RELEASE 

San Diego – Continuing to combat a statewide housing crisis amid COVID-19, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer today highlighted significant changes implemented by the City of San Diego’s Development Services Development (DSD) to keep housing construction going by accepting permits online for all new projects and implementing safety protocols to protect workers at construction sites.

Mayor Faulconer also announced the PDF icon reopening of three of the City’s reservoirs to public recreation this weekend, with the Miramar and Murray reservoirs opening Friday followed by the Lower Otay Reservoir on Saturday. They will be open during regular business hours for walking, jogging, cycling, fishing and boating under new safety protocols. More information is available on the City’s website at sandiego.gov/coronavirus.

While other cities have slowed construction in response to the pandemic, the City of San Diego moved forward with plans to make permitting available online to keep construction moving. This move expanded the digital permitting process that had been available for limited permits to be available for all permits.

“This move to fully embrace online permitting is needed now more than ever as our builders navigate their way through a global health pandemic,” Mayor Faulconer said. “We still face a major statewide housing crisis that will only get worse if construction slows down so we’re trying to make it easier to get shovels in the ground. This change also keeps residents and employees safe during COVID-19 and beyond by eliminating the need to exchange thousands of paper documents in person.”

The #DigitalDSD move to online permitting began earlier this month and will be a gradual transition to ensure flexibility for customers and plan reviewers. #DigitalDSD will:

  • Allow the paper submittal option during the transition period so that customers can adjust to the new system.
  • Provide User Guide and videos to help customers understand how to use the new electronic permitting tool.

“Converting from paper to all electronic permit processing is a historic moment for the City of San Diego, and it’s going to help keep construction going strong during the pandemic,” said Elyse Lowe, the City’s Development Services Director. “DSD is working hard daily to respond to a changing environment while making improvements that help customers save time and money.”

All permit types are online, including:

  • Building Permits: Ensures construction projects comply with local, state and federal standards for land use, zoning and construction, and verify compliance with the minimum standards that help safeguard life or limb, public health, property and welfare.
  • Construction Change to Building Permit: Apply to submit changes to approved Building, Combination, Fire, Plumbing, Mechanical and Electrical permits that were submitted electronically on or after May 4, 2020.
  • Discretionary Permit: This permit is required when a project needs a decision to allow the proposed use, design feature or project location. Preliminary Review or Multiple Discipline Preliminary Review requests can also be submitted electronically.
  • Electrical Permit: This permit is required for the installation, alteration, addition or replacement of electrical wiring, devices, appliances or equipment, and to comply with the minimum standards necessary to safeguard life or limb, public health, property and welfare.
  • Right-of-Way Permit: This permit is required for any new construction or aboveground or underground improvements in the public right-of-way, including utilities such as water, sewer, gas and electric lines. The public right-of-way is located outside the boundaries of the private property lines. This permit is also required for encroachments into any public or private utility easement.
  • Traffic Control Permit: This permit is required for all public improvement projects, construction projects, and other work that encroaches into the public right-of-way, including sidewalks.
  • For additional information on other permits available online, please visit www.sandiego.gov/development-services

In addition, DSD adopted new COVID 19 Construction Site safety protocols to help keep both customers and employees alike safe.

New safety requirements for construction sites include:

  • Prohibiting gatherings or meetings of 10 or more people
  • Incorporating physical distancing and face covering requirements
  • Implementation of ride-share and carpooling restrictions
  • Employing decontamination procedures
  • Increasing the ratio of toilet facilities to laborers
  • Facilitating increased hand-washing stations
  • Conducting daily symptom checks of workers

“It has been critical for us to be laser-focused on keeping our job sites running to ensure San Diego’s public and private construction projects continue to move forward and our workers remain employed and feel safe coming to their jobs every day,” said Tuesdae Lukin, Vice President of Operations for Associated Builders and Contractors San Diego. “So a coalition of construction industry experts in San Diego came together to develop a set of protocols for each job site and we have all been diligent in implementing these rules that we believe can be a model for other industries to follow.”

“Safety and training will always be a top priority for us,” said Doug Hicks, Special Representative with the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters. “Adapting to changing hazards is something all union carpenters are used to. We are committed to remaining trained, safe, and essential.”

For updates on City of San Diego services, programs, links to helpful information related to what is open and what is closed, please visit sandiego.gov/coronavirus.

For information regarding COVID-19 cases and directives from County of San Diego public health officials, please visit coronavirus-sd.com. Text “COSD COVID19” to 468-311 for text alert updates.

A statewide “Stay-at-Home” order is still in effect. For more information on the order, including what’s closed, what’s open and which industries are exempted by the state, please visit COVID19.ca.gov.

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