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A view of downtown San Diego.Sandy Huffaker for The New York Times
The fight for more housing has a new war room in San Diego.
Increasingly, even well-off professionals are finding they can no longer afford to live in the San Diego area. In October, the county’s median home price was the highest in a decade —$507,500— according to CoreLogic, a data analysis company.
And one reason for the lack of construction? The residents of San Diego.
In many cases, housing proposals fail because residents pressure officials to reject them on the grounds that they would spoil neighborhood character.
About six months ago, frustration over San Diego’s inability to lift its housing stock led to the formation ofHousing You Matters, a coalition that includes business, building and environmental organizations.
The group has raised about $50,000 toward its mission to break the housing impasse through research and advocacy. Mary Lydon, the group’s project consultant, said everybody needs to step back and think about the big picture.
“We have to come up with a story that connects the dots of where great cities are headed and what you need to have to be competitive,” she said.
Housing You Matters appears to represent San Diego’s first formal organization of so-called Yimbys — an acronym for “Yes in My Backyard” and a wordplay on Nimby, or “Not in My Backyard.”
The San Diego advocates say they are challenging an attitude that flared during a recent housing battle in Poway, about 20 miles from downtown San Diego.
A project was proposed to build 22 units of affordable housing for veterans on a vacant lot in town.
Atan emotional hearingon Nov. 15, several residents attested to their admiration of veterans, but many also denounced the plan. It would be an eyesore and a traffic nightmare, they said.
“Are we going to have any open land left in Poway?” Tom Scott, a 40-year resident, asked the City Council. “Or are we going to build on it?”
The project was rejected with a 3-to-2 vote.
Many of San Diego’s Yimbys are millennials who say they’re fed up with spending upward of 40 percent of their income on housing.
“The older people, they already have their house,” said Chance Shay, 28, who became a father last year. “Now that they have their homes, they’re saying, ‘Hey, I don’t want a bunch of other houses built. I like my green space.’”
The debate seems likely to grow more heated.
By 2050, the San Diego region is expected to add nearly a million people who will drive demand for an additional 330,000 housing units,according to government data.
Ms. Lydon noted that much of that population growth is expected to come from families within the region. “So, these are our children,” she said. “We have to figure out how to house them.”
About Colleen K. Cotter - mySanDiegoAgent Realty Group
The mySanDiegoAgent Realty Group provides professional real estate consultation in the areas of residential, income properties, luxury rentals, short sales, first time home Buyers, real estate for senior citizens, real estate issues related to divorce, military and corporate relocation. We are experts in downtown San Diego and coastal properties especially Coronado, Encinitas and Point Loma, downtown lofts and condos, urban planning and sports team seasonal placements.
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