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Ann Gardner | Via Latina

On April 20, City Council looked back and then forward as staff begins preparing our state-required “Sixth Cycle” Housing Plan to continue encouraging construction of new housing in Del Mar for all income levels. But first they reviewed progress toward achieving our 2013-2021 allocation: to encourage 76 new-net housing units for very low, low, moderate and above moderate incomes levels. With only a year to go, we have built no net-new units for very low income residents and only approved three for low income residents ($43,000 to $69,000 annually). During the same time period 40 net-new housing units were built for household income levels above $103, 390, six above the allocated 34.

At the same time residents have responded enthusiastically to submitting plans to build accessory dwelling units (ADU) on property where there is already an existing house. Twenty-one applications that may result in additional housing for a wider range of income levels have been submitted since 2018. Plus, at the Ad Hoc Sixth Cycle Element Housing Task Force public workshop on Feb. 29, residents came up with interest in meeting our housing goals with some of the following actions:

-Convert upper floors of commercial buildings to residential. “Our commercial zone already allows one residential unit per commercial parcel. Why are owners not already taking advantage of this opportunity? Let’s find ways to encourage them.”

-Discourage single resident buildings in the R-2 (multiple resident) zone, i.e. tearing down multiple units for a single larger home that takes advantage of the R-2 5% FAR bonus, and put more pressure on the State to use Fairgrounds for housing

After reviewing input from the workshop, consultants and staff’s extensive research and background information, City Council approved moving ahead with the following goals for the next/ 6th Cycle Housing Element. This must be approved by Council no later than October 30, 2020:

-Facilitate construction that complements the existing character of the community

-Prioritize production of accessory dwelling units

-Prioritize housing opportunities on the fairgrounds property

-Provide a greater balance of housing options for a variety of income levels

-Improve and preserve the existing housing stock.

-Regulate short term vacation rentals to preserve long term rental units

-Promote sustainable building that aligns with the climate action plan and greenhouse gas reductions targets.

-Promote housing resources and assistance opportunities. For example utilize mortgage assistance or down payment assistance programs; support local non-profit assistance programs (DMCC, St. Peter’s Helping Hands, and Del Mar Foundation.)

Del Mar’s Sixth Cycle (2021-2029) allocation is partially based on available jobs within our city which includes young professionals and service workers. Councilmember Parks brought up the impact of COVID-19 on available jobs due to the higher number of cancelled events and business closings. However, it was decided to go forward based on current requirements that might be adjusted later.

Incidental Fact: The number of families with children in Del Mar has decreased by 28 since 2010 while gains (161) have been in married couples without children as the median home sales price had increased by 100% from $1 million to $2 million between 2010 and 2017. I can’t locate the increase or decrease in seniors but I would think that they have grown as the population here has gotten older. (we moved here when I was 27 and now I am 81! I think lots of us are in the same boat.)



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