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Mayor Faulconer’s ‘Housing SD’ Plan Moves Forward with Strategies to Increase Supply & Boost Affordability

Councilmembers Gomez & Sherman And Housing Advocates Join Mayor to Urge Passage Of Proposals to Help Lower Costs, Promote Smart Growth & Cut Red Tape

Housing SD Rollout Press Conference

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 - NEWS RELEASE

San Diego – 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 PDF icon “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 Committee 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.

Since June 2017, the City has implemented the following housing strategies:

  • Affordable/Sustainable Expedite Program – Revised the program to encourage development near transit and improve service delivery where qualifying projects can have their discretionary and ministerial permits expedited.
  • Companion (Second Dwelling) Unit Production – Changed the municipal code to implement state mandates reducing requirements for parking and permits as well as further changes to help promote the construction of Accessory Dwelling Units.
  • Streamlined Environmental Review – Developed a checklist and compliance document to simplify use and ensure consistency in application of the California Environmental Quality Act Guidelines section 15183, which allows a streamlined review process for public and private development projects that are consistent with the densities established by existing zoning, community plan or general plan policies for which an Environmental Impact Report was certified.

These strategies follow operational changes the City has made in recent years in its Development Services and Planning departments to speed up the project review process and complete community plan updates at a record pace.

“Many times it takes a crisis to catalyze us into action,” said Mary Lydon of the Housing You Matters Coalition. “The 11th code update and the Affordable Housing Regulations are two key solutions moving us in the right direction.”

The City Council will consider amendments to the Affordable Housing Density Bonus and the 11th Code Update at its March 6 meeting.

“Our workforce needs to be able to afford to live here. The only way to meaningfully address the cost of housing in San Diego is by building more units,” said Jerry Sanders, President and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. “While there’s no one easy solution, the updates proposed by Mayor Faulconer represent the difficult ongoing work the City is undertaking to incentivize the private sector to build more homes.”

CONTACT: Christina Chadwick (619) 865-3622 or chadwickc@sandiego.gov