San Diego has grappled with skyrocketing housing prices for years, and we’re still nowhere close to coming up with a solution that promises sustainable change. City Councilwoman Georgette Gomez has spearheaded a questionable new series of amendments to the city’s existing inclusionary housing regulations over the past few months and finally haggled her way to a bill that was accepted by a majority of her fellow Councilmembers.
Developers decried the original version of Gomez’s proposal, calling its bounds too radical and threatening to flee the San Diego market in favor of those in other states with lighter restrictions, resulting in a housing deficit and slowing overall housing development.
They weren’t wrong—increased regulation would hurt the San Diego housing market more than it would help. A study done by Point Loma Nazarene University revealed that convoluted layers of government regulation are to blame for the high cost of newly built housing in San Diego. The time delay in construction caused by high regulation has resulted in higher costs across the board for consumers. According to the study, even a three percent cut in regulations could benefit consumers significantly, creating $2.5 billion more in income, a $3.1 billion boost to the economy, and 37,331 more jobs.
Unfortunately, the Democrats in power are insistent on passing more taxes, subsidies, and regulations, believing tighter control to be the only way to fix an inflated housing economy. Regulations are too tight, not giving builders enough leeway or incentive to even make an attempt at fixing the existing housing problems in San Diego.
Councilman Scott Sherman, who voted against the proposal, reiterated his argument that providing incentives, which have been proven to work in the neighborhood of Grantville, should be the city’s model, rather than endless red tape.
“A bad policy with small improvements is still bad policy,” Sherman explained. “My colleagues passed this measure with good intentions, however, they are hurting the very people they are trying to help by increasing the cost of housing production.”
We can’t be settling for a so-so solution. Though Mayor Faulconer is trying his best to make progress possible, Gomez’s plan is not only flawed, but counterproductive. If City Council Democrats can’t listen to the needs of their constituents, they’ll destroy the already vulnerable housing market. Though it’s necessary to expedite housing supply to meet demand, this solution won’t result in anything but more suffering for low-income residents.