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California's YIMBY Movement Is Coming To North County

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Organizers with the new "yes in my backyard" housing advocacy group in North County plan to hold a kick-off event Thursday.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 One reason, even middle class families are struggling to find houses they can afford in San Diego County is simply that we aren't building enough new homes to meet the demand. Developers complain. They face nimby opposition that's not in my backyard. Whether they propose new single family homes on the outskirts of town or denser infill developments, there's a new group called yes in my backyard, engaging in a conversation about how we can say yes to new growth without totally sacrificing quality of life. And the North County chapter of Umb is launching tomorrow night, spearheaded by Oceanside resident James Contino. So now this year and be movement is a statewide movement. And apparently you've been involved with San Diego's a emb movement for some time. What drew you initially to the group?

Speaker 2: 00:45 Yes, that's correct. So actually the way I originally found out about and bees and that group and what they're all about was actually the beginning of last year. I'm working on a political campaign in San Francisco. It was London breed, her election for the mayor of San Francisco. The can be group up there has a very strong presence. And I had never really heard of Umb is actually working on that campaign and election. I found out about UMB is and what they're all about. It really resonated with me. I found that there was a local chapter in down in San Diego and I immediately got involved.

Speaker 1: 01:20 So there is some different challenges I would say in North County. In terms of attitudes to new development, how would you say they challenge the differ from from the challenges and the city of San Diego?

Speaker 2: 01:31 Yeah, so some of the challenges, you know are the same at the, at the end of the day, you know, we're experienced a housing crisis throughout San Diego and throughout California in general, the conversations are, the things that are happening that are different up in north county are that north town, he's more of a suburb. So we're seeing a lot more, you know, single family homes being built, which is fine. You know, we do need more housing, but I think our challenge here in North County is going to be how do we have more infill development and more density, especially along transit corridors.

Speaker 1: 02:04 Well, how do you balance that sort of priority to put more transit long, the transit dose, which are mostly in the very coastal areas, those coastal communities, Solana beach and Sanitas, uh, where the residents are really very concerned about losing the, the character of their coastal communities.

Speaker 2: 02:22 Yeah, no, totally. Um, and I understand that argument. And just for example, like an ocean side, you know, the development, we are saying they're building a brand new, I don't know if it's either a hotel or a timeshare. It's, you know, right by the pier and you know, that got approved by city council and that's getting built pretty fast. So I don't understand why we can't be putting that same amount of energy and effort towards building housing that serves the actual community of San Diego and not the tourist. Um, and you know, generating just tax dollars.

Speaker 1: 02:52 So the, there is this balance between commercial. Um, I mean, are you suggesting that the city should be putting density along the coast there, right along the coast by the pier even?

Speaker 2: 03:03 Well, not only that, but I would say that they need to have the same amount of excitement and energy towards projects like that, not just towards catering to new business and potential new business projects like that.

Speaker 1: 03:16 Now there's another big development that was very controversial in, in north county, the North River farms that would have put hundreds of new homes right there on the edge of town and sort of an agricultural area. Would you have supported that or not?

Speaker 2: 03:28 That is a project that's very interesting. You know, the opponents want to say it's sprawl. I don't necessarily agree with that. Like I said before, we have a housing crisis and the housing issue, that's not density, but we really do need those homes. Um, not only in ocean side but for the overlapping communities in general. So that's a project that I feel like we need to support. And also by supporting that project, it then opens up the door for more projects in the future to be built.

Speaker 1: 03:57 But are there any conditions that you would put on developers before you just basically said yes.

Speaker 2: 04:03 Well, I mean, yeah, we just don't want to say yes to everything. Everything. I mean, you know, you want smart growth as well.

Speaker 1: 04:10 Can you give me some ideas of things that you might have felt, you know, held to develop his feet to the fire about on that project for example?

Speaker 2: 04:16 Oh yeah, absolutely. Like I mean, so that project who Taylor is not really close to a transit corridor. I mean, so that would be one thing that ideally would be nice. Also just you know, how many units or houses are going to be built that are affordable versus market rate. That's another thing that's a whole nother discussion is affordable housing. We're just trying to get more housing in general built. But affordable housing would be another thing. But I would kind of press them to build a certain number of affordable units.

Speaker 1: 04:46 And of course a lot of the resistance comes from people's concerns about traffic and the fact that they are already having a hard time getting from a to B. So how would you respond to people who have those concerns?

Speaker 2: 04:57 My personal opinion on that is the traffic is already there. Either way. I really don't see how a couple of hundred more homes is gonna make a huge difference in your daily commute.

Speaker 1: 05:06 And what do you think about this dilemma about whether to build out, uh, places like Lilac hills that there'll be on 15 versus in, do you think that human beings should be more open to housing and both of those places or where would you stand on that? Yeah, absolutely.

Speaker 2: 05:22 And this is where I think kind of like the North County group is going to be a little bit different than the San Diego group and it's for a variety of different reasons. I mean, so number one, um, the North County Jimmy Group, we're going to be a non partisan political group. So ideally, you know, it doesn't matter, you know, Republican, Democrat, whatever your political ideology, it doesn't matter. We want you to kind of join the conversation, share your opinion and your story on housing and what you think. And you know, North County is more suburban, there's a lot more space. So the projects that are currently being built are the largest single family homes. So let's maybe say yes to some projects that aren't perfect and we don't think are the best, but dovetail that into, you know, more density and future projects that kind of mimic what ideally we would like to see.

Speaker 1: 06:11 Okay. So working on changing public attitudes to new development and a James where, where is in fact this meeting that you are holding to, uh, invite new members

Speaker 2: 06:20 tomorrow is going to be our first official meeting is going to be at Bagby beer in Oceanside at 6:30 PM.

Speaker 1: 06:28 James, thanks so much for giving us your perspective. Awesome. Thank you for having me.

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Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon host KPBS Midday Edition, a daily radio news magazine keeping San Diego in the know on everything from politics to the arts.