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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
Local

City of San Diego
Measure M Referendum - Majority Approval Required

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Election Results

Passing

328,588 votes yes (66.41%)

166,171 votes no (33.59%)

Affordable Housing: Increasing the Limit of the Number of Units the City and Certain Public Agencies Are Allowed to Help Develop
— undefined

Shall the voters increase by 38,680 the maximum number of housing units the City and certain other public agencies are allowed to help develop, construct, or acquire for people with low incomes, without this ballot measure approving specific housing units, providing funds for development, removing requirements that otherwise apply, or taking any other action?

What is this proposal?

Pros & Cons — Unbiased explanation with arguments for and against

Information provided by League of Women Voters San Diego

The Situation

Article 34 of the State Constitution, adopted in 1950, requires voter approval for how much low-rent housing can be developed, constructed or acquired by a state public agency.

In four previous elections (1972, 1976, 1981, and 2002), City of San Diego voters have gradually raised the number of low-rent units approved for development to 10,500. Of this limit, approximately 3,247 approved (but undeveloped) units remain at this time.

The San Diego region’s most recent Regional Housing Needs Assessment (a report required by the state) concluded that a total of 49,180 affordable housing units will be needed in the City by 2020, for people earning low and very low incomes.

That number is 38,680 more than the 10,500 units currently approved for development.

The Proposal

What it would do

This measure would increase the capacity to construct up to 38,680 additional affordable housing units in the city.

This measure does not guarantee that the units will be built; they would still have to go through the permitting process, including environmental and committee and Council reviews.

 

Supporters say

  •  This measure will provide the legal authorization for the estimated 38,680 units that SANDAG has forecast will be needed by 2020.
  • This measure will provide low-cost housing for veterans, senior citizens, families and disabled San Diegans.
  • Four prior ballot measures authorized affordable units, but they are reaching capacity. Without this measure, there will be a halt in low-cost housing for low-income people.

Opponents say

  • Increasing the number of low-income units might exacerbate the concentration of low-income people in low-cost neighborhoods of San Diego, and do little to create low-income housing where job opportunities are.
  • The average cost of housing in San Diego is more than most middle-income people can afford. Why should low-income people be encouraged to live in San Diego, when even moderate-income people can't afford it?
  • 3,247 of the currently-approved 10,500 low-rent units have not yet been developed. That's about one-third of them. Raising the limit of approved units almost four-fold will not solve the problems that make low-rent projects unattractive to developers.

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Summary

San Diego City Attorney

Certain public agencies (including the City of San Diego, the Housing Authority of the City of San Diego, and the San Diego Housing Commission) are not allowed to help develop affordable housing units unless voters provide permission to do so. Specifically, without voter approval, public agencies may not provide assistance, financial or otherwise, to help “develop, construct, or acquire” housing units for people who lack the income necessary to live in “decent, safe, and sanitary dwellings, without overcrowding.” California voters approved this rule by ballot measure in 1950, which incorporated the rule into the California Constitution.

Only a majority of qualified voters can grant the agencies this authority regarding affordable housing. The law does not require separate voter approval to develop, construct, or acquire individual units, however; voters may approve a maximum number of units to satisfy the constitutional requirement. In previous elections (1972, 1976, 1981, and 2002), voters approved such increases. As a result, the total limit is currently 10,500 units. Of this limit, approximately 3,247 units remain at this time: the City is approaching the limit.

Voter approval of this measure would provide an increase of 38,680 units. Voters are being asked to approve that number because the San Diego region’s most recent Regional Housing Needs Assessment (a report required by the state) concluded that 38,680 more affordable housing units will be needed in the City by 2020 for people earning low and very low incomes.

If approved, this measure would change the numerical limit for affordable housing units by increasing by 38,680 the maximum number of housing units the City and certain other public agencies could help develop. This measure would not take any other action. 

Background

San Diego City Attorney

The City Council of the City of San Diego placed this measure on the ballot for voter consideration after hearing a report from the San Diego Housing Commission that the City is approaching the current affordable housing unit limit.

Article 34 of the California Constitution requires voter approval for the development, construction, or acquisition of a low rent housing project by a State public body, such as the City. The City is approximately 3,247 units away from reaching its current limit of 10,500 units. If approved, this measure would increase the limit on the number of affordable housing units the City is able to develop, construct, or acquire by 38,680 units, from 10,500 to 49,180. The increase of 38,680 units is based on a San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA), which identified it as the number of low and very low income units needed in the City by 2020. Coupled with the 3,247 units of remaining capacity, the additional 38,680 units would provide the City with a total remaining capacity of 41,927 units. If the City needs to increase its remaining capacity beyond the 41,927 units, it would be required to return to the voters for approval again.

Impartial analysis / Proposal

San Diego City Attorney

Under existing law, the City of San Diego and certain other public agencies will be allowed to help develop, construct, or acquire approximately 3,247 affordable housing units in the City for people with low incomes.

If this measure is approved by voters, the agencies would be allowed to help develop, construct, or acquire up to 38,680 units more than the current limit. If the measure is not approved, the agencies would be prohibited from helping to develop, construct, or acquire any more units than the current limit.

This measure would have no other effect on existing law.

This measure would not create an obligation to build any specific housing units. It would not grant approval for any particular development. It would not identify locations for the housing units.

This measure would not require public agencies to provide funding for the units or change any applicable regulations and processes regarding funding. It would not raise taxes.

This measure would not remove any requirements that otherwise might apply to the development of any particular project, such as requirements to obtain permits or analyze a project’s impact on the environment.

Financial effect

San Diego City Attorney

Approval of this measure would not raise taxes or authorize the expenditure of any funds. It also would not require or approve the development of specific affordable housing units. None of the City’s requirements for affordable housing projects would be eliminated, waived, or reduced. Affordable housing developments would still need to obtain appropriate permits, and go through the City’s standard public review process.

There is no fiscal impact associated with this ballot measure

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE M

 

There is a shortage of affordable housing in the City of San Diego for low-income families, military veterans, seniors, and individuals with disabilities.

This ballot measure, if approved, would allow the capacity to construct an additional 38,680 affordable rental housing units without raising taxes.

Please vote YES on Proposition M.

Here are the facts:

  • The City of San Diego needs an additional 38,680 affordable housing units for low-income residents by 2020, according to the 2011 San Diego Association of Governments’ Regional Housing Needs Assessment.
  • Without voter approval, it is possible that the construction of low-income housing units supported by government financing or assistance could be halted in the City of San Diego.
  • Affordable housing developments will still have to go through the permitting process, including community, environmental and San Diego City Council reviews.
  • This measure does not guarantee that these units will automatically be built. 
  • Passage of this measure does not raise taxes.

Background: Article 34 of the California State Constitution, adopted in 1950, requires that local voters authorize the development, construction, or acquisition of low-rent housing by a State public agency, such as the City of San Diego.

Voters approved four prior ballot measures (1972, 1976, 1981 and 2002) that authorized a total capacity of up to 10,500 affordable units in the City of San Diego, but the limit is approaching, with only 3,247 units of capacity left. Passage of this ballot measure would add 38,680 sorely needed units to the capacity, for a total remaining capacity of 41,927.

Please vote YES on Proposition M.

/s/

TODD GLORIA
City Councilmember, City of San Diego

AIMEE FAUCETT
Executive Vice President & COO, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce

HANEY HONG
President & CEO, San Diego County Taxpayers' Association

JEANNE BROWN
President, San Diego League of Women Voters

KEVIN FAULCONER
Mayor, City of San Diego

— San Diego County Registrar of Voters

Arguments AGAINST

ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE M

 

No argument against Measure M was filed in the office of the City Clerk.

— San Diego County Registrar of Voters

Replies to Arguments FOR

[None]

— San Diego County Registrar of Voters

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

[None]

— San Diego County Registrar of Voters

Who supports or opposes this measure?

Yes on Measure M

Organizations (2)

Elected & Appointed Officials (0)
No on Measure M

Organizations (1)

Elected & Appointed Officials (0)

More information

News (3)

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