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Making it in San Diego: Housing development faces push-back in Pacific Beach

Neighbors say proposed homes are too expensive
Posted: 5:00 AM, Jun 26, 2018
Updated: 2018-06-27 15:43:15-04

A housing development in Pacific Beach is facing push-back from neighbors, who say they'd rather see more affordable homes built in the area.

The Eco-Blok project will turn nearly an entire city block into environmentally friendly, single-family homes. The developer, Silvergate Development, plans to build 30 of them.

It will replace what used to be an assisted living center for people with mental disabilities. The plot of land is on Shasta Street, between Roosevelt and Fortuna.

But people who live nearby say the price tag on the homes will make them too expensive for any low or middle-income families.

"You're getting priced out of your own neighborhood," says PB Resident Sarah Shreves.

Tuesday, a group of neighbors will be at the City Council meeting, asking the city to overturn the project's approval and make the developers start over.

Architect Tim Golba's firm designed the project. He says the homes are designed for people who want to move up in the housing market, out of condos and into bigger homes. He says that fits the neighborhood better than another large-scale apartment or condo complex.

"The product we're delivering is so much more appropriate for this site," says Golba.

"As a firm, we're huge proponents of affordable housing," he adds while noting that the zoning laws in place when the project was approved would only have added two more units. He also pointed out that if they had done multi-family units, they would only have been allowed to build 24. 

New laws could increase the size of the project well beyond that number now, but Golba says they'd have to start over from scratch for that to happen.

The homes will be on 95x25 foot lots, zoned for single-family units. They'll have six different floor plans. Five of them will be 2-story units with three bedrooms and three bathrooms. The other plan is a three-story unit with four bedrooms. All 30 units will have around 1,600 square feet.

Similar homes in the area go for $1.1 to $1.5 million dollars each.

That has neighbors worried that people who work as teachers, civil servants and other middle-income employees won't be able to live in the community they serve.

"I'd like to see something that's a little more affordable and nicer," says Jake Vizzoni, who lives a block away. "I want a community feel, as opposed to this big complex."

Golba's firm says the project will foster community. They plan to maintain all of the current curbs and trees on Shasta Street. The developer will also add a provision to the deeds that prohibit owners from using the homes as short-term vacation rentals.

"It's kind of hard, but what's the solution?" asks Audrey Leonard. Her family has owned a home in the area for decades. "This is beachfront property, and it's beautiful here."