Developers Win Plenty in San Diego
By Everett Delano| January 5, 2017
I first read Gary London’s assertion in a recent VOSD article
claiming that the lesson of 2016 was that no one wants new
housing anywhere in San Diego, I thought it was some sort
an absurd assertion. Developers have the inside track both
to staff and elected officials in numerous jurisdictions,
often using (and sometimes abusing) their connections and
their significant campaign contributions for their personal
gain. I have witnessed it happen many times in the years I
have been working on land use matters throughout various parts
of San Diego County.
of San Diego could certainly do its own investigation into
the successes and failures of developers, but just a few recent
projects that come to mind where developers won in 2016 include
a 420-unit project in Oceanside, a 71-unit project in Chula
Vista and an 88-unit project and 41-unit project in Vista.
in November, developers were successful in convincing the San
Diego City Council to ignore several years of community input
to give developers exceptions to zoning and other land use restrictions,
despite the fact that community residents and the community
planning group made it very clear that they were not opposed
to housing, they merely wanted it done in a manner that was
respectful of their existing community.
the vote in November reveals that developers can and do win
for example, residents of the city of Del Mar rejected
a measure that would have added certain limits to development
in that city.
both countywide Measure B and Measure T in Encinitas lost,
but its a stretch to draw broad conclusions from those
two votes. They werent even slightly similar ballot
measures. Measure B was rejected largely because it defied
the existing county plan and proposed putting too many houses
in an agricultural area that could not support them. Measure
T was a complex plan proposing significant amendments to existing
community standards throughout many parts of the city of Encinitas.
the proponents of both of those measures were spinning the
any housing is good housing line, then that goes
to show the fallacies in their campaigns, not the similarities
of the two measures.
do not always lose. Far from it. I for one am heartened to
see that voters have realized the real costs of some of these
projects. But I would encourage Voice of San Diego to do some
investigation into the so-called housing crisis
allegation that underlies these sorts of claims of poor pitiful
developers. I think some in-depth reporting in this area would
reveal the fallacy that simply building more housing will
necessarily lead to affordable housing.
DeLano practices land use and environmental law throughout