What’s wrong with the city’s Housing plan? Plenty!

1. This housing plan is not needed. The City has a large inventory of housing sites now. The draft Housing Element shows “capacity for at least 174,678 housing units”.

Also, there are many City and State programs in place which facilitate housing. These include:

Affordable Housing Density Bonus, up to 50%

Affordable Housing Expedite Program

There are currently in work ten California state bills intended to address housing production. More City programs are not needed at this time!

The vacancy rate …

2. The program is too broad, covering vast areas of the City. The affected area would be about 2/3 of the entire central portion of San Diego. Also, the Transit Priority Areas (TPA’s) which form the basis of the program are drawn incorrectly.

3. The program would be harmful to communities. It would override the Community Plans and existing zoning, in essence throwing out many years of work, by hundreds of residents.

4. The public would be shut out. By classifying projects as ministerial, there would be no notices, no hearings, no CEQA review, and no right of appeal. Community Planning Groups would be mostly put out of business. Residents wouldn’t know about projects until the bulldozers appeared.

5. The Floor Area Ratios (FAR) proposed are excessive for communities outside downtown. Currently, communities have FAR in most areas of 0.5 to 2.0. The proposed FAR of 4.0 to 8.0 would typically result in buildings of 8 to 16 stories!

6. Coastal communities are included in the plan.

Why would City staff and the Mayor include the coastal communities unless they plan to eliminate the Prop. D height limit which has been in place since 1972? Do San Diegans want high density and taller buildings in coastal communities?

7. High rise buildings are not affordable. It’s well-known that buildings over 3-5 stories have very expensive construction costs. The developer must target high-end rents and selling prices to offset the high costs.

8. Lack of transition areas. TPA areas are circles on a map. They don’t correspond to streets, canyons or any other boundaries. They are a poor basis for a program with “no height limits”. Residents could find a building of 8-16 stories across the street from their home, or next door!

9. Infrastructure planning is absent, at this time. City staff seems unaware of residents’ outcry since the 198o’s for Adequate Public Facilities. The staff has not released a plan for providing the parks, libraries, fire stations, and transportation systems needed to serve allowable development.

10. Unlikely to get more housing. Communities won’t get more housing, they will get a few out-of-scale projects which will tower over existing homes.