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Del Mar wants fairgrounds land to be used for affordable housing

Posted at 6:19 PM, Apr 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-05 21:19:28-04

DEL MAR, Calif, (KGTV) — A plan to build affordable housing in Del Mar has some people worried about possible zoning changes to the fragile bluffs.

Spencer Gobar helped spearhead the fight against Measure G, which would have built a luxury hotel on the bluff in Del Mar just north of Dog Beach. Voters rejected the measure during an election in March 2020.

"Just because the hotel got shut down, doesn't mean, oh yay, let's go put another huge, very dense construction project on that land. The whole point is to protect the land," said Gobar.

Del Mar City Council is under state pressure to meet mandates on affordable housing. The city must provide land for 163 units, including 113 considered affordable. Right now, the city has no units designated affordable.

"This puts the onus on the city to do something as quickly as possible with the fairgrounds because we know that the citizens of Del Mar are not looking forward to having the north bluff or south bluff rezoned," said councilmember Dave Druker.

According to Druker, the fairgrounds currently have 600 units for seasonal workers, but they are not up to code to be considered affordable. The city wants 51 units built on fairgrounds land.

"It's not the fairgrounds that owns the property, it's the state, and therefore, the state should be mandating that they use some of their property for affordable housing," said Druker.

The city and the fair board have three years to come up with an agreement. If that doesn't happen, the bluffs could be upzoned for high-density housing.

"Del Mar wants to comply with state mandates as best they can without having to modify our community plan a lot," said Druker.

Gobar is closely watching what happens and considering a fundraising effort to try to preserve the bluffs once again.

"When they talk about affordable housing, it's hilarious, this is not affordable land. Why would they even consider something like this? It's the most expensive land you could possibly find," said Gobar.

The land on Border Avenue off of Via De La Valle is currently zoned one acre per home.

Failing to meet the state's housing rules can lead to steep fines, loss of local control, and other penalties.