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San Diego Considers Changes To Affordable Housing Requirements

San Diego Considers Changes To Affordable Housing Requirements
San Diego skyline

San Diego could soon require affordable units in new multifamily rental projects if the City Council moves forward on proposals floated by Councilman Chris Ward Monday.

Ward wants changes to city rules that would require developers to incorporate units for low-income residents into their project or pay a fee, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

The city's existing ordinance, which requires 10% of units in new rental projects to be affordable, has gone largely unused since a 2009 state appeals court ruled against a similar set-aside requirement in Los Angeles. Such requirements were seen as an illegal expansion of rent control.

In 2011, San Diego added an in lieu fee for developers who do not incorporate affordable units into their projects. Those fees are used to provide loans and support affordable housing projects.

Under Assembly Bill 1505, one of several signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in September, the city could once again require affordable housing as part of new developments, Ward said. Changes to the city's rules could include affordable housing in projects allowed more density, those on city-owned land or those receiving public financial assistance.

Ward also wants more off-site affordable housing for projects that seek to meet the requirement that way or higher fees for those who opt to pay the fee rather than build affordable units. Under the existing rule, projects with 10 or more units pay a fee of $7.03/SF.