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  Housing Production and Preservation
Karen Lare | Stratford Court; Jas Grewal | 11th Street; and Tracey Martinez | David Way.

Left to right: Karen Lare, Jas Grewal and Tracy Martinez are representing different Del Mar neighborhoods on the Sixth Housing Element Task Force Housing Production and Preservation subcommittee.
Photos Ed Lare.

The City Council created a Citizens’ Task Force to help guide City Staff and Council with updating the City’s 6th Cycle Housing Element (2021 - 2029) and appointed members representing different neighborhoods. Three subcommittees were formed to support the detailed work required: Communication with the Public, Assistance Programs, and Housing Production & Preservation, and they are working to ensure that we meet required state goals including Del Mar’s allocation of 163 affordable housing units. This does not mean we have to actually build these units. It means we have to create policies and programs to allow the potential creation of 163 units.

The Housing Production & Preservation Subcommittee met with council liaisons and staff to learn about prior work and options, visited open parcels, and sought creative ideas and ways to leverage several sites together, as follows:

• Met with Council Liaisons Worden, Gaasterland & Staff McMahon to gain insight and history on the city’s affordable housing initiatives and to understand the potential options / solutions available.

• Spent considerable time understanding the various potential housing options available at the Fairgrounds and received feedback from Worden & McMahon on each.

• Reviewed maps and documents provided by McMahon that show each City-owned parcel and its current uses.

• Conducted walking tours of sites to review them first hand.

• Reviewed City-owned parcels and considered; Could we build? Should we build? And how many units?

• Discussed re-zoning with McMahon and Liaisons on several of the City-owned parcels.

• Attended a Tiny Homes Symposium to understand regulatory challenges and advances in utilizing Tiny Homes as affordable housing units.

• Spent significant time discussing creative solutions amongst ourselves, McMahon, Liaisons and some residents.

With the knowledge gained, we ranked each City-owned parcel and Fairground option by adhering to the best use of land principle and the timeline required for completion. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its implications on City revenue, we made appropriate changes to ensure financial viability for each recommended option.

There are a lot of important competing issues for Del Mar residents, and trade-offs will likely be necessary. Thus, we hope that every resident takes the opportunity to learn about this mandate. This 10-year plan for the Housing Element will drive how to add affordable housing to our city and will help determine what programs we use to serve our residents throughout their lifetime.


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