Zito highlights SANDAG accomplishments, challenges ahead

(File photo)

Solana Beach City Councilman David Zito gave a brief overview of San Diego Association of Governments accomplishments from 2019, and one of the key challenges ahead related to new housing throughout the county.

Zito represents Solana Beach on the 21-member SANDAG Board of Directors. During the City Council’s Feb. 12 meeting, he mentioned some of the progress in transportation that SANDAG has allocated funding for, including approximately $600,000 through an Active Transportation Grant for Solana Beach’s Lomas Santa Fe Corridor Improvement Project. The project includes bike lanes, crosswalks and other street improvements along Lomas Santa Fe between Coast Highway 101 and Interstate 5.

SANDAG officials are also working on the draft for a regional transportation plan, which includes advancements for bicycling and public transportation, that should be available later this year.

“SANDAG is currently working on the grand vision and we should be hearing more about the draft transportation plan by the end of this year and how that may impact services in Solana Beach,” Zito said.

Zito also mentioned the Regional Housing Needs Assessment, one of the biggest challenges ahead for the SANDAG Board of Directors. The state’s Department of Housing and Community Development assigned 171,000 units of housing that San Diego County will be responsible for adding over the upcoming decade. The SANDAG Board of Directors approved a methodology that distributed those units among all 18 cities and the unincorporated area based on proximity to jobs and transit.

The methodology resulted in larger housing requirements for coastal cities compared to the numbers they received in past RHNA cycles. Solana Beach was assigned 875 housing units, a 157% increase from the 340 allocation it received during the last RHNA cycle. Many cities throughout the state do not typically reach their RHNA numbers.

“Unfortunately, we went through the RHNA process and ended up with what I think is a rather inequitable and flawed process and methodology with final allocation that was determined by the board,” Zito said.

A motion by Zito to shift some of the units away from the smaller cities was defeated by a weighted vote, in which a minority of big city and county board members can overrule a majority of their small city colleagues on the board.

Solana Beach is one of four cities that filed an appeal to SANDAG leaders in an attempt to lower their RHNA allocations. Cities have until April 2021 to update their housing plans to accommodate their final RHNA allocations.