Maybe San Diego had the wrong idea to build more housing.
For years, debates over building enough homes to accommodate a growing population have come down to a single bad word for people who like their neighborhoods as they are: density.
A new strategy – or, if you’d rather, a capitulation – is emerging.
Instead of increasing density one community at a time, some in the city are now just trying to make it easier to build new housing everywhere at once.
San Diego has a long-term growth plan, and a heralded blueprint to slash the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. Both require the city to buck its suburban development pattern and build many more homes in dense urban neighborhoods.
City planners have tried to do this by updating community plans, outlines for where and how much development can go into a given neighborhood.
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If they do allow granny flats, they should also prohibit owners from turning those into temp rentals via AirBnB, etc.
Hotels belong in hotel zones and residences belong in residential zones!
If you want to operate a hotel, then go buy one in a hotel zone and leave residences to long term renters!
@Eddie Barnett Why can't residences be in hotel zones?
There seems to be some validity here, though I agree with other commentors as well. We used to own a single family home in Hillcrest on a lot zoned R4 (four homes allowed). However, when we explored possibilities of development, we were advised there was no chance we'd ever actually be allowed to build 4 homes on the lot. How many lots with appropriate zoning already exist, but no real options to move forward?
These issues are driven by continued desparte attempts to get the public to revert to mass transit, despite SANDAG analyses showing on road vehicles superior in pollution and GHG reduction. 30 years expensive attempts, and the public keeps saying; on demand personal same vehicle direct to actual destination.
The mass transit era is over. Uber and copetitprs show all members of the public, public, especially non drivers can have their needs. Self driving cars come later.
Then many won't care about parking. Hundreds of acres will be freed up. Uber, etc. abolishes mass transit's access deficiency. Communities can be desiggne as the public wants
Let's look ahead, not behimd.
The problem is leadership. Our City Council members need to decide, are they compasses, or are they weather vanes? They were elected to lead, which includes making difficult decisions. All of the credible studies say that more density near transit is the most affordable and sustainable way to meet our housing needs. The unwillingness to increase densities in the updated Community Plans is simply a failure to do what's right, for fear of electorate retribution. Just call it what it is. They choose votes over the planet and good planning. This notion that we should abandon what's right for what's expedient is about the most backwards argument I've heard in the debate thus far.
If we had leadership with vision, we'd have high density mixed use along Clairemont Mesa Blvd and Balboa Blvd, and light rail down both of those streets and El Cajon Blvd. We'd have pressure from electeds in the urban core at SANDAG to stop wasting money on freeway widening and instead invest in the transit extensions that will make these communities desirable to developers. All we're getting now is more of the same...
Making it easier to develop the allowable homes in a neighborhood is a good idea. But it does not mean that we should abandon smart growth/climate sensitive development goals. How do the councilman who are supporting the new approach intend on the city accomplishing the city's CLimate Action Plan? Councilmen have to have the guts to standup for what is good for the entire city and try to educate individual neighborhoods that its density can be sensitivey increased. A study of a few years ago identified San Diego as the least urbanized city (i.e. 49% of the land area is suburban in character) of any of the top 10 largest cities in the country. That is just not sustainable.
Because parking attracts cars and burdens roads, development fees should be proportional to the number of planned parking spaces and feet of street frontage. Also, the city should assess a fee for undeveloped parcels (including those with nothing but pavement) in order to discourage land banking.
I agree with Pat, it is an affordability issue not necessarily those huge posh (or not so posh, in some cases) sky scrapers that charge 1695 for a 400 square foot studio...and yet our small business base fights a minimum wage of 10.50 an hour.
Whats wrong with this math?
I am not syaing I have the answer but its high time the city and county get the answer. It is not sustainable.
@Joan Lockwood "...and yet our small business base fights a minimum wage of 10.50 an hour." It's easy to construct analogies like this one, but frankly, I don't see the connection. Mom and Pop stores are typically operating on a shoe string and see cost increases of whatever kind as a threat to their survival. I don't believe they view their establishments as experiments in social policy, or that they signed up to provide "living wage" jobs, however these are defined.
My observation is that a lot of the noise comes from larger businesses, e.g., our large hotels.
I hadn't heard before that permitting fees are charged by unit instead of per square foot. That explains why so much new housing consists of megamansions which don't seem to be in short supply. Change that to provide incentives for building efficiency apartments, and maybe we make meaningful progress on our housing affordability crisis
@Pat Seaborg Duh! A flash of common sense at last. I'll be eager to hear the rebuttals. Congratulations!
@GK @Pat Seaborg Often times, developers must pay municipality-designated costs in addition to permitting fees. These can include fees associated with public, street and infrastructure improvements, parkland dedications, drainage, school facilities mitigation, traffic signal installation, water system buy-in, wastewater buy-in, water authority capacity, etc. Some of these fees are charged per acre, per square foot, per vehicle trip, per meter size while some of these fees are charged per unit (whether that unit is a 600 SF one bedroom or a 2,400 SF four bedroom). These per unit fees can end up being thousands to tens of thousands of dollars per unit. When they are fixed on a per unit basis, these fees end up making up a higher percentage of cost for the smaller units and discouraging the building of more, smaller units. I am encouraged with the recommendation in the Circulate San Diego’s report to recalculate residential fees from a per unit basis to a per SF basis.
@Pat Seaborg So true! We've been housing hunting recently and most of the newer homes being built are all huge 2 story, 2,000+ or 3,000+ sqft monsters! Sure, some people need something that big in case of huge families, etc.
But, lots of people are just 2 adults and if they have kids, at most maybe 2 kids.
No entry level homes being built.
Plus with the houses being this big, the builders get more bang for the buck, since they sell by sqft.
@Pat Seaborg From what I can tell after a quick search of City and County permitting fee schedules, the permitting fees are pretty trivial relative to the overall payback of new construction. Though it's a little difficult to sort out because there are lots of different kinds of permitting fees (some of which are already based on square footage).
Though I'm all for the change, I wouldn't expect it to be a panacea.
Good news/bad news. But it's better to do something that will help rather than continuing to bang your head against the wall.