At the last Encinitas City Council subcommittee meeting to develop a new affordable housing plan, the city’s consultant warned that a group of state bills on Gov Jerry Brown’s desk would introduce new challenges.
Barbara Kautz, with the law firm of Goldfarb and Lipman, said that under the new laws, the city would have to upzone enough vacant land to comprise 51 percent of the number of housing units the city needs to build. A previously stated goal, to meet density requirements of 30 units per acre in two-story buildings, would have to be justified to the state that it would be economically feasible within the city.
Brown has since signed the bills into law, and Kautz was blunt in her summary of what they mean for cities: “The whole goal of this is to make cities upzone more sites,” she told the subcommittee.
Kautz said that under Measure A, the city’s last attempt at a housing element, more than half the sites selected were already developed. Under the state’s new rules, Encinitas would have to prove those sites are likely to be redeveloped with low-income housing, likely with written promises from landowners that they intend to tear down their buildings.
Instead, Kautz said, the city should look at identifying more sites for affordable housing.
Another sticking point under Measure A was the number of units the city planned, about 2,000, beyond the minimum 1,093 units required by the state.