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Posted on: July 20, 2020

Environmental document for housing update up for public review

Accessory dwelling unit

As Del Mar prepares its Housing Element Update, the public is encouraged to review an environmental document that examines locations where the City could increase its housing capacity.

The Draft Program Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is posted on the Sixth Cycle Housing Element Update webpage and is open for public comment through Aug. 31.

The EIR and 6th Cycle Housing Element Update are separate documents. Both incorporate recommendations from an Ad-Hoc Citizens’ Task Force, which favor evenly dispersing housing capacity at all income levels across the City.

By law, the environmental report must analyze all options the City Council will consider for Del Mar to meet its housing obligations. Deciding which of those options to include in the Housing Element Update is a matter for City Council action during hearings this fall.

Holding hearings and circulating the EIR are required steps in preparing the Housing Element Update. The EIR  Sixth Cycle Housing Element to provide zoning capacity for at least 163 new dwelling units. Of those, 101 must be set aside for low-income and very low-income occupants.

RHNA allocation*Income range is based on the 2019 San Diego County Median Income of $86,300 

In addition, the EIR analyzes outstanding obligations from the existing, Fifth Cycle Housing Element for a total of 209 units.

The EIR analyzes 104 potential locations comprised of 123 parcels totaling nearly 340 acres. Many of the sites are within five focus areas: the downtown village; Del Mar Fairgrounds; public facilities or city-owned property, and vacant land on the North Bluff and south Stratford Court.

State law requires that the City contemplate rezoning to facilitate production of Del Mar’s allotment of low-income and very low-income housing units.

The Housing Element Update must include – and the EIR must analyze – rezoning of any vacant land from 0.5 to 10 acres. That means that in order to gain State certification, the City must consider rezoning options for properties on the north bluff and at the southern end of Stratford Court to accommodate at least half of the low-income and very low-income housing units.

If the City can secure agreements to locate affordable units at the Del Mar Fairgrounds or elsewhere, rezoning could be unnecessary.

Other strategies for affordable housing include continuing to infuse accessory dwelling units into all zones that allow residential.

The Housing Element Update is considered a program. It does not propose specific development. Nor does it require the City to build dwellings. However, the document must put forward a framework to accommodate housing development with an emphasis on production of affordable housing. Any future development proposal would be subject to permitting and approvals.

The Housing Element is a component of the Del Mar’s Community Plan. Accordingly, approval of the Housing Element Update will require a super majority, or four-fifths, vote.

The Planning Commission is set to review the Draft Program Environmental Impact Report 6 p.m. July 14.

Written comments on the draft EIR must be received by 5 p.m. Aug. 31 and can be mailed to the attention of Joseph Smith, Del Mar Civic Center, 1050 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar, CA, 92014 or emailed to

Open the Draft Program Environmental Impact Report on the 6th Cycle Housing Element Update webpage:

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