San Diego Mayor touts progress in 'Homes for All of Us' plan
Speaker 1: (00:00)
The San Diego city council has approved a package of reforms and incentives designed to increase housing, construction, mayor Todd Gloria's homes for all of us housing package passed the council by an eight to one vote. The new regulations build on the city's efforts to make more construction possible in developed areas of the city. New I San would allow housing to be built on publicly owned land, near libraries and fire stations. It also makes it easier for employers to develop employee housing. Most city leaders applaud the moves, but some residents express concerns about how the new housing regulations will change their neighborhoods. And joining me is mayor Todd, Gloria, and welcome to the program.
Speaker 2: (00:43)
Thank you, Maureen.
Speaker 1: (00:44)
Now, what part of this package of reforms do you think will result in the most new construction?
Speaker 2: (00:50)
I believe the provisions that'll have the city comply with Senate bill nine. This is the statewide law around duplexes, uh, which the city is implementing through the homes for all of us, uh, package of reforms, you know, that has the 10 of converting some properties into duplexes. And in some cases, uh, quadplexes I think that's the kind of small scale density that is very accommodating in most neighborhoods in the city. Um, and now it'll be up to individual property owners, individual San Diegos, whether or not they choose to elect to do that. But there are a host of things here that, uh, you know, could result in significantly more. This problem is so large. It requires a package of this size with the many different provisions that are in it to hopefully drive change on what is the problem. Most Sandy has talked to me about the unaffordable rents, the unattainable home ownership and the rising rates of homelessness on our streets.
Speaker 1: (01:36)
Now, as I mentioned, part of your housing package, there's a measure to streamline housing that's part of city owned facility, like an apartment building with a public library on the ground floor, something like that. Do you have specific sites in mind for this program?
Speaker 2: (01:51)
Well, I think what this proposal results in is that every time the city moves forward with a branch library or a neighborhood fire station that will evaluate the site for suitability, for housing. You know, Maureen, when I was on the city count, I was extremely effective in building new fire stations and libraries in my council district. My only regret with those very important neighborhood infrastructure projects so that we didn't put housing on top of them. So in communities like mission Hills, where we have a beautiful new branch library, that's one story tall sits on Washington street, where there are buildings significantly taller than that. It was a missed opportunity to really leverage that P look asset, to create an opportunity where maybe the branch librarian that works in that library could actually live in the neighborhood that they serve. Uh, so going forward, I think we'll be considering every project we do for suitability for housing. And that's a good thing because we already own the land. And when you take that cost out of the development package, that can result in significantly lower rents, rents that working P people can afford.
Speaker 1: (02:45)
Uh, speaking about affordability, you said in your state of the city speech, that you want more new homes to be affordable for the middle class. Is there anything that would specifically require lower selling prices in your housing package?
Speaker 2: (02:59)
Yes. This proposal includes the notion of taking some of our affordable housing programs that apply for low income housing and apply those principles for middle income housing, 80% area media income to up towards 150% area media income. This is middle class wages that are the kinds of folks who don't qualify for low income housing, but can't afford luxury housing. What that would do would be to give developers the incentive to build those units and indeed restrict them, uh, so that we do actually see rents that are attainable for average people. Maureen, I also think things like Senate bill nine will create more naturally affordable housing. We can't provide enough public subsidy to create the amount of housing we need. And so allowing the market to bear this by building smaller homes that may have fewer amenities, but actually achieve home ownership. That's what's in this plan,
Speaker 1: (03:46)
Let's talk about Senate bill nine, which you've mentioned a couple of times. It, it of course changed single family zoning and allows up to four units to be built on those lots. But in this particular new city housing package, it won't out any granny flat incentives, any of the city's incentives to be used to develop those lots. Why not?
Speaker 2: (04:05)
At the end of the day, Maureen, what we want to do is make sure that we're producing more housing, but in the case of those subsidies that you're talking about, you know, many folks raise the question about whether or not those were appropriate. What we're saying is that we would waive development fees on the first granny flat, but on more than that, if someone's building two or more, that they would have to pay developer in fact fees, I think that's a reasonable, uh, modification to address some of the concerns that we hear from this proposal. That's really only been in place for a year, but this is a, I think reflection of my commitment to continue listening to the community and modifying, uh, our policies to match what we're seeing on the ground. Now that's a modest modification or in compared to the breadth of the changes that are in this proposal.
Speaker 1: (04:44)
And the ADUs of course, are the accessory dwelling units commonly referred to as granny flats, just for people who are listening. So just to be clear, would you say that not having the city incentives for granny flats in SB nine here in San Diego is an effort to slow development of multiple units in single family neighborhoods?
Speaker 2: (05:04)
I don't think so. I mean, I, I realize that every nickel counts, uh, when you're doing projects of any kind, but what we're saying is is that the production of these units in over the last year or so folks have raised the question about what are the impacts to the broader community and working with council, president ELO Rivera, uh, in a, of the members of the city council, they believe that when you have multiple units beyond the single one, that those can have impacts. And so we want them to pay their park fee, their fire station fee, et cetera, and we're gonna do that. And I think that that's a reasonable accommodation for, uh, these impacts and communities, but Maureen, I, I always wanna focus on the impacts that are often not quantified the impacts of families that are split up because the children or grandchildren can't afford to live in the communities that they were raised in the impacts when we don't have working class and middle class people to help staff our libraries, you know, check us out at the grocery store. The impacts that we often talk about are in terms of infrastructure and that's important, but this plan really is intended to really think about those often overlooked impacts that I think have the risk of really detrimentally hurting our economy and our quality of life.
Speaker 1: (06:08)
Another question about how new state laws will be adapted in San Diego, you'll soon be asking the city council to opt in to SB 10. And this is a state law that lets cities streamline the construction of apartment buildings with 10 units or less if they're near transit or job centers. So my question is, are you planning on applying this law to every lot that's eligible or are there some areas that you wanna leave untouched?
Speaker 2: (06:33)
We're still working on that policy? Um, we are going to include it in our a second package, uh, that I intend to bring before the city council later this year. But right now, you know, Maureen, the size of our housing affordability crisis is enormous. Uh, and I think that we have to be as open-minded as possible on accommodating this important piece of statewide legislation, Senate, bill 10 here in San Diego. Uh, but you know, there will be a public process. We will work with community groups, community planning, organizations, affordable housing advocates, and importantly, the city council to figure out what works best for us. Just as we have done with the state ADU laws, as we've done with Senate bill nine, we'll do the same with Senate bill 10, but it is my full intention to opt into this voluntary statewide program. And by doing so, the city of San Diego will be doing our part to address the statewide housing crisis. And I hope that other cities will follow our lead. I believe they will.
Speaker 1: (07:19)
Now mayor, do you have a number in mind as a target for how many new homes you'd like to see generated by the homes for all of us housing package?
Speaker 2: (07:28)
Well, Maureen, it's not so much up to me anymore. You know, the state through our regional housing needs assessment, uh, gives every jurisdiction a number to hit and we've been given a very substantial number to hit over the next number of years. We are currently zoned to produce those units. But what we see is that we need to provide incentives to actually create them. But Maureen, I think the question for me and what these policies we're advancing are intended to do is to make sure that we're not building only luxury housing that no one can really afford or, or just a handful of subsidized units for the very poor or amongst us. We have to make sure that as we work to meet our arena, target that we're building, working in middle class housing, one of the, I think important parts and most exciting parts in homes for all of us is an incentive for developers to build units that have three units or more for families in San Diego, who look around in, see a lot of studios, one in two bedroom apartments. They don't see a place for themselves here in San ago. And homes for all of us has an incentive to build more family style housing. So we will meet arena targets, but we'll do it with a housing mix that is much more reflective of the diversity of our city and send the message to people who are working hard every day, that there is a place for them here in San Diego.
Speaker 1: (08:33)
Do you have a timeline on how quickly we might see these new develop start? You know, the, the developments in, on public land, the developments for ADU granny flats to really start to add to our housing supply.
Speaker 2: (08:50)
That's tough to say because we didn't get into this problem overnight Marine, and we're certainly not gonna get it out of it overnight. Either. What I am is incredibly impatient on this matter. I recognize that the first the month comes every 30, 31 days and San Diegos are really caught in a bind. I take lessons from my experiences as a city council member, I worked for eight years to update the north park community plan. We got that done in my last city council meeting, uh, that I served as a city council member. And here we are about five years after that. And you're starting to see the development in communities. That's not fast enough. We have to do better, but suffice to say, you know, it's going to take some time, but what we have to do is give people hope. And when I talk to San Diegos right now, a lot of them don't have the hope that they can afford to live here, afford to buy a home, raise a family here. Uh, and that's, um, unacceptable. And what San have is my ironclad commitment to continue to work on this issue every single day, so that we can put a roof over everyone's head at a price that they can afford.
Speaker 1: (09:47)
I've been speaking with San Diego mayor, Todd, Gloria, and mayor Gloria. Thank you so much.
Speaker 2: (09:52)
Thank you, Maureen.
On Tuesday, the San Diego City Council passed a package of reforms and incentives designed to spur housing construction. It provided the mayor with a legislative victory in his fight to fix San Diego's housing crisis.
The suite of housing reforms and incentives are part of Mayor Todd Gloria's "Homes for All of Us" package, which he cited as a key priority for his second year in office.
Gloria joined Midday Edition Thursday to talk about why he thinks passing these reforms is so important to San Diego and the limitations of the reforms.
"It's going to take some time, but what we have to do is give people hope," he said. "And when I talk to San Diegans right now, a lot of them don't have the hope that they can afford to live here, afford to buy a home here, raise a family here. And that's unacceptable."