The San Diego City Council voted 5-4 Tuesday in favor of a major change to the city’s Inclusionary Housing ordinance.
On Tuesday, dozens of supporters and opponents attended the City Council meeting to voice their opinion.
Supporters of the proposal said a change could create more affordable housing, others argued it will drive up home prices.
“The affordable housing stalk in San Diego is very low and the need is very high and we see it every day, and I think it’s the biggest problem facing san Diego,” said Colin Rice, an affordable housing developer.
The policy update was proposed by Council President Georgette Gomez. She and councilmembers Bry, Campbell, Ward, and Montgomery voted yes. Councilmembers Kersey, Cate, Sherman, and Moreno voted no.
Gomez said updating the housing requirements and increasing its fees will help create more long-term affordable apartments throughout the city.
The change will also require developers to build affordable housing units as part of any new housing developments. Otherwise, developers would have to pay a fee or donate land for subsidized housing.
“If you’re in a low income, working family, you’re a senior, you’ll be able to see affordable rental units being built and that would probably be 50 percent below market, 60 percent below market rents,” explained John Seymour with the National Community Renaissance, a nonprofit affordable housing developer and manager.
Those opposed to the ordinance argued the proposal has not been well thought out and worry it could cause housing costs to surge and even create environmental concerns.
“I’m fed up and frustrated with the rising cost of housing and the fact that hardworking middle-income individuals like myself are being pushed out of the market,” explained San Diego resident Melissa Stern.
Councilmember Scott Sherman said the ordinance will lead to more affordable units, but will decrease the amount of available market-rate units, “Because you have to offset that loss somewhere.”
He issued a call for Mayor Kevin Faulconer to veto the policy, claiming it will increase rent for San Diegans by an average of $1,000 per year.
Sherman also said that for every family that might secure a subsidized unit, four or five families would be priced out of the housing market.