San Diego Expands Transit Oriented Zoning From a Half-Mile to a Mile

A recent package of code changes by the city of San Diego will make it possible to build high-rise residential buildings and accessory dwelling units in larger areas around public transit.

2 minute read

February 23, 2023, 11:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


The city of San Diego recently approved an ordinance that will allow high-rise apartment buildings and accessory dwelling units in a larger portion of the city by expanding the boundaries of zoning for transit oriented development from a half-mile to a mile radius around transit stations. Specifically, the expanded zoning districts will allow high-rise apartment buildings and accessory dwelling units on more parcels in the city.

David Garrick last week broke the news of the ordinance’s approval for the San Diego Union-Tribune and Globe St. also picked up the news this week. Planetizen shared news of the ordinance in January, before it went up for approval by the San Diego City Council.

Garrick’s article provides more insight into the debate that preceded the 5-4 vote that approved the ordinance. Opponents on the City Council argued that one-mile is too far to walk, and the ordinance would create congestion due to the additional car trips created by new residential density. Proponents argues that the zoning change would create opportunities for more housing affordable at low- and middle-incomes.

As noted by Garrick, the zoning changes discussed here were included in a package of 84 total municipal code changes. “The other changes include outlawing storage facilities in prime industrial areas, expanding where tasting rooms are allowed and making downtown more family-friendly with new incentives for three-bedroom apartments and child care businesses,” and “Additional changes approved Tuesday as part of the annual code update include tougher rules for new projects vulnerable to sea-level rise and stronger wildfire prevention rules for climate-friendly energy storage facilities.”

Garrick’s article, linked below, suggests that the zoning change came about as a response to pressure from state housing regulators during the Regional Housing Needs Assessment process, which has been upending planning the state of California for the past year, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023 in The San Diego Union-Tribune

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