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

Large historic homes and white picket fences line a street.

The End of Single-Family Zoning in Arlington County, Virginia

Arlington County is the latest jurisdiction in the country to effectively end single-family zoning.

March 23, 2023 - The Washington Post

Amtrak Acela Express train passing through Harrison station in Newark, New Jersey

‘Train Daddy’ Andy Byford to Oversee Amtrak’s High-Speed Rail Efforts

Byford, who formerly ran NYC Transit and Transport for London, could bring renewed vigor to the agency’s plans to expand regional rail in the United States.

March 28, 2023 - StreetsBlog NYC

Buses in downtown Seattle on the dedicated 3rd Avenue bus lanes

Seattle Bus Lane Cameras Capture Over 100,000 Violations

An automated traffic enforcement pilot program caught drivers illegally using transit lanes more than 110,000 times in less than a year.

March 28, 2023 - Axios

View of Statue of Liberty with New York City skyline in background

Immigration Grows, Population Drops in Many U.S. Counties

International immigration to the country’s most populous areas tripled even as major metropolitan areas continued to lose population.

March 31 - The New York Times

Detroit Sports Arena

$616 Million in Development Incentives Approved for District Detroit

The “Transformational Brownfield” incentives approved by the Detroit City Council for the $1.5 billion District Detroit still require approval by the state.

March 31 - Detroit Free Press

A red sign reads, “Welcome to New Canaan.”

Affordable Housing Development Rejected for Lack of Third Staircase in Connecticut

The New Canaan Planning Commission rejected a development proposal, including 31 below-market-rate apartments, for lack of a third staircase, among other reasons, at a time when advocates are pushing to relax two-staircase requirements.

March 31 - Stamford Advocate

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

HUD’s 2023 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.