Policy reforms will make it easier to build homes in San Diego

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California Construction News staff writer

The City of San Diego has approved its second housing action package, to make it easier to build homes.

“All our efforts to build more homes are about making sure we have enough supply to drive down the cost of housing, so we can put people’s hard-earned dollars back in their pockets,” Mayor Todd Gloria said.HAP 2.0 is a part of that, and today’s signing sets on a path to make 2024 a banner year for housing in San Diego.”

The plan includes amendments to the Land Development Code to preserve existing affordable homes and encourage the construction of more new homes, with new protections for the most vulnerable community members – people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, people with disabilities and seniors. Amendments also includes incentives for homes for students and in areas with greater access to jobs and high-performing schools.

Reforms include:

  • Affordable Homes for Those at Risk of Homelessness: Encourages the creation of single-room occupancy homes, which have shared kitchens and bathrooms, particularly at the very-low-income level. This is a housing option primarily for seniors, people with disabilities and people vulnerable to becoming homeless.
  • Addressing College Student Home Insecurity: Allows the development of private, dorm-style student homes near transit and near universities and colleges and ensures they are affordable to low-income students.
  • Homes for Seniors and People with Disabilities: Encourages the development of accessory dwelling units (ADU) homes, which are secondary housing units on the same lot as single-family homes, that are accessible for people with disabilities by amending the ADU Home Density Bonus Program.
  • Putting All Government Land to Good Use: Provides public agencies greater flexibility in developing homes on publicly owned land by increasing allowed densities and allowing affordable home developments on premises zoned as commercial or residential.
  • Fighting for Environmental Justice in Communities of Concern: San Diegans deserve to live in healthy, thriving communities. However, some communities continue to endure toxic pollution from land uses that no longer comply with local zoning and development regulations. Harmful land use, such as wrecking and dismantling motor vehicles, would no longer be allowed to continue after a transition period if it has been rezoned for homes or mixed-use development as part of a community plan update in the Promise Zone.
  • Preventing Displacement and Preserving Existing Affordable Homes: Promotes the preservation of affordable homes, protects residents from displacement caused by new development and complements the new Residential Tenant Protection Ordinance.
  • Flexible Parking Requirements: Implements Assembly Bill 2097 and gives residential and commercial builders within a half-mile of a major existing or planned public transit stop the flexibility to build the number of parking spaces they need.
  • Turning Underused Strip Malls and Parking Lots into Homes: Provides additional incentives for homes and mixed-use developments in malls and parking lots near transit.
  • Building Family Homes in Places with Good Schools and Job Availability: Streamlines regulations to remove barriers to constructing family homes, encourages the development of middle-income homes and allows for affordable homes to be located in areas with good job and school opportunities and a clean environment.

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