HOUSING ELEMENT IMPLEMENTATION OVERLAY ZONE (5TH CYCLE PROGRAM 2-G)

Background

The proposed action is required by the City’s existing Housing Element (5th Cycle Program 2-G).  State Housing law (Government Code Sections 65583.2(h) an (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 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:  

Project Description

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: 

  • Local Coastal Program Amendment to create a new Housing Element Implementation Overlay Zone within the City’s Local Coastal Program that will facilitate future implementation of housing rezone programs where required for compliance with State law and that will implement existing Housing Element Program 2-G by allowing housing by-right in specified North Commercial (land use designation and zoning area)
  • General Plan Amendment and Zoning Code Amendment (Corollary amendments) to the Del Mar Community Plan (General Plan) and Zoning Code to amend the respective land use designation and zone and update the associated maps as needed to implement existing Housing Element Program 2-G which requires the City to allow housing by-right on two vacant lots in the North Commercial Zone. Note that if adopted, the proposed General Plan Amendment would also address the City’s outstanding obligation for 5th Cycle Program 2-E (by amending the North Commercial land use designation to allow up to 20 dwelling units/acre on select parcels located along Jimmy Durante Boulevard).
  • Rezone to apply the new Overlay Zone to two existing vacant lots located in the North Commercial Zone (APNs 299-100-47-00 and 299-100-48-00) commonly referred to as “Watermark” due to existing property owner Watermark LP

The Planning Commission will be asked to review the proposed actions and provide a recommendation to the City Council at a public hearing scheduled for January 12, 2021.

The City Council will consider whether to adopt the amendments and rezone in a future noticed public hearing.  The associated ordinance for the Local Coastal Program Amendment, Zoning Code Amendment, and Rezone will require final certification by the California Coastal Commission in order to take effect.  City Council action on the Community Plan Amendment will constitute final approval of that action.

Environmental Determination

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 Housing Element Implementation (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:

Project Schedule

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:

5th Cycle Housing Element Program 2-G Project Timeline