Del Mar addresses need for affordable housing

By Claire Harlin

With the development of affordable housing a major area of needed improvement for Del Mar, the City Council on Oct. 8 held a review and discussion on the city’s ongoing process of updating the housing element of the general plan.

The city’s Housing Element Advisory Committee is in the process of drafting an inventory, assessment, goals and policies that will proceed to the Planning Commission for review in November and possible adoption next spring.

In addition to meeting state requirements, Del Mar would like to use the housing element of the city’s general plan to be competitive for grants by planning for and producing affordable housing. However, the city’s lack of a housing element has earned the city no points under a San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) system that awards grants based on points.

Locally, about 25 percent of residents would qualify for housing, and any household income of about $64,000 or less is considered low-income.

The fairgrounds master plan includes a housing element to house fair employees, said City planner Adam Birnbaum. The city is working with fair officials to explore the possibility of making this housing permanent and count toward the city’s requirement. This may be a compromise considering the fair is a big employer of residents who may seek affordable housing.