HOUSING ELEMENT IMPLEMENTATION OVERLAY ZONE (5TH CYCLE PROGRAM 2-G)
Cities are required by California law to have a certified Housing Element as part of the City’s General Plan. In Del Mar, the Community Plan is the City’s General Plan. On March 25, 2021, the City Council adopted the 6th Cycle Housing Element to replace the prior 5th Cycle Housing Element. On April 15, 2021, the 5th Cycle planning period ends and the 6th Cycle planning period begins. The City is still in process of obtaining final State approval of the 5th Cycle Housing Element Program 2G zoning actions.
On April 5, 2021, the City Council adopted two ordinances as needed to implement the 5th Cycle Housing Element Program 2G zoning actions applicable to two lots (APNs 299-100-47 and -48) located at the southeast corner of Jimmy Durante Blvd and San Dieguito Drive that are owned by Watermark LP (as introduced on March 25, 2021). The next step is for the Ordinances to be certified by the Coastal Commission as part of the City’s Local Coastal Program. Following are links to the adopted Ordinances:
- Ordinance 979 - Adoption of Housing Element Implementation Overlay Zone (HEI-OZ) (PDF)
- Ordinance 980 - Adoption of Rezone for APNs 299-100-47 and -48 to apply HEI-OZ (PDF)
On January 12, 2021, the Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval of the actions. On February 16, the City Council directed staff to prepare objective design standards for inclusion in the overlay zone and return to the Planning Commission. On March 9, 2021, the Planning Commission recommended approval of the revised overlay zone with design standards.
State Housing law (Government Code Sections 65583.2(h) and (i)) required the City as part of the 5th Cycle Housing Element to allow housing “by-right” at a density of 20-25 dwelling units per acre on two lots (APNs 299-100-47-00 and 299-100-48-00) in order to create adequate sites at sufficient density (allowing at least 20 dwelling units per acre). This was required due to the City’s failure in past Housing Element Cycles (3rd and 4th Cycles) to create affordable housing for lower income households and failure to take action to create adequate sites at sufficient density (allowing at least 20 dwelling units per acre). The 5th Cycle Housing Element Program 2-G is specifically tied to APNs 299-100-47-00 and 299-100-48-00 because those vacant lots were identified by the City as its “adequate sites” to support the development of affordable housing in the prior 4th Cycle Housing Element; however, no action was taken by the City to implement the housing program or to otherwise identify and process approval of an equivalent replacement with sufficient density (allowing at least 20 dwelling units per acre).
During the 5th Cycle a Watermark Specific Plan was in process via a private development application that would have satisfied the 5th Cycle Program 2G rezone requirement. However, following the City Council votes on September 8 and October 5, 2020, which failed to pass approval of a Community Plan Amendment for North Commercial, the applicant decided to withdraw their Specific Plan application and pursue a permit application pursuant to Senate Bill 330 for “by-right” processing of a multiple dwelling unit project with affordable units that will be reserved for lower income households. It is the City’s obligation to take action to modify its zoning to create adequate sites at sufficient density for lower income housing.
The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has sent multiple letters to the City of Del Mar, which have made it clear that the City must process 5th Cycle Housing Program 2-G, in addition to Programs 2E and 2F currently in process as part of separate projects, in order for the City to bring its Housing Element into compliance with State law and avoid referral to the State Attorney General for enforcement action. The City has until April 15, 2021 to complete processing of Program 2-G to address HCD’s written findings of violation and minimize risk of enforcement penalties as reflected in the following letters:
- HCD Enforcement Letter Dated 9.30.2020 (PDF)
- City Response Letter to HCD Dated 10.20.20 (PDF)
- HCD Follow Up Enforcement Letter Dated 12.4.2020 (PDF)
In order to implement 5th Cycle Program 2-G, the City must process the following set of actions to create a new Housing Element Implementation Overlay Zone:
Following are the staff reports for 5th Cycle Program 2G implementation:
- Staff Report to the Planning Commission January 12, 2021 (PDF)
- Staff Report to the City Council February 16, 2021(PDF)
- Staff Report to the Planning Commission March 9, 2021 (PDF)
- Staff Report to the City Council March 25, 2021 (PDF)
- Staff Report to the City Council April 5, 2021 (PDF)
Pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the proposed actions have been analyzed and determined to be Statutorily Exempt pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15265 because the proposed action constitutes an amendment to the City’s certified Local Coastal Program (LCP) and CEQA does not apply to activities or approvals by a local government as necessary for the preparation and adoption of a LCP amendment for review and certification by the California Coastal Commission (CCC) as set forth in Section 21080.9 of the Public Resources Code. Accordingly, the certified City of Del Mar LCP constitutes a plan for use in the CCC’s regulatory program as certified under Section 21080.5 of the Public Resources Code.
The proposed actions include corollary amendments to the City’s Community (General) Plan and Municipal Code (Zoning). Notwithstanding the applicability of the Statutory Exemption, future development of the two parcels for multiple-dwelling residential use as affected by the proposed actions have been the subject of prior environmental analysis including the Final Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) for the Professional Commercial and North Commercial Zoning Code Amendment (SCH #2019029058) certified by the City Council on September 8, 2020 (Resolution 2020-47) and the 6th Cycle Housing Element Update Final PEIR (SCH No. 2020029064) certified by the City Council on October 5, 2020 (Resolution 2020-52). Anticipated impacts have been disclosed in these prior environmental documents and the proposed HEI Overlay Zone incorporates standard Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting protocols (see proposed Section 30.92.050) to ensure impacts are minimized consistent with prior environmental documents. No new or substantially greater impacts would result from implementation of the HEI Overlay Zone. As such, pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Sections 15162 and 15163, and based on the review of the entire record, including without limitation, the Final PEIRs referenced above, the proposed actions on the HEU Overlay Zone do not require further environmental review. Pursuant to CEQA Guidelines Section 15162(b), no further analysis or environmental documentation is necessary. Accordingly and notwithstanding the applicability of the Statutory Exemption referenced above, the proposed actions are merely a step in furtherance of the original programs for which environmental review was performed and no supplemental or subsequent CEQA has been triggered, and no further environmental review is required.
Following are links to the referenced environmental documents:
- Final Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) for the Professional Commercial and North Commercial Zoning Code Amendment(SCH #2019029058) certified by the City Council on September 8, 2020 (Resolution 2020-47)
- 6th Cycle Housing Element Update Final PEIR (SCH No. 2020029064) certified by the City Council on October 5, 2020 (Resolution 2020-51 (PDF).The Final PEIR and initial Draft EIR are available for review by clicking the links below:
State Housing law requires that the City complete processing of 5th Cycle Housing Element Program 2-G by April 15, 2021. Following is the City’s anticipated schedule to finalize processing: