Del Mar council supports potential ballot measure for more local control

Del Mar City Hall

Del Mar City Council members voted in favor of a resolution in support of a potential ballot measure that would provide more local control in land-use and zoning decisions.

The issue of local control has flared up recently with the passage of statewide housing bills such as SB 9, which allows duplexes and fourplexes on parcels of land that used to be zoned only for single-family housing.

The proponents of the ballot measure need to collect about 1 million signatures by May to qualify for the November 2022 ballot.

“This has turned into a groundswell of people realizing that with each incremental state resolution, SB 9 and SB 10 most recently, there’s been an undermining of local control of how to implement housing assignments and how to incentivize,” Del Mar City Councilwoman Terry Gaasterland said.

Supporters of SB 9, authored by state Sen. President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, have advocated for increased density to address rising homelessness and lack of affordability.

“The years-long housing crisis has had a deep impact on our state, and has contributed to overcrowding, long commutes, and undue disadvantage for lower-income families,” Atkins said in a statement in September, when the governor signed the bill into law.

Elected leaders at the local level have largely opposed efforts by the Legislature to rewrite land-use and zoning throughout the state.

“Their perspective on zoning law is one-size-fits-all, and we know that’s not true,” Del Mar City Councilwoman Tracy Martinez said.

Del Mar Mayor Dwight Worden said the recent state housing laws were like “a hand grenade from left field.”

“The Legislature at minimum should have said if you have a certified sixth cycle housing element, then you are exempt from all these other laws and you do have your local control,” Worden said. “But that’s not where we stand.”