SAN DIEGO – San Diego City Council is set to vote on a plan which could add more housing near public transit, Tuesday. If approved, it could be a step forward to address the city’s affordable housing crisis, but not everyone is on board with the proposal.
Contention is building over a new proposal coined by the city called Sustainable Development Areas or SDAs. It’s a plan intended to solve the current housing woes while improving access to transit.
“People come up with a lot of reasons to oppose new homes, sometimes they’re good reasons, sometimes they’re not and I think all the evidence is we have a housing crisis we need more homes,” explained Colin Parent with Circulate San Diego.
If given the green light, SDAs would expand both the types and number of homes allowed to be built near a bus or trolley stop from half a mile to now a mile in walking distance, otherwise known as Transit Property areas. It gives homeowners along with developers an opportunity to utilize the City’s ADU Density Bonus Program to build more housing on their properties.
“We’ve got the trolley, we’ve got the coaster, we’ve got the sprinter. But one of the big challenges is that there are not a lot of people who are able to live or work near those big transit investments,” Parent said.
Geoff Heuter, chair of Neighbors for a Better San Diego, is raising an eyebrow.
“The city is looking at this as something where people who are living a mile far away want to take the bus, to walk down here to get on the bus, but our experience is people who live a mile away from a bus stop or a trolley stop are going to be driving their cars, they’re not going to take mass transit,” Heuter said.
The city’s planning director, Heidi Vonblum, in a statement to FOX 5 says the plan addresses two paramount tiers:
“The new definition of Sustainable Development Area aligns development with the City’s Climate Action Plan goals to expand housing near transit so more people can bike, walk, roll or take transit to their work, home, shopping and other places of enjoyment within their community. At the same time, it furthers fair and affordable housing opportunities in our city that desperately needs it.”
The concept of SDAS was brought to light in October of last year as part of the City’s Land Development Code Update. Council will meet Tuesday to vote on the proposal.