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Solana Beach still short on affordable housing

SOLANA BEACH — Solana Beach appears on track to provide the total number of dwelling units required by the Regional Housing Needs Assessment, or RHNA, which quantifies the housing needs for every jurisdiction in the state. Where the city seems to be falling short is in its mandated distribution of those units across four income categories.
The RHNA allocation for Solana Beach from July 2005 through June 2010 is 130 units. According to the 2009 annual housing element progress report presented at the March 25 City Council meeting, Solana Beach issued permits for 131 units from January 2003 through December 2008. Of those, 122 fell into the above-moderate income category, a classification for which the city is only required to provide 53.
During that same time period beginning in 2003, the city has not issued any permits for moderate- or very-low-income units, although it is mandated to provide 25 and 30 dwellings, respectively. All nine of 22 required low-income dwellings that were permitted are accessory living units, sometimes referred to as granny flats.
Cedros Crossing, a mixed-use development slated for property near the train station, included 13 affordable housing units. But City Council never approved the project, citing incompatibility with the general plan.
In an effort to fulfill its allocations, especially in the low- and very-low-income categories, the city hosted public workshops on mixed-use development standards and affordable housing programs. A housing fair was also held at La Colonia Community Center last fall.
With about 18 months remaining in the housing element cycle, city staff is meeting with developers interested in including affordable housing in proposed projects. The city will hold an informational workshop on deed-restricted, accessory living units and their applicable zoning laws from 4 to 6 p.m. April 16 at City Hall, 635 Coast Hwy. 101. For information or to schedule an appointment, call (858) 720-2400.
The city is required to present an annual report on its housing element, which is part of the general plan used to identify housing needs and establish policies to support future development of all types of dwellings.