Del Mar makes strides in effort to build affordable housing on fairgrounds property

By Claire Harlin

While it may be years for any clear plan or action to come forth, the City of Del Mar and the board that governs the Del Mar Fairgrounds have moved forward in their cooperative effort to develop affordable housing out of the 273 temporary groomsmen quarters located in the backstretch that have been used during racing season since the 1930s.

After months of informal discussions with the 22nd District Agricultural Association (DAA), the Del Mar City Council on Feb. 19 approved a


expressing its desire to initiate the partnership, which Del Mar officials see as a “win win situation.”

Councilwoman Lee Haydu, who has been involved in discussions, said fair officials have indicated that they will follow Del Mar’s lead in putting forth a similar resolution in order to commence

housing efforts on fairgrounds property


According to the resolution, housing is also a component of the

DAA’s master plan

, although officials say it is not as much of a priority for the fairgrounds as it is for Del Mar, which faces possible state reprimand if it can’t properly accommodate 71 new affordable units — 22 of which must be built at a density of 20 units per acre.

The City of Del Mar is amid updates to its

housing element

, which was previously rejected by the California Department of Housing and Community Development because it was

lacking parcels

on which low-income housing units could be built. In addition to making housing on fairgrounds property an option, the city has also proposed incentives for builders of second dwelling units (“granny flats”), as well as identified available space and

rezoning options in the north commercial zone

located along the San Dieguito Lagoon south of the fairgrounds.

City officials said that gaining a resolution from the DAA will help in getting certification of its housing element, which

was sent off to the state in January

for preliminary review.