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Community Plan
Housing Update

Jill Gartman | Pine Needles Drive

As the Sixth Cycle (2021-2029) Housing Element Citizens’ Task Force is preparing its “concluding statement” to City Council we asked the three members of its subcommittee assigned Communication and Community Outreach, Jill Gartman, Bud Emerson and Julie Kawasaki, to discuss their work. The Committee is one of the few Advisory Committees continuing to meet during the COVID-19 shutdown.

from left: Jill Gartman, Bud Emerson, Julie Kawasaki.

How did you go about achieving the Council’s goal to educate and encourage participation in the Housing Element Update?

In the beginning we provided feedback for the citywide housing survey. Unfortunately, it was launched as COVID-19 stay-at-home orders were implemented and people were focused on their health and well being. The City considered participation “good” after the deadline was extended, but I think some task force members hoped for more respondents. Unfortunately, a second workshop scheduled for April 20th had to be canceled due to COVID-19. The task force members have reached out by communicating directly with residents, and city staff produced and sent out two mailers plus notices via eblast to encourage participation in the survey and workshop. It’s important our community participate in the process of creating the Housing Element because it may propose significant changes to areas of our small city.

Was some outreach more effective than others? What kind of information did you get?

The housing workshop held at the end of February was relatively well attended, and city staff felt they got some really good feedback. Survey results will also be factor in determining the Sixth Cycle Housing plan. What is clear to us by speaking with lots of residents over the last few months is people feel strongly that with over 350 acres of land at the fairgrounds this is an excellent opportunity for a collaborative affordable housing project between the City of Del Mar and the 22nd District Agriculture Association: providing fairground employees an affordable place to live close to work, while helping Del Mar achieve some of its housing goals. We hope Governor Newsom, who appoints the fairground’s board members, will get behind such a project given the housing crisis and the vacant land available there compared to the only two square miles of mostly developed land in the City of Del Mar.

Did you feel as if you got enough information out to residents for them to understand and continue to participate in the Housing Element planning process?

Yes, although hindered by the COVID-19 shut down, we think residents can make up with robust participation in the Housing Element’s Draft Environmental Review process that looks at the environmental impact of the proposed ideas on how to provide more housing by 2029, and by keeping in touch with our city council and planning commission members in the coming months. Access their meeting agendas from the City’s homepage so you can contribute via email before their meetings. We all hope for a Housing Element that our community supports and the best way for that to happen is for residents to stay involved, read the Draft Project EIR slated for imminent release on the City’s homepage and provide feedback. We think that community participation and “buy-in” is vital to the success of our Housing Element achieving progress on the goals to be set forth in the approved 6th Cycle Housing Element.



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