Everyone in San Diego government is talking about housing.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer made it a centerpiece of his State of the City address. Council members peppered references to it throughout their inaugural remarks. The left- and right-most Council members next week are hosting a summit to kick off a major housing push.
“I’m going to say something that mayors have traditionally been afraid to say,” Faulconer said in his State of the City address. “We need to build more housing!”
But as rising housing prices have crippled household budgets, pushed families into grueling commutes in exchange for more affordable homes in far-flung places and even forced people onto the streets, the city has in fact showed little urgency in fighting the problem.
The city’s official policy for years has been to accommodate population growth by building homes in dense urban villages near jobs and transit. The strategy has not yet translated into significant changes across the city.
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The mayor supported building a stadium downtown, a location made for small "affordable" housing development...the big obstacle is developer greed, they say one thing and do another. Aren't these folks the mayors friends, benefactors?
While we are at it, I am missing what the mayor has moved the needle on?
Our cities challenges are tough, I'm not sure he has the grit or depth to lead effectively, although I'd be happy if he did, regardless of his paycheck...these challenges cant be dealt with leading fro behind and that seems to be his approach. He continues to be a big disappointment.
If the mayor wants to create more affordable housing, the first thing he could do is sit down with his developer/contributors and talk them into building smaller homes on smaller parcels. Think about homes built in the 40s and 50s, between 850 and 1000 square feet. Pardee recently built a subdivision of such homes as an experiment, and they sold like hotcakes. The major problems is that local developers believe they can make higher profits by building fewer, larger and more expensive homes (think 3000 square feet and up, with starting prices between $500,000 and a million dollars for oversized luxury homes and custom condos. If local developers were willing to build more small, less expensive homes, the city's "housing crisis" would evaporate. All it takes is some real political leadership and a willingness by local developers to make their profits by selling smaller homes. At the rate we're going, normal people will have to leave town to find affordable housing, leaving San Diego as one huge gated community of millionaires.
Smart growth is a misnomer that refers to building restrictions. Community plans are obsolete when published. Affordable housing initiatives increase housing costs. Rational economic decisions are greedy.
I am surprised the decrease in the number of fees from 538 didn't get more press.
This situation reminds me of the continued mismatch over transit: SANDAG bureaucrats want more rapid transit and build it despite no increases in ridership; the public prefers streets in better shape and more freeway lanes.
In housing, the planners want increased density while builders, responding to what they believe the buyers want, build fancier, larger, more expensive homes. They sell.
Somehow, the mismatch between the wise planners and the stupid public must be reconciled, a difficult task in a democratic society.
It’s pretty hard to blame the mayor in this situation, but scapegoats are valuable, at least psychologically, so you can add housing to the Chargers’ departure and increased homelessness on the mayor’s blotted copy book.
Can’t resist commenting on the mayor’s “big” salary: It was far below a Board of Supervisor’s paycheck BEFORE they voted themselves a pay increase, and I’ll guarantee you Faulconer has subordinate staff that make more than he does If you took the top fifty earners on the city payroll, think Falconer’s name appears? No chance.
The article accurately shows how little the Mayor, and the city, have done to produce housing that is affordable to low and moderate income households. However, it actually gives the mayor too much credit. The city implimented a housing density bonus program in the early 200's, long before Faulconer became mayor. Perhaps it was reformed under him (I do not know that), but he certainly did not start it.
Affordable housing in San Diego is an oxymoron.
Realistically how many housing units would have to be built to have any meaningful affect on housing costs?
Anyone care to answer that?
According to campaign contribution filings, the mayor has taken money from most local developers. If he wants more affordable new homes to be built in the city, he needs to convince his building industry friends to start building more small, affordable houses, instead of fewer, larger more expensive ones. Local developers face very few regulatory hurdles, if they're proposing new project that comply with existing general and community plans. City planners bend over to help developers get permit approvals, since their salaries are funded by developer fees. Local developers believe they can make higher profits by building bigger homes. Pardee recently build a project with smaller, more affordable houses which sold out quickly. So we know its possible to make a good profit building smaller, less expensive homes. It will take real leadership for the mayor to convince developers to build smaller, less expensive homes, not more slick PR. Time to earn that big salary Kevin.