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Wrestling With The State
Betty Wheeler | Seaview Avenue

The City’s ongoing effort to avoid penalties for violating State housing law has resulted in a conditional reprieve based on a December 4 letter from the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). That letter referred to HCD’s Sept. 30 finding that Del Mar “no longer complied with State Housing Element Law…due to long passed deadlines regarding zoning actions and the lack of appropriate action at the City’s September 8, 2020 City Council meeting.” [At that meeting, a key step to rezone North Commercial, which required a 4-1 supermajority, failed by a 3-2 vote, with Druker and Gaasterland voting no.] HCD gave the City an opportunity to respond to its Sept. 30 finding, and the City responded with a letter outlining progress in implementing key portions of Del Mar’s certified Housing Element: the rezoning of North Commercial (2-E), Professional Commercial (2-F), and Watermark (2-G). HCD’s Dec. 4 letter noted that the City’s response “outlines progress in implementing Programs 2-E, 2-F and, most importantly, 2-G . . . and crucially describes all actions are being taken to make the site available for development at appropriate densities. . . .” HCD’s letter concluded that “Given the City’s commitment and schedule, HCD will not, at this time, take additional actions.” That reprieve was conditioned on progress and monthly reporting: “any deviation, lack of progress or other actions that influence the effective and timely implementation of Program 2-G . . . will trigger an immediate review and potential action by HCD. Finally, the City must report progress in implementation monthly. . . .” Specifically, actions to implement Program 2-G must be taken prior to April 15, 2021. The City Council has already authorized up to $40,000 for the environmental review necessary for Program 2-G. This is good news, in that the City avoids immediate penalties, and HCD has drawn clear lines for achieving compliance, and has made it clear what the City must to do avoid penalties and other action, such as referral to the State Attorney General.

Click here to view the the HDC letter to the Del Mar City Manager may be viewed on the Sandpiper website.


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