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Carlsbad addresses 2018 housing element report

CARLSBAD — The numbers are in for the city’s 2018 housing production.

Corey Funk, an associate planner for Carlsbad, reported to the City Council on March 12 the city has achieved 67 percent of its Housing Element as required by the state.

However, the percentage appears a bit skewed as the above-moderate-income housing is at 122 percent of its goal, while no new very-low-income housing was produced in 2018.

“Affordable housing is a complex issue throughout California,” Funk said. “The city takes a multi-faceted approach to the issue.”

The Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) numbers are produced by the state, which then sends San Diego County’s requirements to the San Diego Association of Governments, which then divides the housing stock between all municipalities in the county.

RHNA is a 10-year forecast of housing needs throughout the state, which is then redistributed to every jurisdiction, Funk said. State law also requires annual reports to the state and SANDAG, while recent changes to state law calls for reportable information throughout all phases of development including planning applications received and approved and building permits issued.

The city’s goals for the RHNA target 912 units for very low income, 693 for low, 1,062 for moderate and 2,332 for above moderate. Only five low-income units were produced in 2018 and included in the report, and Funk said those were accessory dwelling units. City staff, however, estimates more than 400 are in the city, but do not meet the requirements to offer affordable housing.

“Affordable housing is something we took on in the early ‘90s,” Mayor Matt Hall said. “When 10 percent was a big number, we went to 15 percent. When you look at how much housing we’ve built … we are second or third to the city of San Diego.”

Over the 10-year RHNA period, very-low-income housing totals just 42 units (5 percent) followed by low at 223 (32 percent), moderate at 257 (24 percent) and 2,844 for above-moderate. The city’s total target is 4,999 units.

Carlsbad also requires developers to include 15 percent of its project as affordable housing and has been pushing more recent projects to 20 percent.

Funk noted several wins for the city in recent years including the Portola Senior and Montecito apartments with a combined 157 units for low- and moderate-income residents. Additionally, the Harding and Oak veterans housing projects will increase those numbers, as will Pacific Wind, although the project was scaled back from 93 units to 87 after resident complaints and a lawsuit.

Funk said several other projects in the planning phase, such as Marja Acres and the Aviara Apartments, will also help address the city’s affordable housing stock.

However, Debbie Fountain, director of Housing and Neighborhood Services, said for the city to meet its goals, it must subsidize future projects as higher density developments alone will not meet those goals.

“We are starting … to negotiate more with very low and extremely low income,” she said of talks with developers to include those units. “We can’t get there with density.”

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