ENCINITAS — San Diego Habitat for Humanity and the city of Encinitas have entered into an agreement to provide two affordable homes to individuals living or working in Encinitas.
The city owns two parcels of land at 750 Leucadia Boulevard that it will lease for $1 a year to Habitat for Humanity for 55 years. On that land, the new Habitat for Humanity homeowners will build their homes with the assistance of volunteers.
On Oct. 24, the Encinitas City Council unanimously approved the agreement.
Councilwoman Tasha Boerner Horvath acknowledged Mayor Catherine Blakespear for her leadership, saying, “You saw an opportunity to actually see real affordable housing for people from our community, and you have led on this since I got elected with you. And so I just wanted to thank you and thank everybody for being flexible and really thinking outside the box and being original. I think the lease in front of us is a win-win for everybody.”
Before voting, Councilman Mark Muir said, “I just want to make it clear that I didn’t support the project at first because I was hoping for a park or open space.” Muir clarified that while he didn’t get his way, he supports the project now and the people behind it.
Each house’s cost will be amortized over 30 years — paid for by monthly mortgage payments that cannot exceed 30 percent of the homeowner’s income, according to Encinitas Senior Management Analyst Bob McSeveney.
Shea Homes, which is developing a 13-home subdivision on 5.5 acres located east of the parcels, provided demolition services at no cost to Habitat for Humanity. The company removed the abandoned greenhouse and related structures from the property, which used to contain two single-family homes. The parcels are located on the northeast corner of Leucadia Boulevard and Urania Avenue.
Part of the city’s agreement included sharing legal fees — in the amount of $10,000 — with San Diego Habitat for Humanity for preparing the ground lease agreements. The city also agreed to waive up to $24,000 in building permit fees for the two planned houses.
At the Oct. 24 meeting, which was McSeveney’s last before retiring, McSeveney explained that Habitat for Humanity approached the city in May 2017, asking to make the parcels available for affordable housing. The council then directed the city attorney to pursue negotiations.
First priority for the affordable homes will go to individuals who have lived or worked in Encinitas for at least a year prior to the execution of the lease agreement. The home-building time frame cannot exceed three years.
Lori Holt Pfeiler, CEO and president of San Diego Habitat for Humanity, wrote in a letter to the mayor and council, “The transformation that occurs when Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers is priceless. … We are excited about partnering with the City of Encinitas to strengthen the fabric of the community and be a catalyst for removing a family from poverty for generations.”
The project aligns with Encinitas’ Community Planning focus area by pursuing diverse housing opportunities in the city.