Proposal by Mayor Gloria Will Allow Developers to Build Affordable Housing Off-site Which Would Lead to ‘Redlining’

by on November 10, 2023 · 19 comments

in San Diego

There’s a strong move afoot by Mayor Gloria to give developers even more incentives in building affordable housing as it supposedly would give developers wider flexibility.

There’s  just one catch: Gloria’s proposal will allow developers to build affordable  housing off-site and in poorer communities. This will lead to a new type of “redlining” say critics of the proposal and will reduce economic diversity across the city.

Here’s how Will Huntsberry of the Voice of San Diego explained it:

The current law, known as Complete Communities, allows developers to build much bigger and denser projects – if those projects include a certain portion of on-site affordable housing.

Requiring the units to be on-site was a big deal back when the law passed in 2020 under former Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer. It was tougher than many state laws. Supporters argued that on-site affordable units ensure economic diversity across the city and lead to fewer poor people being displaced from their communities.

Gloria’s proposal has passed the city’s Planning Commission and land-use committee. It and other parts of Complete Communities will be coming before the full City Council on Monday, November 13 as part of his Housing Action Plan 2.0.

City Councilman Joe LaCava has been a sharp critic of the off-site proposal, and back in February said this:

“There is no doubt that the push for off-site affordable housing as a part of Complete Communities is a backdoor way to bring back redlining and poor doors. People should be embarrassed to introduce that idea.

If you want to go for off-site housing let’s change the name to incomplete communities.”

LaCava compared it to redlining – a historic practice that often kept Black and Latino people out of white neighborhoods. It has been partially outlawed.

LaCava said he would “vehemently” vote against changes to the on-site requirement. But in September’s land-use committee meeting, LaCava voted to approve the changes and send them to the full City Council.

The group Neighbors for a Better San Diego also oppose Gloria’s proposal. They  have issued an alert for Monday’s meeting and said this:

The most significant element in HAP 2.0 is the proposed change to Complete Communities Housing Solutions, which would:

    • move required affordable units offsite to much less desirable locations — this change will reinforce San Diego’s patterns of geographically separating housing by income and will no longer promote “complete communities.”
    • eliminate requirements for building units at lower income levels — these proposed changes blow apart the arguments of equity, inclusion, and opportunity that were used to justify the enormous density bonuses that are permitted under Complete Communities.
    • allow 2-4 more stories of development on future projects — for a total of 8 to 12 stories scattered throughout San Diego neighborhoods

Huntsberry at the Voice explained the issue:

Usually, if a developer wants to build an apartment building, they can only build as many units as the parcel’s zoning allows. Given the city’s housing crisis, city leaders wanted to change that back in 2020. They developed the Complete Communities plan. It allowed builders to build as many units as they wanted, as long as their plan included a certain percentage of affordable units and the development was near public transit. It also allowed them to undergo a less stringent permit approval process.

The law did spur development. As of April 2022, 14 projects under the plan had been approved. Those projects accounted for 864 housing units – 211 of which were deed-restricted as affordable to low or very-low income residents, KPBS reported. …

The proposed changes rely on the state’s economic opportunity zone map to decide where off-site housing can and can’t be built. The maps divide up neighborhoods based on income level, as well as other factors. Neighborhoods are divided into five different categories from “highest resource” to “high segregation and poverty.”

The changes would force builders to develop off-site, affordable units in any one of the three highest income areas: “highest,” “high” or “moderate.” That means if a new development is going up in a “highest” resource community, like say, La Jolla, the required affordable units could be built in “moderate” resource communities like Linda Vista or Golden Hill. …

The change would also mean that a development going up in a “low” resource area like Logan Heights or Chollas View would be required to put its affordable units in a different neighborhood rated as “moderate” or higher.

Under the proposed rules, developers would essentially be able to pool their required affordable units with other developers into larger affordable housing developments.

Critics also point out that the changes could lead to affordable units being built at a lower quality. Under the current plan, developers must build on-site affordable units to the same standard as each of the other units on a project. The new rules would allow affordable units to be developed at a different standard.


{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

chris schultz November 10, 2023 at 1:17 pm

Meanwhile we pay higher water and electricity rates. Think this will go down bc of construction? No.


Joni Halpern November 11, 2023 at 10:23 am

Let’s look at the facts. Every housing project in the portions of San Diego that can be considered affluent or wealthy can yield maximum market-rate rents for a developer. Adding market-rate units in a city that contains part of the “American Riviera” can only increase profits. So first things first, the developers gain the right to build hundreds and later thousands of new units, promising to help the City accommodate households up 60% Area Median Income (AMI), or 80% AMI, or preferably 120% AMI. Developers get very advantageous permissions (limited, if any, parking, fees, or other requirements) that limit up-front costs. Then they allocate a few units to “affordable” status. But they don’t want the cleaning ladies, the child care providers, the caregivers, the working people who work for wages low enough to help the market-rate renters sustain their households. The developments proliferate, but San Diego NEVER makes a dent in the massive backlog of units needed to house the individuals or families with low incomes. Households with two persons making low wages, elderly people with small fixed incomes of Social Security or small pensions, disabled persons on fixed incomes — none of the existing developments constructed under the easing of building requirements will ever address the needs of these persons.

Yet these persons are an essential part of our city, our communities, our family lives. Instead, we will place them in little ghettos that we now create just for them. They are worthy to take care of our beloved family members, worthy to enter our houses to fix the things we want fixed at a low price, worthy to enter our private spaces to clean, but never to live next to us. And that is the bargain Mayor Todd Gloria has made with developers. Step 1 — give them latitude to build the maximum market-rate apartments. Step 2 — move the unwanted to spaces where they will not tarnish the optimum rental prices developers want to impose. I voted for Todd Gloria. But I will never make that mistake again.


paul krueger November 11, 2023 at 10:50 am

Thx very much for sharing this important info. The city council will vote on this issue on Monday afternoon, with the meeting starting at 2 pm. You can tell them your opinion in person or by phone, though the zoom link on the council’s agenda, on the city clerk’s website.


Paul Webb November 12, 2023 at 11:57 am

Kudos to Joe LaCave for opposing this change. It almost makes up for his knee-capping the community planning groups.


retired botanist November 12, 2023 at 5:26 pm

Joni,you nailed it! And its not just San Diego, this is a national, disgusting, state of the development “art”.


Chris November 13, 2023 at 7:23 am

This all reminds me of the conversation I had with some patrons at Inside Out on University in Hillcrest who transplanted fro Texas. “We’re not big fans of the less fortunate”. I guess for us who will ultimately be priced out need to know our place and not be a burden.


chris schultz November 14, 2023 at 11:44 am

Sorry to say, I sort of get that with we carve our own identity by what we do, our experiences, our paths we take, and the choices thereafter. But that’s life, and the choices we make outside of the environment we were born and grew up into dictate what we become. Others would want successful people to feel bad to achieve success. Is it my duty in life to make sure everybody succeeds in life like I do regardless of whether I approve or disapprove of your choices? At what point are we everything to everybody in these exercises about our differences throughout these postings? We want to be free to get the most, but if we don’t measure up, then we should by default get something that’s affordable with a solid base to settle with? At what point is it our own responsibility to stand up in a capitalistic world?


Chris November 14, 2023 at 12:42 pm

I don’t think anyone should feel guilty about their success or being able to enjoy the fruits of that success. My issue is people being priced out because of the spending power of others. I don’t think it’s right someone lives where they live and now can’t afford it because people with higher means move in.


chris schultz November 14, 2023 at 12:58 pm

Well that’s with comes with the territory. Not meaning to sound callous, but where do you draw the line in supply and demand?


Chris November 14, 2023 at 2:45 pm

It may be the reality but it doesn’t make it right. And it’s gotten to a point where something’s gotta give. In the meantime, the better off. We’d to stop complaining about the less fortunate in this presence, even with safety at stake.


Chris November 14, 2023 at 2:46 pm

Let’s try this again:

It may be the reality but it doesn’t make it right. And it’s gotten to a point where something’s gotta give. In the meantime, the better off need to stop complaining about the less fortunate in their presence, even with their safety at stake.


chris schultz November 14, 2023 at 3:48 pm

Yes, let’s try this again.

But you live in a society of capitalism with supply and demand. So what is right? You just said, My issue is people being priced out because of the spending power of others.

People who live here you think they are entitled for relief when they can’t keep up? Is life fair? Just being honest with a hard question.


Billy McCowan November 15, 2023 at 6:40 am

Chris S – it has officially gone too far when you walk into your neighborhood bar and the local bartender has gone and moved to Laughlin, NV. You then find out the bartender has been replaced by the robot maid from the jetsons. And although a very nice robot, she keeps apologizing for screwing up your drink, “I’m sorry barstool number I57!” She says sadly. She wasn’t actually programmed to be a bartending robot but there is a massive surplus of maid robots since all of the homes were officially turned into air bnb’s. Finally a guy who’s probably the owner comes out and yells, “you can’t get any good help these days!” He also own 300 Airbnb’s on OB.


Mateo November 15, 2023 at 12:21 am

Chris and Chris Shultz,
You’re both the problem. By perpetuating the myth that other people are responsible for the politico-corporate monopolization of housing. Speculators have contributed to homelessness but infinitesimally so. REIT’s Real Estate Investment Trusts (Wall Streets Corporate landlords) have made politicians rich by paying off Todd Gloria, Toni Atkins, Gavin Newsom and sellout One Party Rule Dems to facilitate the unmitigated acquisitions of hundreds of thousands of 3&4 bedroom homes to create the “supply shortages” while they build hundreds of thousands of high density luxury apartments to manipulate the market. Blackstone owns 292,000 single family homes. Invitation owns 81,000 single family homes just in Orange and San Diego Counties alone. There are 192 publicly traded REIT’s (Real Estate Investment Trusts) on the NYSE, and another 24 on the NASDAQ do the math.

Glass Steagall provided a firewall between investment and commercial banking from the Great Depression to 1998 then CONgress eliminated it. This paved the way for the Troubled Asset Program implemented when the banks deliberately crashed the economic system and along with politicians got away with the greatest smash and grab in world history. We printed a trillion, legal provisions, tax subsidies and handed them the leverage they’ve continued to abuse for 15 years.

The media? Mums the word. Keep those $100 million Zillow, Redfin, Rocket Mortgage, Homelight, ad campaigns and billions more in campaign advertisements rolling in. KFMB, FOX, KGTV, KPBS, and KNSD perpetuate the myth regardless of the deleterious effect on Americans like Chris and Chris Shultz; ripping each other to shreds and further dividing our City County State and Country while the land beneath our feet is all but completely usurped.

Home ownership belongs to Wall Street, Sacramento, and Washington, DC.
Nearly 70% of all San Diego’s single home sales in the last 3 years have gone to publicly traded REIT corporations, private REIT corporations, LLC’s and developers. Today they’re unmitigated; thanks to the former Assemlymember Todd Gloria’s SB9 which is making him a fortune as our current mayor.

As a San Diegan I respect both of your opinions, however your misguided blame is the result of corporate media narratives and if we don’t all get on the same page “they” will continue to divide and conquer.


chris schultz November 15, 2023 at 9:23 am

LOL. I’m having a sidebar with Chris. As much as Gloria is a main problem, that doesn’t just make renting affordability magically go away. There is a web of conditions. Renting affordability, ownership affordability, personal decisions, developers, corporations, politics, infrastructure, utility and services costs, local and state decisions. I’ve brought up corporate housing and investment on this site in previous articles, also with short term rentals. I’ve pointed out how affordability in San Diego was a subject of articles here back in 2016.

Real estate investment, is a problem. Just not the one that cuts to the heart of the matter. Trying to stop bad policy from local government is the more viable course of action. Fighting corporations and state politics is another day by getting a foot hold with local policy.

My misguided blame?


chris schultz November 15, 2023 at 10:11 am

Oh hey, wasn’t even thinking of Newsome and his can of worms reparations he started. looks like they want land. From state Sen. Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, a member of the reparations task force and the Black Legislative Caucus.

“Reparations in its original creation was not about cash, It was about land. So I want to see how we can help African Americans who are descendants of chattel slavery who’ve never owned homes here in California or anywhere in this country become homeowners.”


Vern November 15, 2023 at 10:18 am

Recently, “…California beachfront land taken from Black family returned in ceremony…”


Billy McCowan November 15, 2023 at 7:11 am

It reminds me of the great toilet paper run of 2020! Except at the end of that we got to laugh at all the TP speculators sitting on their massive underwater inventory.


chris schultz November 15, 2023 at 10:03 am

Or after inflation, TP wound up being cheaper……in the end.


Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: