Report: San Diego can meet housing demand with needed changes

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - San Diego can meet the demand for new housing over the next 10 years, but will have to make numerous changes to codes and procedures to get there, according to a report scheduled to be presented by city officials Thursday.

A series of proposals to alleviate a housing shortage is scheduled to be announced by the San Diego Housing Commission and City Council members David Alvarez and Scott Sherman.

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Some of their ideas are to:

  • rezone areas around transit hubs to increase density, which could result in the construction of 47,000 to 146,000 additional units;
  • convert unused industrial zones into residential areas;
  • make use of vacant lots;
  • ease sometimes onerous parking requirements that sometimes make projects too expensive; and
  • encourage smaller unit sizes.

According to a staff report, the annual rate of housing construction has been well under half that of population growth over the past decade, creating a warped supply and demand situation that has sent costs skyrocketing. The result is that half of San Diegans can't find rental units they can afford and 60 percent can't afford to purchase a home, the report said.

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The report said San Diego will need as many as 220,000 new housing units by 2028, but if all the suggestions are carried out, that number could be met or exceeded.

"Given the solutions identified, the city of San Diego could target a sharply increasing housing unit production rate -- aiming for 16,000 units per year in three years, rising to 23,000 units per year in five years," the report said. "It should then aspire to maintain this rate through 2028 to accommodate expected population growth and clear its housing backlog."

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The report and proposals are scheduled to be announced at a news conference and presented to the City Council's Smart Growth and Land Use Committee.

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