San Diego County is moving ahead with home building, but it’s mostly higher end housing.

San Diego County is on track to deliver half of the new housing the state has called for to be added to unincorporated areas by 2029, but much of it is for middle- and high-income people, county planners told the Board of Supervisors in a progress report. Wednesday, March 15

New plans to build more affordable housing on the county’s surplus land will add more units designed for low and very low income people, bringing the county closer to its goal of housing residents of all income levels, officials said.

According to the Regional Housing Needs Assessment, the state’s formula for estimating how many housing units are required to meet regional demand, San Diego County must add 6,700 homes to its unincorporated areas by 2029. The county government is not obligated to build these houses on its own. but must establish policies that take them into account, said Rami Talleh, the county’s deputy director of planning.

By the end of last year, the county had already issued building permits for 3,337 new housing units, or about half of the total, said Lynette Tessitore, head of long-term planning.

These include 1,189 upper-middle income homes and 802 moderate-income homes, meaning two-thirds of middle- and high-income homes have already been added in unincorporated areas by 2029.

New housing in the unincorporated county also included 526 low-income housing units, or about half of what is needed in this category. But only 190 very poor housing units have been approved or built – just 10 percent of estimated demand.

To encourage the construction of low-income and very poor housing in the county, Tessitore said it is making it easier to build assisted living units, also known as grandma’s apartments, guest houses, or backyard cottages. The county waived fees for these apartments, provided floor plans, and adjusted zoning ordinances to allow homes to be built on single-family lot lots.

It also earmarked excess county-owned land for rent-restricted housing development and provided land to developers who will build more than 1,100 low- and very low-income housing units.

Last year, the county and the Metropolitan Transit Service announced plans to use more than 13 acres of land considered underutilized for new affordable rental housing.

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