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Where to Live
Ann Gardner | Via Latina

Graphic shows the location of both zones: • on the left, North commercial zone at the corner of San Dieguito Drive and Jimmy Durante Blvd. • on the right, the professional commercial zone Camino Del Mar between 8th and 9th streets.
Source: the City of Del Mar.
Click to enlarge.

Del Mar is proposing zoning code amendments in two commercial areas as the City works toward implementing its Housing Element to accommodate more housing units. The two zones, Professional Commercial (PC) and North Commercial (NC), are currently limited to one housing unit per parcel. The amendment would allow up to 20 housing units per acre still within the existing floor area, lot coverage and height requirements.

One of the objectives for California’s Fair Housing law is to “promote an improved…relationship between jobs and housing and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” Providing housing options near jobs obviously reduces commuting times and traffic studies have indicated that commercial uses generate more car trips than residential. Both of the proposed amendments optimally could increase the possibility of walking or busing to nearby jobs and, minimally, reduce commuter miles and emissions.

Environmental review of the PC/NC amendments is underway. Input from nearby properties has been received and a draft EIR for Planning Commission review is expected this Fall. The proposed amendments will then go to City Council and if approved will be submitted to the Coastal Commission for certification.

Providing sufficient housing, let alone affordable housing, is a primary concern throughout the United States, and identifying affordable housing possibilities in local community plans has been especially difficult on the West Coast due to the high cost of land. Del Mar’s allocation of planning for 76 units by 2021 has resulted in only three affordable units, two as part of the approved 941 mixed use development on Camino del Mar and one as a deed restricted affordable Accessory Dwelling Unit as part of the City’s ADU pilot program.

The PC/NC zone amendments are identified in our current Housing Element as two of several options to accommodate affordable housing. Council members are also meeting with the Agricultural 22nd District to discuss possible plans for affordable housing on that property, and the Marisol Specific Plan proposed in the Citizen’s Initiative includes 22 affordable units. Del Mar’s proposed fair housing allocation, to be finalized by the SANDAG Board this Fall, is to provide for the capacity of 163 new housing units, including low income housing, by 2029.



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