San Diego Planning Commission Chair: ‘SB 10 is fatally flawed’ — Decision Put Off Until August

by on June 2, 2023 · 25 comments

in Ocean Beach, San Diego

After a 5-hour hearing Thursday, June 1, on Mayor Todd Gloria’s Housing Action Plan which would incorporate the implementation of Senate Bill 10, the San Diego Planning Commission decided they needed more time to evaluate the proposal and voted to take it up again on August 3rd.

Senate Bill 10 was the prominent source for debate in council chambers during public comment. The most significant criticism of the bill by far was that it becomes irreversible once the City opts in.

CBS8 reported:

About 70 people filled council chambers in addition to a few dozen who called in over the phone, and while the majority spoke out against SB 10, a handful of supporters showed up too.

Council Chambers, meeting of San Diego Planning Commission, June 1, 2023. (All images are screen grabs)

NBC reported:

Dozens of people took a stand at the city’s Planning Commission meeting as they discussed the potential high-density developments coming to San Diego neighborhoods if Senate Bill 10 is implemented.

Planning Commission Chair Bill Hofman

Several commissioners, including Chairman Bill Hofman, voiced reservations about how the state bill would be implemented. Hofman stated:

“I think SB 10 is fatally flawed. I don’t think that was a good piece of legislation, especially the permanency.”

Neighbors for a Better San Diego — the main organization that has mobilized San Diegans against Senate Bill 10 — summarized its observations of the hearing in an email to its thousands of members:

In all, there were over 850 comments submitted, with almost all of them opposing SB 10.

The commissioners had many reservations about SB 10 and several shared our concerns about the size and scope of it.

Some commissioners wanted SB 10 removed from the Housing Action Package completely, while others asked for revisions before making a final decision. In the end, the Planning Commission asked to continue the Housing Action Package until August 3rd.

Here are some quotes from people who attended and who were opposed to Senate Bill 10, as reported by local TV stations:

One unnamed resident:

“Gone will be views of the sky, the sun blocked ou. Gone will be any sense of tranquility. Gone will be any sense of community. Gone will be any sense of public safety.”

A Talmadge resident:

“The historic districts in Kensington and Talmadge were discussed in the 1998 community plan, they have been in the offing for a long time. You as a commission should have no part in this. If you personally believe in local government that is democratic and representative current and future, you should not support SB10.”

Danna Givot at the podium said:

“High density randomly dropped into neighborhoods, minimal setbacks of 4-5 feet, and massive building volumes out-of-scale with the neighborhoods they’ll be dropped into.”

“Once a parcel is designated as eligible for Senate Bill 10, it can never be zoned for less density, so never, that’s the kicker in all of this.”

Geoff Hueter, Chair of Neighbors for a Better San Diego stated:

“The exclusions for SB 10 developments are very, very minor. What’s an urban area? If you have neighbors on either side of you and a street in front of you, you’re in an urban area, and you qualify.”

Dave Nicolai, a resident of El Cerrito, feels Mayor Gloria’s plan isn’t the right approach:

“It’s just going to pack ‘em in and see how much they can fit. It’s haphazard development. This stuff belongs on transit corridors, not in single-family neighborhoods.”

News sources:



{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris June 2, 2023 at 3:51 pm

Overheard today from a young pro SB10 couple inside of Harland Brewing tasting room in South Park. Wife to husband: “I am sooo frustrated with all this being pushed to August. These older homeowners need to die off or have strokes.”. Husband: Historical neighborhoods need to be exactly that. Demolished and left to history”.

Gotta love beer fueled conversations lol.


Vern June 3, 2023 at 6:55 am

Calling BS.
Video and/or audio or it never happened!


Will June 3, 2023 at 8:42 am

That is an unfortunate comment about destroying old communities. I am only throwing this out there since the Rag is amazing for being the open forum it is, single family zoning has led to an increased reliance upon cars by separating people from businesses and places of employment. Then there is lack of efficient land use that sprawls us out, necessitating more cars and longer commutes.

You also have the housing scarcity issue as well. If the economics are there to build denser housing at a point in time when we desperately need more housing how could we not? I’d be more worried about limiting luxury housing. I know people get upset about traffic and parking, but endless automobiles are unsustainable regardless due to their inefficient use of public space. Add a lane, build a parking garage; you will never solve the puzzle of automobile traffic as whatever we build will induce people to fill it in with more cars. We obviously do not have endless space. Outside of another pandemic, we will not solve car traffic.

That couple at Harlan, as crude and well-lubricated as their thoughts were, hit upon a point. The boomers could also be called the “I got mine” generation. They lucked their way into creating a scarce housing market after purchasing low cost homes in the most desirable areas that did a poor job of utilizing available land as it was abundant at the time. Now they have eye popping wealth in their houses due to a housing scarcity that manifested over time.

Traffic and homelessness are related and this is not something you can lay squarely at the feet of millennials. It is sad to see so many people of my generation locked out of owning property and setting their hard-earned money on fire once a month paying insane market rates for property protected from Prop 13. I am lucky enough to own property in OB that is XL teeny enough for my wife, daughter, and I to live in. I would love to see more of my friends not have to leave our region to start a family or have the opportunity to own property.


kh June 8, 2023 at 10:57 am

It’s one thing to debate density and upzoning vs urban sprawl…. but anyone saying we are running out of land needs to get out more.


chris schultz June 8, 2023 at 11:51 am

“single family zoning has led to an increased reliance upon cars by separating people from businesses and places of employment. Then there is lack of efficient land use that sprawls us out, necessitating more cars and longer commutes.”

Yes, when there was open spaces for developers to profit, places like Eastlake were created. After years of infill, Temecula was created. More sprawl. Now there’s no more room. Now with Gloria’s proposals, go look at prices per square foot for single family homes under 1500 sq ft vs properties over 1500 sq ft. A smaller house on a lot that can be up sized to more rental units. Not owner units, rental units. SB10 takes single family homes out and developers make them investment properties. Complaining about boomers is foolish. Claiming the group as a whole, is lucky, is even more foolish. Trashing the neighborhood, to fit more people RENTING in less space with no additional parking is not a solution. The stadium site would have been good, but the city took the easy way out with SDSU. Look towards failing commercial areas to revitalize.


chris schultz June 9, 2023 at 10:07 am

I’m taking bets on the most recent single family home to go pending in my area. 1534 Sq ft on a 9000 Sq ft lot @ $668 per Sq ft. Near many other ADU developed properties.


chris schultz June 9, 2023 at 10:49 am

One last observation. One example. The old Frys by the stadium. Dead commercial near shopping. Very close to put in housing.


Tessa June 3, 2023 at 8:54 am

Some of my friends in OB were lucky enough to buy small homes when they were affordable. Do I want them to have to live next to monster complexes next door that would ruin OB? Absolutely not. Fine if high rises and multiplexes get put downtown- that’s where they belong. I feel lucky to rent a tiny cottage here. Why be resentful of others’ good fortune and timing?


Smart June 3, 2023 at 9:01 am

The proposal for SB10 implementation has a height limit of 35′ or 30′ if in the coastal height limit zone, so no towers are large development as opponents have purported. The representations of the opposition are mostly not based in reality. There are mansions in Mission Hills and La Jolla and elsewhere far larger than any potential 8 unit home complex. This seems more about more well off people not wanting to live near renters in the end, that is it.


kh June 8, 2023 at 10:53 am

The 30-ft height limit is already being litigated in PB, where a developer is arguing the state density bonus laws supercede it. I think they have a winnable argument unfortunately.


Deb Porter June 3, 2023 at 9:47 am

A comment from June 1 Planning commission hearing: “this package will provide San Diego ‘protection from an oversupply of parking’ “. First time I have EVER heard that term. Never knew that was a problem.


Deb Porter June 3, 2023 at 9:50 am

In neither of the TV reports do they mention the number of people who tried but failed to witness the meeting via zoom but could not do so due to technical problems. Also that they made the first audio statement at 9:15 not at 9AM, eclipsed many potential listeners.


Paul Webb June 3, 2023 at 1:54 pm

I’m a little tired of comments regards boomers being “lucky” and therefore causing the housing crisis. I worked hard to get a down payment together at wages much lower than current wages and had to pay almost 11% mortgage interest, with a 1% pmi charge to boot. The last 10 years have provided a buying opportunity I wish I could have had.


Chris June 3, 2023 at 7:21 pm

If there’s one thing I’ve learned as someone at the tail end of “boomer”, you just have to take some of these accusations with a grain of salt, regardless of how discriminatory they can be.


Will June 4, 2023 at 7:50 am

I was not trying to use the word boomer in a discriminatory sense, but recognizing the different circumstances each generation faces. If you bought a house with an 11% interest rate that was probably in the early ‘80s. I have a former coworker that bought a place in bay park around that time and pays property taxes as though his home is valued at $78,000. That figure is probably about 4 years old so it may be slightly higher now. He purchased this as a public school teacher while his wife stayed home to raise their daughter. Try imagining that scenario in the modern day. It is unfortunately laughable. Tom got lucky with timing of the housing market and doubly lucky with a sloppy law written to protect people from taxes. True, the law was made to protect those homeowners on fixed incomes and other economically vulnerable homeowners, but it also makes your tax burden the highest when a home is first purchased. This was precisely when I was most economically vulnerable and makes for another high hurdle for first time buyers trying to buy a house who pay disproportionately higher taxes compared to the broader public.

I don’t mean to malign boomers. I get annoyed at a lack of recognition for their extremely fortunate circumstances and self-perceived victimhood. Millennials are not perfect either and I would gladly laugh with you at my generation’s flaws, both real and perceived, but you also have to recognize we have severe barriers to homeownership, and even renting, that previous generations have not encountered (except of course non-white people for the first 200+ years of our nation’s history).


Chris June 4, 2023 at 11:11 am

I wasn’t you are being discriminatory. Nothing you’ve said gives me that impression, but there are in fact a lot of people in your generation and even among many Gen Xers that do have a blanket disdain for boomers. And yes a fair amount of it is deserved, but it can go overboard.


Paul Webb June 5, 2023 at 9:21 am

Will, you have to live in the era in which you live, and you have to deal with the conditions of that era. This is something that the “aging boomer homeowners were lucky and are screwing us out of cheap housing” crowd fails to recognize.

I could look back with the same kind of bitter condemnation of the generation that preceded mine, but what’s the point? The generation of white men that were too young for the Korean War but too old for Viet Nam could be looked at as having it made, just by virtue of when they were born. They didn’t have to face the fear of dying in a foreign war. They didn’t face competition for elite schools or good jobs from women. I won’t even talk about blacks and other minorities effectively being shut out of the education/jobs/housing markets. The silent generation basically just had to show up and reap the rewards. Does that justify condemnation? They were just taking advantages of the world they lived in, and, in some cases, were trying to change the world to one that was more just, equitable and sustainable.

There are so many things that we of different generations can agree on. Prop 13 was and continues to be a major mistake that does benefit homeowners that have kept their homes, but actually provides an even greater benefit to commercial properties. Land use policies in San Diego have contributed greatly to the cost of housing, and proper planning would have offered a much greater variety of housing styes that could have benefited households of all kinds and sizes, but that wasn’t what would have provided the developers the greatest profits. And I think that there is general agreement that there has been too little consideration of diversity, equity and inclusion in housing and in almost every other aspect of our society. So, maybe, we should work on those things rather than try to fight inter-generational battles that can’t be won.


Hunter June 9, 2023 at 6:51 pm

Will, I just want to tell you thank you. I have said similar things over and over again. Thank you for your articulated discussion. We have a lot to be thankful for in this generation. There are many advantages and good cards, but home ownership and sometimes rent in desirable locations is not one of them. It would be nice if the previous generation just acknowledged that. That is really all I want to see. I do not see that. Almost every conversation I have with the older generation is we spend all our money on avocado toast, eating out, etc. They use this argument of 11% interest rates on lower wages and the argument does not work. When you look at the median salary as a percentage of median shelter cost and compare those percentages from the older generation to today, the percentages today are significantly larger. Meaning the percentage of disposable income that goes towards shelter for melenials and the future generations is significantly larger than the previous generations. This is just math and a fact. It is what it is. Just admit it. That is all I have ever asked.

I will be fine. I will make good money and inherit money. Most of my friends and people in my generation will not be fine. It is what it is. I will have little lower, but vote for what I believe in. I will continue to charge below fair market value to the tenants in the rentals I own. If most owners did this, the world would be a fair place and more people would believe in capitalism. I honestly cannot blame anyone who does not believe in capitalism at this point. I certainly do not believe in it as much today as I did 10 years ago. To be clear, I am talking about the system we are using which in my opinion is corporatism, a crappy version of capitalism. I will continue to pray and hold out hope for the majority of our generation, but at the momment I have never had less hope in this country. Time will tell and I hope to look back on these words with a feeling of relief.


chris schultz June 10, 2023 at 1:53 pm

Are you offering Will a cheap rental or selling him a rental property. The older generation likely has children and very well knows what the very same issues are for them. SB10 and Gloria’s developer rental vision is the wrong way to go.


Vern June 10, 2023 at 9:05 pm

No on SB10!


Paul Webb June 3, 2023 at 2:12 pm

Oh, and I’ve known Bill Hofman fordecades. For him to come out against a pro-development policy speaks volumes.


Frank Gormlie June 3, 2023 at 3:34 pm

Is he a member of the well-known Hofman family?


Paul Webb June 3, 2023 at 4:03 pm

Don’t know. I know him as a land use and development consultant that has represented clients mostly in the Carlsbad/North County area, working mostly with large developers. Hence my surprise he is not enthusiastic about SB10.


Tom Cairns June 5, 2023 at 9:52 am

Growing up in Point Loma in the 50’s, most families had only one car, which the husband used to get to work. Goods were available by delivery—milk and dairy, bread trucks, fruit and vegetable trucks, ice cream trucks, Fuller Brush for cleaning supplies. Kids walked to school. Small community markets were scattered around before the big consolidated Safeways, Food Baskets drove out the food trucks. Then the shopping malls began impacting the neighborhood commercial areas, because people developed the wealth to buy a second car. And they were building wealth by paying a mortgage and not rent. It was not a time of instant gratification buying “stuff,” as George Carlin would say. Yes, Boomers profited from their parents, but it took 40, 50, 60 years. Can you and your children have the patience to wait that long?


nostalgic June 8, 2023 at 10:47 am

I borrowed an additional $8.58 from a friend where I worked to buy my house. I had cleaned out every savings and checking account, and the jar where I kept coins. I ate until the next paycheck on what my mother called “living off the fat of the land,” whatever was left in the refrigerator and cupboards. It was a different world. I wasn’t in the Harland Brewing tasting room in South Park.


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