Permission for the construction of low-income housing in the city of

Del Mar has yet to make progress on adding affordable housing units to regionally distribute the state’s housing needs, but the city has issued building permits for most middle-income apartments and nearly all above-average apartments.

City planners provided the most recent housing stock data during a City Council meeting on March 20, as part of the state’s annual Housing Progress Report.

The Regional Housing Need Allocation, or RHNA, begins with the California Department of Housing and Community Development identifying a range of new housing units for all income levels to be built across the state to keep up with demand and population growth. Each region receives a number, and the local authorities in that region must approve the methodology for allocating this number to each community.

Del Mar received 175 housing units, including 12 low income housing units that the city failed to meet in the previous cycle, and a total of 113 low and very low income housing units. At the moment, a building permit has been issued for 61 of the 175 apartments.

“The city is also implementing various housing action programs to encourage the construction of affordable low-income housing,” said Adriana Jaramishian, Associate Planner, referring to incentives for privately owned housing units.

A key part of the city’s plan to add affordable housing is the proposed 50-plus affordable housing complex at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Negotiations between the two parties are ongoing with the aim of concluding a deal by April 2024. There is also city-owned land designated for affordable housing, lots that have been zoned to accommodate affordable housing, and a potential ruling the council will consider later this year to provide incentives for affordable housing.

Of the 27 housing units the city issued building permits in 2022, 26 are ADUs. All 27 are considered moderate or upper middle income units relative to the median income in San Diego County.

But the state does not have any rules to check if an ADU is being used as a housing unit before considering it as a housing unit in the RHNA process.

“We’re not allowed to ask anyone about how they’re using it, other than the fact it’s a living space,” Del Mar’s chief planner Amanda Lee said.

The current RHNA cycle runs from 2021 to 2029.

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