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City Council Approves Mayor’s ‘Housing SD’ Strategies to Increase Housing Supply & Boost Affordability

Two ‘Housing SD’ Strategies Adopted Today Will Incentivize More Affordable Housing, Create More Live/Work Units & Streamline Project Reviews

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 - NEWS RELEASE

San Diego – To address the statewide housing crisis at the local level, the City Council today adopted two additional strategies as part of Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer’s PDF icon “Housing SD” plan to help increase housing supply, lower development costs and promote smart growth.

The first strategy expands the City’s award-winning Affordable Housing Density Program and the second makes several code changes to streamline the development process, remove unnecessary barriers to development and increase production.

“The dream of homeownership has gotten out of reach for too many hardworking San Diegans,” said Mayor Faulconer. “That’s why we’re working hard to lower costs and encourage more building. The changes we’re making today are going to speed the development process, cut burdensome regulations and make it easier for developers to build units people can actually afford.”

The City Council unanimously approved updates to the Affordable Housing Density Bonus Program to incentivize developers to increase the production of smaller and more affordable units. San Diego’s program, which goes beyond state mandates, allows a developer to increase affordable units above the maximum density as long as the size of the building footprint does not increase.

Several changes to the density bonus program 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

The City Council also approved Mayor Faulconer’s 46 recommended updates to the Land Development Code, also known as the 11th Code Update, including:

  • 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

The proposals adopted today join several key actions taken the City over the past year to spur construction of low-income and middle-class housing, speed up the development review process, direct funding toward affordable housing and encourage growth in transit-priority areas.

Since June 2017, the City has adopted strategies including:

  • 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.

The ordinances will become effective spring 2018 for areas outside of the coastal zone and summer 2018 for the coastal zone.

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