OCEANSIDE — In its ongoing effort to provide sufficient affordable housing, City Council gave final approval to modifying inclusionary housing regulations and allowing low-income housing to exceed base density citywide Jan 30.
The hope is the incentives will prompt more low-income housing to be built.
“They’re thinking out of box and trying something different,” John Seymour vice president of acquisitions of National Community Renaissance nonprofit developers, said. “The policy is the first ever in San Diego County, Orange County, or anywhere in Southern California.”
New builder incentives include one additional story of building height, reduced parking requirements, and waiver of a conditional use permit.
Developer options to meet inclusionary housing standards are to either build low-income housing units on site, rehabilitate market-rate units, donate land, or pay a minimal $1.31 per square foot in lieu fee and higher $12,250 per unit in lieu fee for each unit built above base density.
Mike McSweeny, Building Industry Association senior public policy advisor, said the new rules are more “user friendly.”
“It created incentives to help people move forward with projects that they otherwise wouldn’t,” McSweeny said. “The city wins and the applicant wins.”
Regulation changes may be just the kick-start needed to spur building and increase low-income housing after Oceanside, like other cities, lost its redevelopment district and associated government funding.
“There are a lot of moderate priced housing units in Oceanside for rent or purchase, but very little affordable low-income rental stock,” Seymour said.
A low-income household is considered to be family of four earning $20,000 to $40,000 a year. Low-income rental rates for a two-bedroom unit are between $460 and $950 a month.
Seymour said a lack in low-income housing leads to multiple people living in units and overcrowding issues impacting the surrounding neighborhood.
City staff and developers are cautiously optimistic about the outcome of the regulation changes. The success of the changes will be weighed in the number of low-income houses built on site and amount of in lieu fees collected.
“The BIA was really pushing to get this accomplished,” Margery Pierce, neighborhood services director, said. “We will not know the outcomes for a couple years. We’re hopeful it will be very successful and create a number of housing units under this program.”