6th Cycle Housing Element Update

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The City of Del Mar is currently in the process of planning an update to its General Plan Housing Element.   The Housing Element Update covers an eight-year planning period from 2021-2029. Once adopted by the City Council and certified by the State, the 6th Cycle Housing Element will replace the City’s existing General Plan Housing Element (5th Cycle). In accordance with state law, the City must complete the required Housing Element Update approvals prior to April 2021.

On October 5, 2020 the City Council approved the draft 6th Cycle Housing Element Update (October 5, 2020 Item 7 Agenda Report PDF)  (Resolution 2020-52 PDF) as recommended by the Planning Commission on September 15, 2020.  The approved draft 6th Cycle HEU was submitted to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for a required 60-day HCD review and comment period required per State law.  See below for links to the approved draft and HCD’s comments on the draft

On September 30, 2020, the City of Del Mar received an enforcement letter from HCD stating written findings of the City’s existing status in violation of California’s Housing Element Law.  On October 19, 2020, the City Council unanimously approved a response to HCD identifying the City’s plan to cure its non-compliance and avoid further enforcement actions. On December 4, 2020, HCD confirmed that it accepted the City’s response and would be closely monitoring the City’s progress in meeting the commitments as outlined in the City’s response letter.  See below for links to correspondence with HCD relating to the City’s status and HCD’s close monitoring of City progress for prospective enforcement:

On October 5, 2020, the City Council certified the Final Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) and adopted findings of fact and the Mitigation, Monitoring, and Reporting Program via Resolution 2020-51 (PDF). The Final PEIR and initial Draft EIR are available for review by clicking the links below:

Based on questions received by Staff, the City has prepared a Housing Element Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document.  To review the FAQ, please click the link below:

What is the Housing Element?

The Housing Element is a State-mandated policy document within the Del Mar Community Plan that provides direction for the implementation of various programs to meet existing and projected future housing needs for all income levels within the Del Mar community.  The Housing Element provides policies, programs, and actions that accommodate growth, produce opportunity for the development of new housing units, preserve existing housing stock, and assist the existing population.

The City’s stated housing goal is to, “Inspire a more diverse, sustainable, and balanced community through implementation of strategies and programs that will result in economically and socially diversified housing choices that preserve and enhance the special character of Del Mar.”


The City’s current Housing Element (5th Cycle) was adopted by the City Council in 2013 and certified by the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD).  The adopted Housing Element covers the planning period from April, 2013, through April, 2021.  Staff is currently implementing the respective actions and programs for the current planning cycle.  The next housing cycle (6th Cycle) will cover the planning period from April 2021 to 2029.

To comply with State law, the City’s Housing Element must be updated to ensure the city’s policies and programs can accommodate estimated housing growth need identified in the San Diego County Association of Government’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) allocation for the 2021-2029 planning period. Any future changes to Housing Element policy will require environmental review pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The 6th Cycle Housing Element and associated environmental document(s) will be reviewed for compliance with state law by the California State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and adopted by the City Council no later than April 15, 2021.  

To meet these statutory deadlines, the local Del Mar approval process will need to be completed by October 30, 2020 (detailed timeline below). The City Council will function as Del Mar’s Housing Committee so that regularly-scheduled City Council meetings may be used as a public forum to consider associated housing issues, receive public input, discuss options, and provide direction to City staff and the consultant. 

Work on the 6th Cycle Housing Element is already underway in order to meet the aggressive deadlines set by State law. The update will be broken down into five main steps:

  1. Assessment of City-wide Housing Needs and Opportunities;
  2. Drafting of Goals, Policies, Programs and Objectives (GPPOs);
  3. Preparation of CEQA - Environmental Review Documents as applicable;
  4.  Preparation of the Sixth Cycle Housing Element; and
  5. Coordination with HCD to Obtain State Certification

The identified five steps and local adoption process are envisioned to take place from November 2019 through October 2020, and will include a multitude of public outreach efforts, such as development of a community-wide survey tool(s), and public hearings both at the Planning Commission and City Council to help shape future policy decisions.

On January 13, 2020 the City Council Established a seven member 6th Cycle Housing Element Ad-Hoc Citizens’ Task Force to work with Staff and the City Council Housing Liaisons to:

  1. Discuss, evaluate, and provide feedback on potential goals, policies, programs, and objectives to be included within the 6th Cycle Housing Element Update during preparation of the associated CEQA document;
  2. To help educate and encourage Housing Element participation among fellow Del Mar citizens; and
  3. Generally aid the City in the preparation and development of the 6th Cycle Housing Element Update during preparation of the associated CEQA document.

For more information on the Ad-Hoc Citizens’ Task Force you can visit their web page below: 

6th Cycle Housing Element Ad-Hoc Citizens’ Task Force Web Page

Click on each of the tabs below to read more information.

  1. Project Timeline
  2. CEQA
  3. Reports & More
  4. RHNA

Anticipated 6th Cycle Housing Element Update Timeline (Subject to Change)

The City Council on March 14 approved an emergency declaration to address Coronavirus, cancelling ALL public meetings through April 6, and cancelling all events in City buildings and parks through May 31, 2020.

The schedule below is subject to change:Master Schedule (7.1.2020)