Del Mar appoints Housing Element Task Force members

Del Mar Civic Center
(Jon Clark)

The Del Mar City Council created a Housing Element Citizens’ Task Force to make recommendations on where to add new housing in the city as part of the state’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment.

The newly formed task force will hold public meetings biweekly through May, starting Feb. 6 from 3-5 p.m. at the Del Mar Civic Center.

Del Mar City Council members Dwight Worden and Sherryl Parks, who serve as the council’s housing liaisons, evaluated the candidates and recommended the seven residents who were selected.

“The recommended members bring a variety of perspectives and reflect geographical diversity within our community,” they wrote in a report to the council. “Some well-known names and some new faces are included. At least one member recommended by each councilmember is included.”

Don Countryman will also serve on the task force as a non-voting member.

Every eight years, the state RHNA process assigns a number of new housing units that each region is responsible for adding. San Diego County received an allocation of approximately 171,000 new units that must be added over the coming decade.

The San Diego Association of Governments created a methodology to divide those units among the 18 cities and unincorporated area based on proximity to jobs and transit. Del Mar is responsible for creating the zoning for 163 units across all income levels.

Some of the options council members have discussed to make room for more housing include affordable housing at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, accessory dwelling units that homeowners can add to their properties and adding residential zoning in areas that are currently commercial.

“I’d love to see us make a zoning change on the commercial area from Ninth Street down to 12th Street or 13th Street,” Del Mar City Councilman Dave Druker said. “I think that’s important we change that zone to allow more residential.”

Del Mar Mayor Ellie Haviland also mentioned looking into the issue of residential homes in the city that are used strictly for short-term rentals, which essentially removes them from the housing stock.

The RHNA final figures for each city are pending appeals that have been filed by the cities of Solana Beach, Coronado, Lemon Grove and Imperial Beach.

The city of Del Mar will have to submit its new housing element to the California Department of Housing and Community Development for approval by October.

“There are ways for us to bring our community into the future, meet our housing needs, and not substantially change our community in negative ways that our community is not going to like,” Worden said. “There are opportunities here for us to do this right and to have a vibrant, diverse community with people of varying income levels living here, and it’ll still be Del Mar and it’ll still look like Del Mar.”

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