San Diego offers 10,000 new homes on 300 acres of public land

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Last week, San Diego officials announced plans to designate 300 acres of public land to build 10,000 homes much faster and cheaper to build than usual.

The land is divided for specific projects, pre-shared to accelerate funding and avoid neighborhood opposition. City officials will also speed up construction by creating prototypes of pre-approved buildings.

According to city officials, these efforts and the focus on large-scale projects (around 10 developments of 1,000 units each) will reduce per unit costs from the current $ 550,000 to around $ 300,000.

The ambitious proposals led by city councilor Joe Rakawa also include the creation of two special funds by cities: a public land trust to make housing cheaper and an infrastructure fund to overcome obstacles. ..

As the city took the initiative, LaCava stressed the need for cooperation from other government agencies that share the management of large public land.

Potential partner institutions he mentioned include federal governments, states, counties, transportation, public schools, and community colleges.

“We know that the current process by which cities and other public agencies develop public land is not as effective as it could be,” Lakaba told the Land Use and Housing Commission on Thursday. of the municipal council. Said. “We tend to work in silos and sell and develop properties one by one. “

Peckanga Arena San Diego

(KC Alfred / San Diego Union / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Authorities have not identified a specific location for the residence, but the properties of the city’s sports arena were mentioned as an example.

San Diego has 1,600 properties totaling over 120,000 acres, many of which are occupied by urban buildings such as parks and libraries.

A 2018 survey found that around 550 acres of city-owned land could be used for housing, but only 22 sites with a total of 54 acres were considered key locations. The list did not include sports arena venues.

This proposal could double the number of homes built each year in San Diego. This is a difficult goal required by state law.

San Diego will need to increase the number of units built each year (6,482 in 2020) to 13,500 to meet the state’s target of 108,000 units by 2029.

But Helmi Hisserich, a consultant working at LaCava, said the problem would certainly get worse given the number of low- and middle-income units.

In San Diego, households with an annual income of $ 15,000 to $ 120,000 will need 64,179 units by 2029, but typically 842 units will be built per year for people in this income bracket. She said.

The city needs to ensure that building units in its income bracket will be almost nine-fold, making ambitious planning for new housing on public land much more important, Hisserich said.

To ensure the project effectively covers this demographic, it reserves 45% of new homes for middle-income residents and the remaining 55% for low-income residents. I advised you to book.

The plan is still under development, but city officials have said the unit will be public housing with limited rent based on the resident’s income relative to the region’s median income.

Hesserich, who has worked on the Los Angeles housing problem for 20 years, said the key to reducing the cost per unit from $ 550,000 to $ 300,000 is to use standard modular housing in some cases.

She said the savings from using a modular structure are relatively minimal for small projects, but can be significant for large projects such as those envisioned in town planning. paddy field.

Another way to keep costs down is to use “parametric modeling” to determine the best public land to use for your home. This includes prioritizing sites close to quality transport, schools and parks. Specific locations are ranked based on efficient land use, number of units, views, and other criteria.

A key component of this proposal is an infrastructure fund estimated at $ 500 million. According to Hesserich, the money will help solve the problems and make the site more viable before the project is conceived.

It can be used to repair soil pollution, finance nearby parks, facilitate access to transportation, or mitigate the impact of new homes. For example, if a house is built in a parking lot, the fund may pay for nearby parking.

Land trust

Another element of the proposal is to build confidence in public lands. It can reduce the cost of a home by allowing people to buy only their own home.

Land provided by government agencies is owned by non-profit organizations, not developers or owners.

In addition to reducing costs, trusts do not have an expiration date. This is in stark contrast to most subsidized housing, where low rent guarantee contracts typically last 40 to 60 years.

Supporters say the trust is also a more efficient use of government housing grants. Because typical grants only help the first beneficiary, the trust creates a low-cost home that can be occupied by multiple families for many years.

Critics say that trust in the land creates a sort of second-class home ownership. Owners built on trust do not share the increased value of the land and therefore do not build the same wealth as traditional owners.

Councilor Sean Elo-Rivera proposed last winter that San Diego consider building trust in public lands beyond the sole trust that exists in the town of Nester, just east of Imperial Beach. low.
His idea didn’t garner much attention at the time, but La Cava’s proposal to build a house on public land was accepted by Mayor Todd Gloria and the city’s housing committee.

Councilor Vivian Moreno, a member of the Land Use Commission, welcomed Lakaba’s proposal, but reiterated that other government agencies should participate.

“It has to be a regional approach,” she said. “It can’t just be the city of San Diego.

The city’s independent budget analyst agreed to review the proposal.

San Diego offers 10,000 new homes on 300 acres of public land San Diego offers 10,000 new homes on 300 acres of public land


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