San Diego Planning Depart. Using Outdated Population and Housing Projections for College Area’s Community Plan ‘Update’

by on April 26, 2022 · 4 comments

in San Diego

By Danna Givot

Last December 2021, SANDAG adopted Series 14 projections for population and housing growth through 2050. These projections take into account the latest California Department of Finance population projections. Despite the availability of these updated projections, the Planning Department continues to plan based on outdated, inflated data. This leads to unnecessary, harmful impacts.

For the City as a whole, the new SANDAG Series 14 data projects 132,000 less people living in San Diego in 2050 versus Series 13 numbers. That is 19% population growth versus 28% population growth previously expected.

SANDAG Series 14 projections are available by community planning area, where the differences versus Series 13 can be huge.

The College Area is a great example.

The Planning Department is using a SANDAG Series 13 projection of 49,000 people in 2050, while Series 14 data projects 34,000 people – 15,000 or 31% fewer.

For housing, the outdated Series 13 projections call for 18,000 total units, while the Series 14 data calls for under 14,000 units – a decrease of 4,000 housing units or 24%, which even alleviates a substantial amount of overcrowding.

To make matters worse, the Planning Department has proposed two plans for the College Area which include 10,000 and 20,000 new housing units while the Series 14 data project the community will only need an additional 5000 housing units in 2050 on top of the 8,700 units they had in 2020.

The Planning Department is producing plans based on inflated, outdated projections and overreaching even those goals.

The demographic projections are also significantly different. The outdated Series 13 projections expected almost 13,000 children 0-19 in 2050, a 110% increase over 2020, whereas the current Series 14 projections are for 8600 children, only a 9% increase over 2020.

Would you budget for 2022 based on 2013 information? Of course not. A data-driven government would use the most recent information available.

The Mayor’s Planning Department must “update” community plans based on the most accurate projections available!

Danna Givot is an El Cerrito resident active in neighborhood zoning and quality of life issues

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Lorna Zukas April 26, 2022 at 12:50 pm

Thank you for this very visual representation and description of what is wrong with city planning in San Diego. The San Diego Planning Department urged by the mayor and supported by the City Council is attempting to up-zone neighborhoods to do away with detached family homes in its urban and suburban neighborhoods. The Planning Departments’ College Area Plan represents planned over development; there are some estimates that indicate a loss of almost three hundred detached homes to make way for multi-unit housing in the College area.

Neighborhoods are currently trying to deal with California’s ill-conceived new laws SB9 and SB10, with San Diego’s high-powered ADU bonus add-ons. City planning is driving up home prices. Nine percent of housing purchased in SD in 2021 went to investors, and it reaches as high as 17% in less affluent neighborhoods. It is 14 % in the College area. The Planning Department and city leaders are responsible for a relentless drive by investors to capture property and fill spaces with auxiliary dwelling units (ADUs) and apartment buildings. This process is turning spaces of home into spaces of wealth extraction. The City Council is pushing legislative changes that provide ever more incentives for developers to build, build, build. These developments are overcrowding neighborhoods with no additional infrastructure. It is not bringing promised affordable housing but adding small unit market-rate rental units.

The planning department’s failure to use current data in it community planning process is malfeasance. There is no excuse for using decade old data. California is losing population – San Diego is losing population. No amount of building inadequate, crowded rental housing will stop the outward flow of people.

The wonton destruction of detached homes in established neighborhoods to turn them into spaces for the extraction of profits from rental housing is not welcomed on such a massive scale by any community. The College Area Community Planning Sub-committee was working with the city a put forth a plan to increase housing density where it was needed along the main corridors and appropriate. These plans have been ignored.


Reader April 27, 2022 at 10:00 am

Where is the link to this info and where can one see it for all the planning areas?


Greg April 27, 2022 at 11:41 am

As you move toward the projection time horizon estimates tend to improve but we are still talking about estimates on a 30-year time horizon.

The point estimates should NEVER be used but should come with +/- ranges based on empirical prediction intervals and planning done based on conservative “worst-case” scenarios.

It doesn’t really matter that much whether they use Series 13 or Series 14 because the errors on these estimates are enormous because these kinds of estimates on 30-year time scales are impossible to achieve with low error.

Ya they should probably use Series 14 but it’s really not that big of a deal because the numbers have big +/- errors attached to them.


Paul Krueger April 27, 2022 at 6:31 pm

Thx much, Danna, for sharing your research with the public, and putting our planning department on notice that someone is watching them — and their “research” — very closing. This article is a huge public service.


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