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Faulconer To Veto Council's Affordable Housing Policy Proposal

Construction workers set up the framing of an apartment building in North Park, July 23, 2019.
Andrew Bowen
Construction workers set up the framing of an apartment building in North Park, July 23, 2019.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said Wednesday he will veto a proposal aimed at boosting affordable housing in the city, siding with developers and business groups who argued the proposal would do more harm than good.

City Council President Georgette Gomez had proposed updating the city's "inclusionary housing" policy, which requires developers to either subsidize a portion of homes they build for low-income households or pay a fee that funds affordable housing elsewhere in the city. Gomez's plan would have required developers to pay higher fees, or to more heavily subsidize the affordable units in their projects.

Faulconer To Veto Council’s Affordable Housing Policy Proposal
Listen to this story by Andrew Bowen.

The veto — Faulconer's first in 2019 — was first reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Mayoral spokesman Gustavo Portela said Faulconer agreed with concerns expressed by developers and business groups that the inclusionary housing update would slow down new home construction and ultimately lead to less overall affordable housing.

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"It is unfortunate that a final compromise couldn't be reached given the opposing sides were close to an agreement," Portela said in an email. "But the mayor remains committed to working with the City Council to enact housing reforms that will increase supply, boost affordability and promote smart growth."

Gomez's proposal passed the City Council 5-4, meaning at least one council member would have to change their vote to override Faulconer's veto. Council members Barbara Bry, Jen Campbell, Chris Ward and Monica Montgomery joined Gomez in voting for the measure, while Mark Kersey, Chris Cate, Scott Sherman and Vivian Moreno voted against it.

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The council will have an opportunity to override the veto at its Oct. 1 regular council meeting.

Gomez did not directly address the mayor's veto threat Wednesday, but called on him to "stand with all San Diegans that are struggling because of the skyrocketing cost of living."

"I want to thank my council colleagues that voted (Tuesday) to address the needs of those who have been left behind in the region's housing crisis," Gomez said in a statement. "Now is the time to use all the tools possible to develop more affordable housing to help those who are barely able to make ends meet."

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