Clairemont residents oppose high-density affordable housing plan

Posted at 8:13 AM, Sep 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-19 11:13:58-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Some Clairemont residents packed a planning group meeting Tuesday night to let San Diego County leaders know they don't want a high-rise building built in their neighborhood.

The county is planning to partner with an affordable housing developer to build several hundred housing units on the site of the sheriff’s department’s old crime lab on Mt. Etna Drive, near Balboa and Genesee avenues.

"The county has proposed over 450 units on a four-acre site. The only way you can do that is by going vertically," said resident Joel Pointon.

Pointon and dozens of others are worried about possible zoning changes that would allow for high density.

"This permit change will put out all the stops for what can be built at that location. It will also change dramatically the height restrictions within regions of Clairemont. We will no longer have a 30-foot height restriction," Pointon added.

County leaders said there are no details about size or height because a developer hasn't been selected yet, but they believe the site is suitable for affordable housing.

"If we look at affordable housing needs across the region, and we see the need for housing for seniors and veterans in areas where there is transportation and local amenities, this is a wonderful location for adding affordable housing units," said David Estrella, director of the county’s Housing and Community Development.

The county's plan is to partner with a developer to maintain affordability restrictions for 99 years. At least 50 percent of the units will be dedicated as affordable.

Neighbors said they aren't against affordable housing, but they are against packing several hundred people into a high rise.

"Any housing at that density would not be appropriate. Imagine what that housing is going to look like for that many individuals. There will be no green space, these will be vertical boxes and nothing more. I don't care what your income level is, I don't think that's an appropriate scenario, nor do I think that type of density can be sustained by the community," said Pointon.

The county expects to pick a developer this month with plans to open the units in mid-2022.