Home Creation ‘Above Average’ As County Works to Reduce Region’s Housing Shortage

News Date

The County is making progress in addressing the region’s housing shortage and issued permits for more than 1,200 homes last year, according to an update provided to the Board of Supervisors today.

Housing production for the 2023 calendar year exceeded the average needed to meet the County’s housing goals, according to an annual report on the County’s General Plan and Housing Element presented to the Board today, with 68 percent progress made toward achieving San Diego County’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) goal. 

“I’m making it a priority to confront the region’s rising rents and housing costs,” said Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer, vice chair of the Board of Supervisors. “We are leveraging the County’s resources to speed up the production of homes, keep renters in the houses, and make the dream of homeownership more affordable.”

A total of 1,220 housing units were permitted within the unincorporated communities between January 1 and December 31, 2023. The County has permitted 4,557 homes since July 1, 2020.

During Supervisor Lawson-Remer’s tenure on the Board, the County has implemented a number of actions to incentivize the construction of new homes. For example, Supervisor Lawson-Remer championed a suite of 19 actions to provide greater certainty for developers to facilitate housing production in the unincorporated area. Actions approved by the Board in May 2023 emphasized removing barriers to housing development, including reducing and guaranteeing plan review times, enhancing technology, and providing additional support for housing permit applicants. 

The Board of Supervisors also approved a Housing Zoning Ordinance update in July 2023 to comply with new State housing laws, representing over 20 bills approved between 2018 and 2022. As part of this update, the County made changes to encourage Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), housing for people experiencing homelessness, and affordable and market-rate homes. 

While the update noted that more needs to be done to keep pace with the County’s RHNA goals for extremely low/very low income housing in the region’s unincorporated areas, the County has taken critical actions to construct affordable homes within incorporated cities (which does not count toward the County’s housing targets). For example, in 2023 Supervisor Lawson-Remer supported using two County-owned surplus sites located in the City of San Diego for affordable housing developers. The County supported the development of eight affordable housing developments in 2023 that will provide 670 units of affordable housing. Developments include Estrella in San Marcos, Kettner Crossing in San Diego, Messina in Clairemont Mesa, PATH Villas El Cerrito in College Area, Santa Fe Senior Village in Vista, SkyLINE in Rancho Bernardo, Taormina in Clairemont Mesa, and Iris in San Ysidro.

The County’s commitment to housing has been recognized at the State level. On March 23, 2023, the County was designated as a “Prohousing Jurisdiction” by the State of California for its commitment and diligence to support housing. With this designation, the County will be more competitive for vital State funding to accelerate the production of affordable housing. For example, the County was awarded $2.4 million from the State’s Prohousing Incentive Pilot Program in October 2023.

See the full agenda item here.