HOUSING ACTION PACKAGE 2.0
WHAT IS THE HOUSING ACTION PACKAGE 2.0?
San Diego’s Housing Action Package 2.0 (HAP 2.0) is a package of actions and policies that, if adopted, will boost the production of housing, especially affordable housing, in the city. Some of these policies include density bonuses, incentivizing the development of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in more areas of the city, and incentivizing more off-campus student housing to be built. Most HAP 2.0 policies are geared towards allowing more housing in “transit-rich areas,” such as near trolley stops and bus stations with high-frequency buses. Encouraging more housing near transit allows us to fight the housing crisis while simultaneously promoting a more environmentally sustainable city.
WHAT WAS HAP 1.0?
HAP 1.0 was a similar package of housing policies passed in February 2022. It laid the groundwork for much of HAP 2.0, and also had to do with the implementation of actions and policies meant to combat the systemic effects of the housing and environmental crisis. For example, HAP 1.0’s implementation of Senate Bill 9 to allow for ADUs on single-family plots of land was a major step forward in pro-housing action for San Diego.
WHY DO WE NEED HAP 2.0?
Though HAP 1.0 was a vital first step for San Diego in addressing its housing crisis, there is certainly more work to be done. Currently, San Diego County is estimated to need more than 21,000 new homes per year just to keep up with demand. However, in 2021, only 9,642 were constructed, demonstrating the need for further policy implementation to solve the housing crisis. Policies such as those included in HAP 2.0 would bring us closer to meeting our housing targets.
WHY IS MEETING THESE GOALS SO IMPORTANT?
San Diego is a desirable city to live in. We must build enough housing to accommodate current and prospective residents. Every day, more people are competing for increasingly scarce housing, which drives up the cost for everybody. Economic research shows cities and communities that allow more housing see lower increases in their housing costs compared to cities that do not allow enough housing to be constructed. The city of Auckland, New Zealand for example enacted similar policies as HAP 2.0 in 2016. Relative to other cities with restrictive housing policies, their rents are up to 35% lower for family housing.
WHAT'S THE CURRENT STATUS OF THIS LEGISLATION?
HAP 2.0 is tentatively set to go to the San Diego City Council for a vote sometime in November of this year. However, on August 3, 2023, the Planning Commission removed SB 10 from the package largely due to the large quantity of negative testimony organized by anti-housing groups. Pro-housing advocates would have benefitted from greater numbers in pro-SB 10, pro-HAP 2.0 testimony both in-person and through email public comments to show the Commission the true support of the community for SB 10’s implementation within HAP 2.0. The Land Use and Housing Committee of the City Council formally removed the piece from HAP 2.0 on September 21, 2023. The rest of HAP 2.0 is intact though, and will be going up to a vote soon.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR HAP 2.0?
Despite the benefits of this policy package, there are several anti-housing groups working towards blocking many of the most important aspects of this package. Their reasons for blocking systemic solutions to the housing crisis include fears of increased traffic, reduced property values, and lack of sunlight. Their loud efforts at City Council and Planning Commission meetings have already resulted in Senate Bill 10 being removed from HAP 2.0.
WHAT IS SENATE BILL 10?
Senate Bill 10 is a piece of state legislation that authorizes cities like San Diego to upzone single-family zoned land, through splitting lots, and other incentives, without having to cut through red-tape that usually delays the development of desperately needed housing. This legislation also provides the capacity to create San Diego’s missing middle-income housing and combat the effects of historically exclusive and biased land-use policy. Check out this webpage for more information on this bill specifically.
WHY WAS SENATE BILL 10 REMOVED?
A major reason there was so much attention paid to removing SB 10, is likely because it was one of the most important parts of this package. One of the more frequently cited arguments against its inclusion was due to its “irreversibility.” This provision of SB 10 refers to the fact that once a parcel of land has been upzoned using the legislation, it cannot subsequently be “downzoned,” or its allowed density cannot be reduced. The “irreversibility” characteristic is key to the impact SB 10 can create because the alternative is allowing the opportunity for downzoning. For example, in Los Angeles, downzoning efforts led the city’s zoned capacity to drop from 10 million before the 1960s down to around 4 million. Los Angeles’s 3.9 million and growing population is quickly reaching this unnecessary and avoidable capacity limit. SB 10’s prohibition on downzoning is what earned it such negative efforts from anti-housing advocates, but is what gives this policy such potential to have meaningful and positive impacts on the housing crisis if implemented.
WHY SHOULD YOU SUPPORT SENATE BILL 10 DESPITE IT'S REMOVAL FROM HAP 2.0?
Though SB 10 has been tabled at the moment from being implemented within HAP 2.0, Our Time To Act United (OTTA United) alongside our community partners and neighbors, will still be advocating for its implementation. By showing continued support for SB 10, despite its removal from this policy package, we will demonstrate to the City Council that the majority of San Diego is serious about taking action that will treat housing as a human right. Sustained support will make our efforts to implement SB 10 in the future stronger.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?
The passage of this policy package is essential to solving the housing crisis. Although the housing crisis has a multitude of causes and potential solutions, fundamentally we must build more housing. It’s like we’re currently playing a game of musical chairs; if there are 10 chairs and 15 people, ultimately 5 people will be chair-less no matter how you redistribute it. The solution is to allow 5 more chairs to be added, with plans in place to add more chairs as more people join the game.
HOW CAN YOU CONTRIBUTE TOWARDS PASSING THESE POLICIES?
You can get involved with OTTA United and lend your support through public comment when HAP 2.0 goes up for a vote. We would love to have you join us in person, through Zoom, or by making an online comment voicing your support. As the meeting date for HAP 2.0 has not yet been released, you can show your support now through making a comment here, and we will submit it for you as soon as the date is announced.