Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

County ordinance update aids housing production and affordability

Shauni Lyles

County of San Diego Communications Office

The County Board of Supervisors has approved a 2023 Housing Zoning Ordinance Update that incorporates 21 state laws to help make housing more affordable and accessible for people experiencing homelessness.

The update will also focus on creating housing for people who have lower, moderate and middle-class incomes.

The update complements how the county is supporting housing production through:

• Innovative neighborhood planning efforts.

• Improvements to its approval process.

• The assessment of available land.

• The infrastructure needed to support housing in unincorporated communities.

The update allows the county to continue to weave equity into housing planning by making it easier to have accessory dwelling units in more places.

This combines with state laws to create more opportunities for first-time home buyers by allowing property owners to subdivide their lot to build small homes such as townhomes. Making it easier to build mid-sized multifamily housing developments of 3-10 units streamlines the process to provide housing options for unsheltered residents.

Supporting Families

Updating the local ordinance brings state and county rules into alignment, providing more clarity on the process.

The board approved going beyond state laws. New affordable housing can now be located one mile away from a major transit stop instead of a half mile.

Other pro-housing efforts through the county’s Planning and Development Services department that go beyond state law include:

• Making more housing projects “by-right,” which means removing steps from the permitting processes and reducing the time, cost and risk to develop housing in certain locations.

• Streamlining development of senior housing by reducing permitting requirements.

• Allowing for smaller homes that are likely to be more affordable through a small lot subdivision ordinance.

• Further streamlining the construction of accessory dwelling units.

• Developing an inclusionary housing policy that will produce additional affordable housing.

In May, the county also committed $14.5 million to carry out actions that remove barriers to housing production by saving time and providing certainty in the development process which include:

• Offering pre-approved plans for single-family homes.

• Accepting tiny homes on wheels as an approved housing option.

• Making it easier to get a building permit if you have a previously approved home design.

• Guaranteed approval timelines for the different types of housing and shelters.

• Technology changes that aid project tracking.

• More transparency, customer education, guidance tools and support.

The county continues to promote equitable access to affordable housing in all its programs and services to allow for stakeholder participation and environmental study, where required.

The board’s action is the result of extensive community input and engagement through webinars and outreach events on the new state laws included in this update.


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