Solana Beach sends draft housing document to state for certification

By Claire Harlin

The Solana Beach City Council on Feb. 13 approved sending its draft housing element to the state for certification, as the general plan document is due for its mandated seven-year update.

The measure sailed through council discussion, in part because the state Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) sent the city a letter in December stating that the extensive document addressed all necessary statutory elements. That affirmation came after the city made a few modifications, such as including more encouragement of mixed-use development, as well as very low and low income units with more than one bedroom. HCD also directed the city to update floodplain guidelines to ensure there are no constraints on possible affordable housing sites and encourage development on the City Hall site and the parking lot on South Sierra Avenue where an affordable housing project has been proposed.

The San Diego Housing Federation (SDHF) submitted comments in regard to the city’s draft housing element, recognizing that Solana Beach added nine units of affordable housing for very low and low income households between 2003 and 2010, achieving 13 percent of its target for those categories under the state’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA). In comparison, the SDHF pointed out that the region as a whole attained 22 percent of its target.

The SDHF further urged that there be automatic parking reductions for senior housing to allow for more units on such sites; that accessory units (or “granny flats”) be considered as one of the easiest way to meet targets; and that affordable housing be given priority when developing vacant or underutilized land.