State opens door to apartment buildings over 30 feet in San Diego’s coastal zone

A several blocks west of Interstate 5, in between Garnet Avenue and Rose Creek, an economical housing developer is proposing to create the unthinkable — a mid-rise household tower stretching well above the 30-foot peak limit which is been enshrined in the city’s municipal code for 50 decades.

San Diego Local community Housing Company is arranging a 60-unit, 60-foot-significant residential constructing, termed Rose Creek Flats, on a .4-acre website at 2662 Garnet Avenue in Pacific Seashore. The models will be deed-limited for reduced- and really reduced-cash flow homes, with some set apart for transitional aged youth and homeless veterans.

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The proposed advancement will be a four-to-five tale setting up that features an on-web-site manager’s device and floor ground prevalent spot areas for meetings, social actions, leasing and offices for supportive case administration solutions, claimed Marcela Escobar-Eck, who is the CEO of Atlantis Team Land Use Consultants and is advising the developer.

On June 10, the developer obtained the all-crystal clear from California’s Division of Housing and Community Progress, or HCD, to bust the community building peak barrier. Just a number of months back the task may perhaps have seemed unachievable.

Which is for the reason that the spot falls squarely within just San Diego’s coastal zone, which was recognized by a 1972 voter initiative preventing structures over 30 toes west of Interstate 5. The community law involves carve-outs for downtown, Nationwide Town and parts of Mission Bay, but has normally effectively managed the incredibly lower profile of San Diego’s beach front- and bay-adjacent neighborhoods. It is unique from the California Coastal Act of 1976, which protects land up and down the coast of California.

Rose Creek Apartments appears to be the very first challenge to check the restrictions of point out authority in the voter-defined coastal zone.

“The Condition Legislature can and does preempt neighborhood initiatives,” Shannon West, HCD’s head of housing accountability, wrote in a technological guidance letter shipped to San Diego’s advancement solutions division very last 7 days. West cited many years of scenario regulation and was agency in her selection. “The (30-foot peak restrict) progress regular conflicts with Point out Density Bonus Legislation and is void.”

The Rose Creek Apartments venture is continue to in its infancy. The Pacific Seaside home is presently house to Wasabi Sushi and its parking lot, and is still in escrow. The developer nevertheless needs to comprehensive at minimum 18 months of allowing and pre-progress work before the task can break ground, Escobar-Eck said.

San Diego coastal zone areas subject to State Density Bonus Law
A the latest condition willpower renders the voter initiative-defined 30-foot coastal height restrict void for qualifying housing initiatives with affordable models in some College Town, Halfway District, Pacific Beach front and South Bay neighborhoods, as highlighted on the map.

Yellow coloration-coded regions are zoned for multi-family members housing. Environmentally friendly shade-coded areas are zoned for solitary-spouse and children housing. Grey shade-coded regions are not zoned for household use.

(Courtesy, City of San Diego)

Of higher consequence, nevertheless, is language in West’s letter that states that HCD’s dedication applies to any qualifying housing growth that falls inside of San Diego’s voter initiative-defined coastal zone but is outdoors the state’s coastal boundaries. That means the determination extends to portions of University City, Pacific Seaside, the Midway District and the South Bay.

“It seems that a sizeable amount of land shares the similar particular qualities as the topic internet site,” West wrote. “It is HCD’s hope that the determinations produced in this letter could possibly serve to more aid the production of cost-effective housing in these locations.”

In other terms, San Diego’s coastal height limit overlay zone is no match for the condition — and taller condominium structures are inescapable.

“This particular viewpoint from HCD is incredibly very clear that the neighborhood voter initiative simply cannot supersede the Point out Density Bonus Regulation, which necessitates the metropolis to grant certain waivers and incentives for assignments that consist of affordable properties, absent very particular results that would warrant denial for public wellness, safety and welfare,” stated Heidi Vonblum, who is the director of San Diego’s setting up division.

The State Density Bonus Regulation, recognized in 1979, exists as an incentive for developers to create on-site economical units.

Less than the law, w
hich has been expanded over the decades, housing developments with at least 5 percent of units deed-restricted for pretty reduced-profits households, or all those earning 50 per cent or less of the space median cash flow, are entitled to develop 20 percent more units than what is normally permitted by neighborhood zoning legislation. The bonus grows to as considerably as 50 per cent for projects with 24 p.c of units established apart for low-income family members, or individuals creating 80 % or less of the area median money. The legislation contains further privileges for assignments that are 100 p.c economical and in going for walks distance of transit stations.

The median earnings for a spouse and children of four in San Diego is $106,900, according to the state’s 2022 list of cash flow boundaries for economical housing units.

The Pacific Seashore parcel in query is zoned CC-3-8, which means it is a combined-use zone that supports large density. The zone permits for a highest of just one dwelling unit for just about every 600 sq. ft of ton place, as effectively as structures as tall as 100 ft devoid of the coastal top restriction, according to the city’s base zone restrictions. The site, having said that, is located in a half-mile of a main transit halt, creating it exempt from utmost density controls, a city spokesperson claimed.

In the scenario of Rose Creek Residences, which is composed of 100 percent cost-effective models, the developer is entitled to erect 3 added stories or construct 33 toes better than the 30-foot limit with the state reward.

“This has the likely to be a true activity-changer,” reported Matthew Boomhower, who is the president of Southern Cross Home Consultants and a area land-use legal professional. “I consider this is a wonderful illustration of HCD’s new, really proactive approach saying, ‘We’re likely to push this (professional-housing) agenda and usurp neighborhood control.’”

Creating peak limitations in San Diego’s voter-outlined coastal zone have been an impediment to catalytic redevelopment in regions like the operate-down Midway District and overall housing generation, he claimed.

“We know that genuine estate in San Diego is highly-priced. So for a developer to have a undertaking and make it pencil, it gets to be difficult when you have got price tag inputs that are preset, and you have a challenging lid that limitations your skill to take gain of (progress incentives),” Boomhower mentioned. “It just became a ton simpler for (builders) to line up funds … due to the fact they can essentially do a adequate quantity of units to make (their jobs) work.”

The State Density Reward Regulation will be used at the city workers degree on a undertaking-by-job foundation, generating it tough to figure out the quick implications for San Diego’s 48-acre athletics arena web site.

3 improvement teams are competing to lease and redo the site with countless numbers of residences — many of which will be reserved for lessen-revenue homes — and a new arena together with parks and a combine of industrial makes use of. The proposals are banking on a do-in excess of ballot evaluate, slated for the November 2022 ballot, that if passed by a the vast majority of town voters would elevate the 30-foot peak restrict for the overall 1,324-acre Midway District.

The state legislation seemingly offers an choice path forward for residential towers on the sporting activities arena web page, while it’s not apparent if a developer would be suitable for a sitewide bonus that applies to professional enhancement this sort of as office towers or a sports activities amusement venue.