Fair officials to back funding plan for affordable units

Fair officials to back funding plan for affordable units
Temporary housing at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, used seasonally by workers and jockeys, would not qualify as affordable in its current condition. The 22nd District Agricultural Association is sending a letter supporting proposed legislation that could provide revenue to upgrade the units, a move that could help the city meet a requirement to build affordable units. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek

DEL MAR — In a continued show of support for Del Mar, the 22nd District Agricultural Association board of directors agreed at the Aug. 11 meeting to send a letter backing proposed legislation that could provide revenue for affordable housing at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

The move is significant as it could help the nearly built-out city, with some of the highest priced property in the county, meet state-mandate requirements to provide such units.

“There is no financial obligation for us whatsoever,” Director David Watson, a land use attorney, said. “If this bill passes it would create a fund for affordable housing projects, which would help the city of Del Mar if and when they want to pay us to upgrade some of our housing.”

Del Mar must show it can accommodate — but is not necessarily required to build immediately — 22 units affordable to those who fall in the low- or very-low income category.

Temporary housing units located on the fairgrounds are used by jockeys and other seasonal workers. Since the facility is within the boundaries of Del Mar the units could be used to fulfill the city’s requirement, but not in their current condition.

With the addition of a kitchenette and restroom, however, they would.

The 22nd DAA, which governs the state-owned fairgrounds, and Del Mar adopted resolutions in 2013 supporting opportunities for affordable housing for fairgrounds employees.

Del Mar’s resolution states the city “will make its best effort to fund the added housing costs,” while the 22nd DAA’s document states that agency agrees to build the units contingent on Del Mar paying “the 22nd DAA (for) all added housing costs.”

Redevelopment agencies, eliminated by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2011, once generated about $1 million annually for affordable housing.

To help make up for that lost revenue Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, recently introduced the Building Homes and Jobs Act, also known as AB 1335.

If passed it would impose a $75 fee, not to exceed $225, on all recorded real estate documents, except those associated with home sales. It is estimated the charge could generate between $300 million and $500 million annually.

“As currently written, it is expected that the City and/or the 22nd DAA would be able to take advantage of the funding through this bill to provide affordable housing for employees/workers at the Fairgrounds,” Del Mar City Manager Scott Huth wrote in a letter to fairgrounds General Manager Tim Fennell requesting 22nd DAA support for AB 1335.

Historically, fairgrounds officials had a less-than-amicable relationship with representatives from Del Mar and, to the north, Solana Beach. Since 2011 the makeup of the 22nd DAA board has changed completely and all sides have, for the most part, been working well together.

Fennell said staff will draft a letter to send to Atkins’ office before the Sept. 1 deadline

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