Mayor Kevin Faulconer pushes for cheaper homes in San Diego

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Mayor Kevin Faulconer Wednesday called on the City Council to pass several proposals that he says will help increase San Diego's housing supply, lover development costs and promote smart growth.

Joined by City Council members Georgette Gomez and Scott Sherman, as well as local housing advocates, Faulconer touted his "Housing SD" plan at a Wednesday news conference -- a plan that would address the lack of affordable housing that many San Diegans face.

San Diego is considered one of the least affordable markets in the country, city officials said, and more than 60 percent of San Diegans cannot afford to buy a home at the county's median home cost of over $500,000.

The mayor said, "We need more housing that people can actually afford and the changes we're pushing for are aimed at making that a reality. We want to put the dream of homeownership back within reach for San Diego's working families and the way to do that is by increasing supply and lowering costs as much as we can."

Faulconer wants "meaningful code changes to the Affordable Housing Density Bonus Program to reflect changes mandated by state law, and to further incentivize developers to use this housing tool to increase the production of smaller and more affordable units. San Diego's unique program will allow a developer to increase affordable units above the maximum density as long as the size of the building footprint does not increase."

Some proposed changes to the Density Bonus Program include:
-- Offering 10 percent density bonus for projects not going beyond maximum permitted building footprint
-- Allowing developers to be eligible for an incentive or a waiver even if they don't request a density bonus
-- Allowing for 100 percent density bonus for micro-unit production for projects not going beyond permitted building footprint

Faulconer also proposed incentives to developers to build smaller and more affordable units, ease regulations for live-work units and streamline the development review process. Other changes include parking requirements for developments built near transit centers.

He also suggested "implementing parking exemptions for designated historic structures" and "Changing ground floor height limits in mixed zones to 13 feet to allow for three-story buildings in 30-feet height limits."

Gomez, who also serves as chair of the Smart Growth and Land Use Commission, said, "It is important for us to use every tool available to increase the housing stock in our city. Easing regulations for development and finding creative solutions to encourage the production of more affordable housing is crucial. I look forward to working together with the Mayor on comprehensively addressing the housing crisis."

"This code update cleans up and streamlines the regulatory process and encourages developers to build more housing stock," said Sherman. "While much more work is needed to end San Diego's housing crisis, this is a step in the right direction."

The City Council will consider the proposed changes at its March 6 meeting.

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