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City of San Diego Awarded State Grant to Expand Housing Opportunities Through Community Plan Updates

Grant Builds on Record Progress Under Mayor Faulconer to Win Approval for 14 Community Plans and Major Amendments That Have Expanded Housing Capacity by 74,221 Units Citywide

Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020 -  NEWS RELEASE

San Diego – Building on the housing reforms implemented under Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, the City of San Diego has received a $625,000 state grant to update community development plans and continue expanding housing capacity citywide.

Under Mayor Faulconer, the City has updated or conducted major amendments to 14 community plans following a decade in which only one was completed across the entire city. Those updates have expanded housing capacity by over 74,000 housing units citywide.

“This grant will help us to continue identifying areas around our city suitable for new development and ultimately lead to increasing the housing stock in San Diego," said Mayor Faulconer. “These plan updates are crucial as San Diego works to build more supply, reduce development costs and accommodate smart growth around major job and transit centers.”

The grant was awarded through the Building Homes and Jobs Act, known as SB 2, which provides the opportunity for cities to apply for funding and technical assistance to help with the preparation, adoption, and implementation of plans and process improvements that streamline housing approvals and lead to accelerated housing production. The City of San Diego applied and received funds allocated to this program to update the outdated community plans for University and Mira Mesa and revisit the recently adopted Uptown Community Plan. Proposed community plan updates include:

  • University: creating additional capacity for approximately 10,000 to 30,000 housing units
  • Mira Mesa: creating additional capacity for approximately 10,000 to 20,000 housing units.
  • Uptown: creating additional capacity for approximately 10,000 to 15,000 housing units.

Increasing San Diego’s housing stock has been and continues to be a top priority for Mayor Faulconer. In the last year, the Mayor’s reforms outlined in his “Housing SD” plan, have gained City Council’s support and aim to help make it easier to create the necessary housing stock San Diego needs to accommodate present and future demands.

Recently, at the Mayor’s direction, the City of San Diego accepted its responsibility planning for approximately 107,901 units of the region’s total future housing needs of 171,685 units over the next decade as recommended by SANDAG’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA). Updating often outdated community plans, in addition to implementing reforms that make it easier to build, will help make that goal more achievable.

A brief overview of the Mayor’s latest City Council backed reforms include:

  • Construction of Permanent Supportive Housing By-Right: Reform allows for a streamlined process by-right to construct housing with accompanying supportive services for those experiencing homelessness.
  • Construction of Transitional Housing By-Right: Part of the 12th code update, this eliminates the burdensome regulation placed on developers to encourage more projects by right. These projects are designed to help victims of domestic violence, former drug addicts and former convicted criminals.
  • Employment Connection Zones: This modification will help give more flexibility to mix employer and residential uses in future projects within specific zones.
  • Streamlined Regulations for Companion Units: New regulations make it easier and more affordable to permit "granny flats" and other companion units.
  • Zoning Updates: This update provides 14 amendments to the Land Development Code that would help streamline the approval process for future affordable housing projects.
  • Incentives for building more units: The added incentives go beyond what the current state law mandates to help spur the development of affordable housing for seniors, military personnel, former foster youth, disabled veterans and homeless individuals.
  • Use of religious property for affordable housing: As part of the most recent update to the Land Development Code, qualifying religious properties are allowed to build affordable housing in areas of the property that are typically unused during the week.
  • Parking Reform: Eliminated parking requirements along new housing developments in transit priority areas, reducing development costs while encouraging usage of alternative forms of transportation.
  • Reduced Fees: Updated the Affordable, Sustainable, Infill Development Program to eliminate fees for projects building 100% affordable housing in the city.
  • Commercial Flexibility: Flexibility to allow interim ground-floor residential units or offices where commercial retail is typically required through a Neighborhood Use Permit.
  • Mixed-Use Zoning: Created six new zones that allow projects to include a mix of residential and employment uses. The goal is to provide flexibility for builders to meet market demands and build more housing near jobs.
  • Housing for the “Missing Middle”: Establishes incentives for the first time to build housing affordable to San Diego’s middle class, which is in short supply. The reform follows up on the successful Affordable Housing Density Bonus program approved in 2016 and now the two programs can be coupled together.