housing development rules
Barbara Henry, July 17, 2014
ENCINITAS Opponents of the states density bonus
law, which lets builders squeeze more units into their projects
than would otherwise be allowed, celebrated late Wednesday
as the Encinitas City Council tightened some city development
of the revisions garnered unanimous support from council members,
who said they wanted to act now because community dissatisfaction
with some recent housing projects that fall under the law
has been so intense.
Lisa Shaffer, who is often described as favoring pro-environment
policies, said many of the projects have been harmful
to the community and the city review process has been
is the time to fix that, and I want to say it explicitly,
she said, mentioning that there are eight density bonus projects
now under city review.
Kristin Gaspar, who is often described as being pro-development,
said she also saw a need to make changes now, though she said
she worried the city might later be sued.
said it was evident that residents wanted the changes as she
looked around the council meeting, which was still crowded
as the clock approached midnight Wednesday.
community will to make changes to our density bonus policies
Im willing to honor that will and listen until
the point that we may be forced (legally) to make changes,
states density bonus law allows developers to put in
more units than might normally be permitted on a given lot,
if the developers agree to set aside some of those units for
low-income housing. Supporters say the law creates much-needed
housing for needy families; opponents argue its been
abused by developers looking for ways to skirt municipal zoning
Wednesday night, council members heard from both groups.
McSweeney of the Building Industry Association of San Diego
called the law the one tool left in the toolbox
to create low-income housing, and urged the council to create
a stakeholders group to draft changes to city policies, saying,
I think theres a better way to get there from
Nunn of the San Diego Housing Federation said any additional
housing for low-income families, however small, provides a
huge community benefit.
providing even one unit
youre helping make a
better and more diverse community, she said.
from several Encinitas neighborhoods countered that projects
theyve experienced firsthand have made no effort to
fit within their existing communitys character and have
provided little in the way of low-income housing. They showed
three-dimensional drawings of projects where the proposed
two-story homes would dwarf the existing neighborhoods of
one-story homes, and urged the council to act immediately.
nice to see that were making progress now, said
environmental attorney Everett DeLano, who recently won a
judgment against the city regarding its approval of the Desert
Rose density bonus project in Olivenhain. Its
disappointing that its taken this long.
Marco Gonzalez, who has represented the Desert Rose developers,
told the council that he didnt like the state law, but
said the citys proposed regulatory changes may simply
provide more work for lawyers.
Wednesday night, the council unanimously agreed to four proposed
changes, including one that requires city planning employees
to round down rather than up when calculating
a projects allowable housing density. The council also
voted 4-1, with Gaspar opposed, to require that low-income
units within the proposed developments be closer in size to
the market rate units.
council agreed to make the changes effective immediately.