S.D. City Council OKs Emergency Ordinance to Limit Home Building

Times Staff Writer

The San Diego City Council on Tuesday adopted a standby ordinance outlining the procedures it would use to limit home building citywide or in individual neighborhoods in the event of an emergency.

The 6-2 council vote gives the city legislation it will “put on the shelf” for use if population growth from new residential construction outstrips the capacity of roads, schools, sewers or public facilities, according to Planner Tom Farrar.

“Let’s hope we never have to use this,” said Deputy Mayor Judy McCarty, who, with Councilman Bruce Henderson, opposed the measure. Council members Abbe Wolfsheimer, Ron Roberts, Gloria McColl, Wes Pratt, Ed Struiksma and Bob Filner voted for the ordinance. Mayor Maureen O'Connor was absent.


The city is phasing out its current Interim Development Ordinance, which capped home construction at 8,000 units annually between Aug. 21, 1987, and Feb. 21 of this year. An additional 5,500 homes will be approved before May 21, when all controls on growth will be lifted.

Two measures to institute long-term caps on housing construction were defeated by city voters Nov. 8.

Under the legislation approved Tuesday, the council could consider imposing a new growth cap at the suggestion of a council member, a community planning group, the Planning Department staff, which will closely monitor residential construction, or others.

If it agreed that controls were needed, the council would set the number of homes it would allow over a given period, and planners would allocate building permits based on a priority list included in the ordinance. Exemptions include housing for the poor and senior citizens.