Faced with State mandates to weave 113 units of affordable housing into the Del Mar community, the Planning Department is bringing forward a program that would spread the dwellings across commercial zones, residential neighborhoods, City-owned property and the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

One piece of the program – amendments to allow housing in two commercial zones – is headed to the City Council for action Sept. 8.

The State requirement for housing for lower-income households is part of larger mandate that Del Mar tailor its zoning to accommodate a total of 175 units through 2029.

To meet that target, Del Mar is updating the Housing Element of its Community Plan to meet an April 2021 deadline for final certification. To date, the Housing Element Update has spanned more than one year and has included multiple hearings, a community workshop and survey, task force meetings and reports, and consistent community outreach.

Public review for the Housing Element Update’s environmental impact report closes Aug. 31.

On Sept. 15, the Planning Commission is set to review actions proposed for affordable housing that include:

  • Amending zoning to allow for up to 20 dwelling units per acre, as required by State law, in the Central Commercial zone (Camino del Mar between 9th and 15th streets); Professional Commercial zone (Camino del Mar just south of 9th Street), and North Commercial Zone (Jimmy Durante Boulevard and San Dieguito Drive). The requirement does not translate as 20 units per lot, but would more likely take shape in clusters of four to six units on lots that could fit them within height and floor-area limits. The North Commercial and Professional Commercial zoning amendment proposals are scheduled for City Council action Sept. 8. On Aug. 11, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend City Council approval. The amended zoning could yield a total of 26 affordable units;
  • Incentivizing owners of accessory dwelling units, or “granny flats,” throughout the City to rent to lower income households to capture at least 8 affordable units;
  • Consider opening City-owned property on 9th, 10th, 28th and Court Streets for up to 28 small affordable units; and
  • Partnering with 22nd District Agricultural Association to build affordable housing on State-owned property or, if an agreement cannot be reached, to default to a required State program to rezone vacant land on the North Bluff and/or South Stratford to allow for at least 51 affordable units.

Affordable housing table

The actions do not propose specific development projects.

In the case of affordable housing proposed at City-owned locations, however, Del Mar would be committed to delivering the number of units submitted in the Housing Element Update. If, by 2029, the units come up short or not built at all, the City would be required to identify alternate sites or face penalties from the State.

Any future development proposal would be subject to permitting and approvals.

Failure to provide zoning allowances to meet State mandates can expose the City to severe financial penalties and even the loss of local zoning control.

City Council consideration of the Housing Element Update is set for Oct. 5 and Oct. 19.

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