Council votes to approve affordable housing program

CARLSBAD — A unanimous Carlsbad City Council vote July 26 agreed on proposed date changes regarding their Housing Element Program 2.1, which would allow for future dense, affordable housing.
It was a necessary vote. A need to comply with the Friends of Aviara court order was mandatory.
“The proposed date changes for Program 2.1 relate to when the city would increase the allowable density on certain sites,” said David de Cordova, principal planner at the city of Carlsbad. “The changes do not create any specific affordable housing projects by a certain date, but rather, the opportunity to do so is created by the increased density.”
In essence, it’s all about land supply.
According to de Cordova, the Friends of Aviara lawsuit was filed following the original Housing Element Program 2.1 implementation dates, back in 2009. Some program parts had a completion date of October 2009 and May 2010; but now they have been moved to September 2012 and February 2013.
De Cordova said the court ruled in the city’s favor saying that there were adequate environmental studies for the housing plan, but ruled in favor of Friends of Aviara concerning the Housing Element’s inconsistency with the General Plan.
“In particular, the court found that Housing Element Program 2.1 did not have a proper schedule for when the city planned to make the land use and/or zoning density changes described in program 2.1,” he said. “To comply with the court’s ruling, the city changed the dates when various parts of program 2.1 would be carried out.”
The City Council vote has now implemented those new dates for consideration.
De Cordova said that state law requires cities to have a plan for promoting the production of safe, decent, and affordable housing in their communities. Every four to eight years, these plans, also referred to as housing elements, must be updated. During this time, de Cordova said, a range of issues are addressed such as: preserving existing affordable housing stock; planning for future residents of all income levels and those with special housing needs; removing barriers to housing production; and, promoting fair and equal housing opportunities.
“The housing element concluded that there was not enough capacity in the city’s current land use plan, so program 2.1 identifies the additional sites and areas where the increased density would go,” he said. “Those areas include portions of the Village, Barrio, Ponto, and a site in the northeast part of the city, commonly referred to as Quarry Creek.”
Program 2.1 also plays a role in mixed-use housing in particular commercial locales.
De Cordova wants people to know that the city is ultimately responsible to offer land “at the right densities” to house future citizen growth.
“If a city determines that it does not have enough land zoned for residential use at the right densities, then it must identify sites that could accommodate the additional density required to meet its future housing needs,” he said.
Since 1996, the city of Carlsbad has developed affordable housing to more than 2,100 households. The northwest portion of Carlsbad has 235 units; northeast has 298 units; southwest has 794 units; and, and the southeast comes in at 819 units.

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