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Debate over affordable housing project in Del Mar continues

Posted at 5:51 PM, Feb 26, 2024

DEL MAR, Calif. (KGTV) — The battle over what should become of a vacant oceanfront property in Del Mar appears to be headed to court.

The address is 929 Border Avenue. It is roughly seven acres of land on the north bluff overlooking Dog Beach.

Jordan Latchford is a housing advocate and the policy chair with YIMBY San Diego County.

"Our coasts have been historically limited to just affluent and higher income earners, so this is a really great opportunity to offer coastal access to our low-income neighbors as well," said Latchford.

Latchford is a supporter of the Seaside Ridge Development project. The property owner and supporters of the project just filed a lawsuit against the city of Del Mar. It alleges that the city did not have a state-compliant housing plan when the developer submitted the application in 2022.

The suit goes on to say that under a California law called Builder's Remedy, the city must rezone the property and allow the project to proceed.

"The project is shovel ready, and so they went to the city of Del Mar and said, can you just rezone," said Latchford.

Del Mar Mayor David Druker says the city can't comment on a lawsuit, but the city was negotiating its housing element with the state when Seaside first submitted. The city is required by the state to provide roughly 113 affordable housing units. The mayor confirms right now it doesn't have any units designated as affordable. The mayor says the city is in compliance now with its housing element.

The city has said the developer's applications were incomplete. Seaside supporters say it would provide dozens of low-income and moderate-income units.

"That single mother who has three kids and just is having bad luck is able to live there," said Latchford.

Opponents say the development is simply too big and doesn't solve the city's affordable housing crisis.

”Low to very low-income units, that’s exactly what the city actually needs, and that is not what Seaside Ridge will provide," said concerned citizen Carla Echols-Hayes.

The mayor says the city has made an agreement with the fairgrounds to build at least 61 affordable units. During a meeting last week, The Del Mar Fairgrounds Board of Directors agreed to start negotiating with the city. It could be years before construction begins.

”I really don’t understand since the fairgrounds and the city of Del Mar are in negotiating for the types of units that Del Mar really needs to build," said Echols-Hayes.

A copy of the lawsuit can be found here.