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MOVE Alliance Endorses New Parking Requirements for Affordable Housing

by Stephen Herron, published

San Diego Affordable Housing

Move San Diego announces that MOVE Alliance endorses a City of San Diego ordinance to recalculate parking requirements for affordable housing. This endorsement is the first from the MOVE Alliance, which evaluates and endorses early stage development projects in the San Diego region. The initiative will allow affordable housing developers to maximize limited space with more units in transit priority areas.

According to Move San Diego Executive Director Elyse Lowe,

“One size fits all isn’t a smart growth strategy. This ordinance will allow affordable housing developments to maximize the number of homes near transit and other walkable amenities available by lowering the number of unused parking spots. This eliminates wasted space and inefficient uses of valuable land, and creates new opportunity for increasing much needed housing units in the City.”

The affordable housing parking regulations amendment to the municipal code stems from a study that the City of San Diego completed in 2010. According to the study report, data from the sample of 34 local affordable housing sites show that:

  • Parking demand for affordable units is roughly half of typical San Diego rental units
  • Demand varies with the type of affordable housing (family housing vs. single room occupancy)
  • Parking demand rises with the size of dwelling unit and higher income levels
  • Demand for parking is less in areas with frequent transit and walkable destinations
  • All of the studied developments supplied more peak overnight parking than spaces used

The resulting City ordinance would give empirically based parking rates for four different types of affordable housing: family, single-room occupancy, senior housing, and studio and one bedroom. This model accounts for resident, visitor, and staff parking, as well as a parking vacancy factor to account for special circumstances when demand is higher. In addition to testing the model, best practices from similar cities were studied, as well as input from focus groups.

“MOVE Alliance supports this City of San Diego ordinance as our first policy endorsement because it balances development with tailored requirements to meet the needs of the specific community. That’s smart growth,” said Lowe.

The new ordinance will be heard on the Tuesday, October 16, 2012 San Diego City Council docket under Item S500.

The MOVE Alliance continues to seek applications for proposed development projects that are in the entitlement phase. An application fee of $2,500 helps support the administration of the program, and is discounted for affordable housing developments. A program of Move San Diego, the MOVE Alliance partners include Move San Diego, Walk San Diego, the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, Bike San Diego, and the Council of Urban Design Professionals, and in addition to local experts on transportation, infill development, urban design, as well as environmental and community planning. To learn more and to download application details, visit

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