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  • Writer's pictureKristin Brinner

It's Time to Champion Meaningful Housing Policies in Solana Beach

Updated: Sep 11, 2022

One of the worst kept secrets in our city is that there’s a housing crisis. While homeowners are happy to see galloping real estate values, we all know the city is out reach for most people. Yes, this is due to market forces, but it’s also due to a lack of will and creativity by the city. As city councilor, I will champion policies that ensure that the people who work in our city can live in our city.

All California cities are being pressured by the State to make housing more available. In order to comply, City has identified several goals as it seeks approval of a Housing Element in the city’s General Plan:

  • A range of housing strategies to accommodate Solana Beach’s share across all income levels.

  • Preserve and enhance the existing community and neighborhood quality and character.

  • Reduce or eliminate constraints to the development, improvement, preservation, and maintenance of housing.

  • Equal opportunities to access housing for all persons regardless of age, race, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, ancestry, national origin, or disability.

  • A sustainable approach to new and existing residential and mixed‐use development through increased energy conservation and waste reduction. (Click here to read the full Housing Element document)

The city’s stated housing goals are wonderful, and I agree with all of them. But goals need to be backed up with action. And this is where the City Council has thoroughly under-performed. In order to address the housing crisis, we must collaborate to provide a diverse range of housing options to meet the ongoing needs of our community. That doesn’t mean that we need to sacrifice our community’s character in the name of providing attainable housing for our friends and neighbors. The city’s existing ordinances - concerning things like height, setbacks, and views - are certainly adequate to protect our community.

That said, the state requires local governments to plan to meet their housing needs. Although the city updated its Housing Element to show the state how it can meet the state’s requirements, unless the city acts, it will continue to be subject to the state’s authority over its development processes. Worse yet, the state could impose sanctions, including withholding community grants. We are already seeing the state move aggressively, with the flurry of housing bills just passed in the legislature (for example SB9). All of the recent legislation is aimed at easing the development of housing, and all written to decrease the amount of local control a city can exercise over proposed development projects.

I believe we shouldn’t provide attainable housing because we fear what the state may demand of us; I believe we should work toward this goal as it is the right thing to do. I believe providing housing for people like teachers or firefighters enriches our community by ensuring we have a diverse population. We need to strike a better balance between the current trend of developers constructing 4,000 square foot single family homes, and providing options so the people who work in our city can live in our city. We need more reasonable options for young people and growing families to build a thriving community.

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