City Council members David Alvarez, Chris Cate, Georgette Gómez, Scott Sherman and Chris Ward all issued memos in January calling for a broad array of policy changes, and Faulconer in June detailed a series of reforms to address San Diego’s housing shortage. Gómez released a more detailed action plan last month.
Democrats and Republicans agree the region is facing an epic crisis of both housing supply and affordability – and that they must pursue development incentives and regulatory reforms to address it.
That doesn’t guarantee swift overhauls. City leaders will likely face opposition from residents and interest groups and at least some bureaucratic red tape. There also isn’t wholesale agreement on the best path forward.
But among the housing reform plans put forward so far, there is some significant agreement that could open the door to actual policy changes.
Set housing production goals.
For many city leaders and advocates, it’s a simple concept: You can’t measure progress if you don’t set goals.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
I've seen permitting costs quoted as $20,000 and more for a single family dwelling. I'd love to see a breakdown of these numbers. How can they be so high? Are we reinventing the wheel on each new property?
It looks like the politician's "solutions" call for upzoning what they will call "Transit Oriented Developments" (TOD) projects with higher densities in the urban core areas, without clearly defining what they mean by TODs. I've seen developers claiming that their proposed projects are TODs, even when no public transit serves their properties, arguing that perhaps someday there may be a bus line serving the area. That is now Transit Oriented Development. I know because I helped draft the city of San Diego's original TOD ordinances in 1990. When we said TOD, we meant specific neighborhoods already served by public transit, not some kind of pie in the sky. Thus, the politicians should be very careful what they designate as a TOD. Unless a proposed project is in an existing neighborhood already served by the trolley or MTS' bus lines, it is not capable of becoming a TOD, at least not until SANDAG and MTS update their transit routes to serve the projects neighborhood. But city hall politicians don't want to be bothered with silly semantics. They want to rush to upzone neighborhoods all over the region and call them TODs, they provide subsidize developers who build higher density apartment blocks that will create massive new traffic problems in the target neighborhoods. If that happens, TODs will become a dirty word and existing neighbors will fight proposed TOD designation and zoning in their communities. A project proposal for new density in a neighborhood that is not already service by our local trolley or bus lines cannot be a TOD, no matter how the developers and politicians spin it.
In addition, the local governments contemplating upzoning a neighborhood for TODs needs to set up mechanisms to determine whether or not the residents who move into a new apartment complex end up using public transit, or just keep commuting to work and back in single passenger cars. MTS and local governments have created higher density apartments and condo complexes near trolley stations in the past, but as far as I know none of them have done any follow on studies to find out whether or not people living in TODs actually use transit. If not, they haven't created a TOD. They've just benefited their developer contributors and kept contributing to our growing traffic and air pollution situation by packing more people into existing neighborhoods without increasing their use of transit.
Instead of trying to outsmart all the people of San Diego, lets not pick winners and losers and rather just lower the cost and time required to build /rebuild units. Hold engineers and architects accountable and get rid of plan checkers at the city. They do not take any responsibility should housing fail, however they add cost and time, which equals risk for developers. Developers will build what is needed, and if they don't, they will go out of business. Let the people, that is, the market choose. Counsel should not favor any types of development, and should not micromanage the owners of the property should they choose to short term rent, as long as they pay their taxes and follow the established rules.