Adobe Stock/Tomasz Zajda

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Clairemont community in San Diego is emerging as a key battleground in the city's efforts to provide more affordable housing and shrink the homeless population. A proposed 52-unit complex for formerly homeless people located within the community was squelched by uproar as the developer changed gears and built housing for senior citizens. A proposed 450-apartment, low-income complex being proposed nearby is also now at risk.

Despite objections from hundreds of residents, the San Diego Planning Commission this month took the first step toward rezoning the land, which is necessary for the 450-unit project to move forward. Planning Commissioners said the project, which is near the intersection of Genesee and Balboa avenues, is in an ideal location near retail jobs and transit.

They also said that San Diego’s shortage of new housing, which has reached 150,000 units by some estimates, is driving local rents too high for ordinary people. The commissioners criticized the Clairemont leaders for raising the same kind of objections that many other communities raise when they would prefer a much-needed project get built elsewhere.

“It’s always the same – ‘good project, good goal, just not here,’” Commissioner James Whalen told the residents opposing the project. Whalen warned residents to soften their stance or potentially end up with high-rise, low-income housing with zero parking spots that would be encouraged under proposed state laws aimed at solving California’s housing crisis.

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