San Diego recognized for housing policies

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California Construction News staff writer

San Diego’s housing action has earned “pro housing designation” from the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD).

The recognition was based on policies adopted by the city to prioritize and expand new home construction and will give the City an advantage over other agencies when competing for state funding for housing and related programs.

“San Diego continues to take significant steps at the local level to addressing the need for housing,” Governor Gavin Newsom said. “As part of only seven communities to receive a Prohousing Designation from the state, the leadership and the community of California’s second-largest city is paving the way for others to follow.”

In 2019, as part of the 2019-2020 Budget Act, Assembly Bill 101 enacted the Pro housing Designation Program. Jurisdictions that receive the designation are given preference when applying for housing, transportation and infrastructure programs such as the Affordable Housing & Sustainable Communities (AHSC), Infill Infrastructure Grant (IIG), Transformative Climate Communities (TCC)  and the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP). 

Affordable housing developers who apply for the AHSC grant program will receive additional points if their housing is located within the City. The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) plans to apply the designation to some of its grant programs as well.

In order to qualify for the program, the City is required to have a Housing Element compliant with state law and certified by HCD, as well as to submit an application showing policies that facilitate the planning, approval or construction of more homes.

“With our city in a continuing housing crisis, having the advantage to secure more state funding is an important step toward providing more homes and infrastructure like parks and safe and enjoyable streets for San Diegans of all ages, incomes, family sizes and abilities,” said City Planning Director Heidi Vonblum. “Receiving this designation is a significant recognition of our ongoing dedication to providing more home opportunities and infrastructure investments needed to serve our residents and create great communities.”

Some of the policies enacted in San Diego:

  • Affordable Housing Regulations: provide incentives for 100% affordable projects. To be eligible under this program, a development must set aside 100% of the pre-density bonus units as affordable to very low-, low- and moderate-income households.
  • Affordable Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Home Density Bonus Program: For every ADU home built and set aside as affordable and allows an additional ADU home to be built.
  • Transit Priority Areas Parking Standards: Allows zero minimum parking requirements for multifamily residential developments in Transit Priority Areas (TPAs).
  • Mixed-Use Base Zones: allow a mix of residential and non-residential uses within TPAs, with development intensity governed by Floor Area Ratio rather than density per acre.

• Complete Communities

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