Mayor Sam Abed likes to rationalize developments like Lilac Hills and Safari Highlands Ranch, developments that will abominably destroy habitat and farmland, by avowing (over and over again) that the population growth in San Diego County is twice the growth of housing. This is pure manure.
In the year 2015, San Diego County population grew by around 28,000 people, 25,000 in the number of births within the county, 45,000, less the number of deaths, 30,000, and about 3,000 people moving into the county. http://www.cbs8.com/story/30771119/san-diego-countys-population-grows-by-28000 . The national average of people per household is 2.63, so that growth would theoretically require some 10,600 or so new housing units. http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/HSD310214/00
In July of 2015, the Union Tribune reported that housing permits could top 10,000 for the 2015. http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2015/jul/02/housing-county-permits/ At the present time, Zillow lists 8,379 homes for sale in San Diego County. Zillow’s listing for rentals is less abundant. Which emphasizes the point that the crisis in San Diego County’s housing is not the amount of housing, it is the cost of housing.
Folks like Abed, and Councilman Ed Gallo with his domino theory of housing, argue that the more homes that are built, the lower the price of housing. This basic rule of economics is valid, but doesn’t apply to San Diego County. As UCSD economist Dr. Richard Carson has pointed out, there are two ways in which San Diego County can go. It can be built out to resemble Toyko or Hong Kong, and the prices of housing will continue to rise, or growth can be managed and the prices of housing will continue to rise, because San Diego County is such a desirable place to live. Building more homes will attract more businesses, more businesses will bring in more employees, and the endless cycle will continue.
Housing projects like Lilac Hills and other proposed General Plan Amendment projects now making their way through the county’s process, will not lower the price of housing. The only way to do that is through construction of more low-income housing, public housing, socialist housing if you will—anathema to Abed and his cohorts. In the county’s current General Plan, there are 72,683 housing units that could be built in the unincorporated county, without any General Plan Amendment.
San Diego County is home to more endangered species than any other county in the nation. Just as my right to shake my fist ends at your nose, the right of developers to destroy habitat and farmland should end where the rights of future generations to enjoy wildlife as it is today begins, and it begins today.