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The decision moves the Del Mar off the list of San Diego County jurisdictions with out-of-compliance housing elements. File photo
The decision moves the Del Mar off the list of San Diego County jurisdictions with out-of-compliance housing elements. File photo
CitiesDel MarDel Mar Featured

Del Mar’s housing element now in compliance

DEL MAR — State housing officials have deemed the City of Del Mar’s housing element for the 6th cycle to be in compliance after two years of back-and-forth communications.

The city first submitted its housing element, a plan cities must complete every eight years to outline how they will meet local housing needs, in 2021. It has since been re-submitted multiple times in response to edits and feedback from the state, often leading to frustration for Del Mar officials. 

The 6th cycle element covers the period from 2021-28. 

The Del Mar City Council most recently submitted a revised housing element in April, with fingers crossed that it would be the last time. On May 31, the California Department of Housing and Community Development determined the city’s element to be in substantial compliance. 

“HCD appreciates the cooperation, dedication, and effort the city’s housing element team provided throughout the housing element review,” state officials said in their May 31 letter. 

The decision moves the city off the list of out-of-compliance jurisdictions in San Diego County, including Coronado, Escondido, La Mesa, Lemon Grove and Oceanside. 

Artist’s renderings of the Seaside Ridge housing project proposed for Del Mar’s north bluff. Courtesy graphic
Artist’s renderings of the Seaside Ridge housing project proposed for Del Mar’s north bluff. Courtesy graphic

“The HCD letter confirms that the City currently has adequate sites in its housing element sites inventory and that the City addressed all statutory requirements and revisions requested by HCD to establish ‘substantial compliance,’” city officials said. 

The city must now continue pursuing various programs mapped out in the element, including reaching an affordable housing agreement with the Del Mar Fairgrounds by next spring to construct at least 61 lower-income units. 

If they cannot reach this agreement, the city will have to move ahead with plans for housing at backup sites, including a piece of land on the North Bluff overlooking the dog beach.

However, the site at 929 Border Ave is also currently being pursued for a 259-unit residential project called Seaside Ridge. Developers argue, and Del Mar officials disagree, that the city must approve the project under a new state law referred to as Builder’s Remedy, which states that jurisdictions with an out-of-compliance Housing Element must approve certain residential projects. 

According to project spokesman Darren Pudgil, the fact that the city has now obtained compliance “has no bearing on Seaside Ridge.” 

“Our application was submitted while Del Mar was out of compliance with housing element law, and the law is clear that any project submitted while a city is out of compliance must move forward even if that city later becomes compliant,” Pudgil said. 

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