San Diego County debt could halt affordable housing idea

Posted at 5:44 AM, Jul 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-18 10:33:36-04

SANTEE, Calif. (KGTV) - A push to add some much needed affordable housing could hit a roadblock Tuesday. 

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors could vote to put an 11-acre piece of land in Santee up for bid for more than $8 million. The land is currently used for the city's Fourth of July fireworks, but is currently zoned for up to 180 units.

The County wants to squeeze every dollar it can out of that piece of land - and two others nearby - to help pay off debt from building the Edgemore Skilled Nursing Facility nearby. 

"I kind of figured that was going to happen," said Greg Box, who lives next to the land, just west of Magnolia, north of the 52. "I knew this eventually was going to be developed."

The board was scheduled to approve putting the pieces of land up for bid late last month, but Supervisor Dianne Jacob asked her colleagues to hold off. She wanted to explore restricting the 11-acre parcel for affordable housing. She just found out that won't happen. 

"I took a shot at it," she said. "The staff has a good reason not to restrict it for that purpose."

A county spokesman says restricting it for affordable housing would devalue the land too much - meaning it wouldn't be able to pay down the debt on the nursing facility. 

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Jacob, who wanted to restrict that development to affordable housing for seniors, said not all hope is lost.

She said the county recently identified 11 other properties that could become affordable homes, and that it's creating a $25 million fund to help move those and other developments forward. These are the income restrictions for many affordable housing complexes

In all, the county could vote to put up three pieces of land, totaling about 40 acres for about $34 million. It could become nearly 1,000 new homes.

Jacob said she'll support placing them for sale with no strings attached.