SANDAG Revises Coronado’s Affordable Housing Unit Goal To 1001 - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado City News

SANDAG Revises Coronado’s Affordable Housing Unit Goal To 1001

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Posted: Friday, August 9, 2019 10:35 am | Updated: 11:33 am, Wed Aug 14, 2019.

Coronado is the unwilling target of three governmental entities who are more than willing to tell locals what is best for their city. The Port of San Diego is desirous of either building new or expanding existing hotels in two different parts of the city. The San Diego Airport Commission with their Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan (ALUCP), is close to limiting the amount of development allowed around NAS North Island and the airplane approach corridors that serve the base. And now the state of California’s Department of Housing and Community Development, via regional planning agency the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), is in the final throes of dictating that 1,001 low and moderately priced housing units, must be constructed in the city between the years of 2021 and 2029.

The plans by the Port of San Diego and the San Diego Airport Commission are real and a little farther out on the horizon. The SANDAG decision on the Reginal Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) is imminent, with a semi-final decision on the quota planned for later this month. The SANDAG housing quota, “Could change the character and image of the community,” according to Coronado City Manager Blair King.

So how did we get here? The aforementioned State Department of Housing and Community Development mandated in July 2018, that during the Sixth Housing Element Cycle, which runs from 2021-2029, there would be 171,685 housing units constructed in the San Diego Region. December 21, 2019, the SANDAG Board of Directors established a Regional Housing Needs Assessment Subcommittee to allocate the number of units each of the 19 entities (18 cities and San Diego County) would be required to build.

Following the bouncing housing allotment has been interesting, as Coronado’s original quota was 1,800. Coronado City Councilmember Mike Donovan, who represented the city at the July 26, 2019, SANDAG Board meeting said, “That would have been a huge percentage increase from the 50 new housing units from the last cycle and it was unclear why that was the number. The criteria used to set the number of housing units were where the jobs are and where public transit is. Since we have 9,500 dwellings now in the city, that would have been an 18 percent increase in housing units, while the total increase in the region was just 6 percent.”

Subsequent lobbying from Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey, who sat on the RHNA Subcommittee, and city staff, reduced the city’s allocation to 1,001 units and then to 808, when consideration was given to the impact of military housing within the city. At the July 26 SANDAG Board meeting, the allocation was raised again to 1,001.

While the housing goal was still at the 808 new-units level, the specific allocations per income category include 277 units for very low income, 150 for low income, 141 for moderate income and 240 for above moderate income. By comparison, five jurisdictions within San Diego County have lower new housing unit levels than Coronado. They include Del Mar with 167, Imperial Beach with 184, Lemon Grove with 279, Solana Beach at 341, and Santee 694.

Councilmember Donovan said of the change in direction which resulted in the higher new housing allocation, “The Chair of the RHNA Sub-committee Catherine Blakespear (Mayor of Encinitas), read excerpts from a San Diego Union-Tribune article that made it sound like Coronado had been given favoritism. That we had pushed back and gotten our number knocked down. And that we had unfairly gone and changed things around and were being favored. When it came time to make a motion, San Diego City Council President Georgette Gomez made a motion to accept the numbers the way they were, with no consideration for military housing. The straight up vote passed 55 percent to 45. That means the previous numbers (1,001 new housing units for Coroando) would go out for public comment and the next time it will be discussed is at the August 23, 2019, SANDAG Board meeting. The Board will evaluate it and discuss it some more. The plan that comes out of the Aug. 23 Board meeting will be sent to Sacramento to the Department of Housing and Community Development. They have 60 days to review the plan and if they approve it, the SANDAG Board will vote for final approval in October or November. Then the cities will have until April of 2021 to modify their Housing Plan for Sacramento at the new number.”

Donovan has warned the public several times about the possible impacts of the RHNA on the city. He said of Coronado’s options to meet the goal of 1,001 new affordable housing units, “What it means, is we will have to raise our height limits (now 40 feet in most of the city’s zones). For a number like 1,001, we will have to re-zone some areas and raise the height limits to build higher, multi-family dwellings. The travesty of the whole thing is they are basing their numbers on two criteria, jobs and public transportation. That can’t be equitable for every city in the county. We had suggested they also evaluate density and available land for residential development. For Coronado, Del Mar and Solana Beach, we are already dense. They are ruining the characteristics of the cities by jamming hundreds of units of extra housing where there isn’t much land to develop. For whatever reason, San Diego, Chula Vista and National City don’t have any sympathy for the small towns. It’s really disappointing. So, there are just more and more constraints. We have to build all of these new houses, only in certain areas. That will increase density, traffic, hurt parking and increase pollution, all the things we complain about.”

City Manager King said of the upcoming SANDAG process, “We hope we get a lower housing number. But this is going to be a much higher number for Coronado in this cycle than ever before. San Diego can absorb housing units and not have that change the character and nature of their community. For us it would. I think we have shown that we have built our affordable housing units in the past. We are committed to meeting our housing obligations and we have met them in the past. We are a rules-following community and we have done our best. This is really tough, and things will change in the city. The federal government isn’t going to build Navy housing here. They will put it where it’s cheaper, further East or North. If we open it up and change our zoning, and build more housing units, they will be sold at market rates. That will make the median prices higher, our percentage of non-full-time residents will increase, and the construction will change the community.”

For the record, the vote by Jurisdiction on the motion to restore Coronado’s new affordable housing construction level to 1,001 from 808, found the following cities in favor of the increase: Carlsbad, Chula Vista, Del Mar, Encinitas, Escondido, Imperial Beach, Lemon Grove, National City, Poway, and San Diego. Voting against the motion were Coronado, the County of San Diego, El Cajon, La Mesa, Oceanside, San Marcos and Solana Beach. The cities of Santee and Vista did not cast a vote on the issue.

If you would like to protest the low and moderate income housing allocation assigned Coronado, Donovan recommended writing SANDAG Chair Steve Vaus, SANDAG Vice Chair Catherine Blakespear and SANDAG Executive Director Hasan Ikhrata with your thoughts and concerns. All written public comments must be received by August 21, 2019, at 5 pm to be included in the handouts provided to the SANDAG Board of Directors at their August 23, 2019 meeting. The SANDAG mailing address is 401 B Street, Suite 800, San Diego, CA 92101. Their fax number is 619-699-1905.

The next meeting of the SANDAG Board, where the RHNA housing quota will be discussed, is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., Aug. 23 at the 401 B Street address.

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