Housing crunch persists despite massive projects

Posted at 7:41 AM, Apr 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-30 11:20:24-04

It's not too hard to spot massive housing projects being built around San Diego County right now.

But they may not be enough to provide little relief to the rising rents and home prices around the region.

A recent report from the San Diego Housing Commission said the city would need to build on average as many as 22,000 housing units per year for the next decade. But in 2017, only 10,000 units were authorized countywide.

"It's not so much that there is resistance to it, it's just the fact that it's hard to do," said Jeff Stevens, chair of the Mira Mesa Community Planning Group. "If you have to tear something down in order to build something else, it takes time and money."

Some of the city's larger projects are in Mira Mesa - where Casa Mira View will have about 2,000 apartments when complete.

And to the west at Hansen's Aggregates, a quarry that runs through Carroll Canyon, Shea and Lennar are planning to build what's called 3 Roots. The complex would have 1,800 units - including 186 single-family homes, 981 condos, and 633 apartments (180 of which will be affordable). The complex is about to go through environmental review. 

Still, residents are already expressing concerns over impacts like traffic.

"I want people to have affordable housing, that's very important. And also we want the contractors, subcontractors to have jobs, and growth is always important. But they need to think it through first before they do it," said John Svelan, a longtime Mira Mesa resident. ,

Stevens said his board has reacted positively to 3 Roots, which would extend Carroll Canyon road. 

Another complex is being proposed over at Vulcan Materials for about 4,500 homes, but that's further away. 

The city of San Diego recently approved a series of development incentives, including density bonusses for micro-units near transit areas, that it hopes spurs more building. 

Lynn Reaser, chief economist at Point Loma Nazarene University, said it may take 15,000 new units per year just to stabilize the market. Meanwhile, Alan Gin, economist at the University of San Diego, noted that the region added 27,000 new jobs in the last year, increasing the demand for housing.