Board of Supervisors vote to rescind Spring Valley ‘tiny homes' plan

Despite promises to address homelessness, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors rescinded their plan to build 150 tiny homes in Spring Valley after pushback from the community

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The San Diego County Board of Supervisors is considering alternate sites after they scrapped a plan to build 150 tiny cabin homes in Spring Valley.

The board unanimously approved the plan to spend a $10 million state grant for the tiny homes back in March, but community pushback led Chairwoman Nora Vargas to propose rescinding that plan Tuesday.

“We actually took a deeper dive and then realized actually where we're at now, bringing in, you know, 150 homes to this particular location doesn't actually work,” Vargas said. “What has happened in government is that sometimes we're too afraid to say, you know what, we're going to stop. We're going to listen to people and do what's best for them. And that's what we did today.”

The board voted 3-1 to rescind the plan, with Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer the sole vote against it. Supervisor Jim Desmond was absent.

The grant from the state is up in the air. Supervisor Monica Montgomery Steppe, who voted to rescind the Spring Valley plan, is leading an effort to explore other sites, particularly in Lemon Grove. She has asked the state to "preserve" the funds in the meantime.

Bennett Hazzard sleeps in a tent across the street from the now-scrapped Spring Valley site. He had heard about the potential tiny cabins.

“I think there are a lot of people out here that could really use that,” Hazzard said. “Just normal people, man, that's out here with kids, too.”

Over the past several weeks, Spring Valley residents have rallied against the 150-cabin project that had been slated for Jamacha Road, reports NBC 7's Dana Williams

In a statement, Lawson-Remer said, “There is no alternative plan and no guarantee the State will give us the $10 million. This feels like a big loss in the fight against homelessness.”

Lawson-Remer said the county has already spent half a million dollars on designing the Spring Valley plans.

Spring Valley residents testified at Tuesday's board meeting and many commended Vargas for reconsidering the plans while holding "Thank You Vargas" signs.

“We are a working community. We have schools, and if you guys have any family, you would not be comfortable letting your kids walking to school,” one Spring Valley resident said.

Vargas said she is unafraid to make difficult decisions but that she wants to see the county take a more equitable approach to homelessness solutions.

"As somebody who is from a working class family, I can assure you that home would have never been placed in La Jolla or Del Mar, and so I'm not sure why they are placed in places like Spring Valley or in our communities. And so when we talk about things like equity and when things are changing and looking at it from a different lens, then we'll come back and have that conversation," Vargas said. “Why the course correction was made this time is that the community needed to be at the forefront.”

As he pitches his tent, Hazzard hopes the supervisors will pitch another plot of land for the cabins. He says having a roof over your head — even a tiny one — could make a world of difference.

"Man, it would make wonders, man. You know, to have my own bed again, you know, shower all day long or whatever,” said Hazzard.

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