February 1, 2018 – SDUT – David Garrick reports – San Diego has a new plan to simultaneously help ease its housing crisis and get commuters off the road: begin allowing more combination “live-work” spaces in select neighborhoods across the city.
When dentists, accountants and comic store owners can live in the same places where they operate their businesses, officials hope, it will increase the city’s supply of affordable housing and help fight climate change by eliminating their need to commute.
“The reality is people are living and working differently,” said Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who is spearheading the proposal. “By making zoning less restrictive, we can increase our housing supply, lower commute times and work toward our climate action goals.”
The looser regulations for live-work spaces are among more than a dozen strategies the mayor began pursuing last year to help solve the city’s severe shortage of housing affordable for residents with low and middle incomes.
Live-work spaces are already allowed in a limited number of San Diego neighborhoods, but Faulconer wants to roughly double the acreage zoned for them by adding regional commercial areas and some neighborhood retail zones.
The loosened zoning would also allow live-work spaces in many parts of downtown, Hillcrest, South Park and City Heights.
Adding more live-work spaces could help the city reach the goals of its ambitious climate action plan, which requires a sharp drop in the number of people commuting by car in coming years.
“It’s a huge thing,” said Nicole Capretz, executive director of nonprofit Climate Action Campaign and the primary author of the city’s climate plan. “Allowing people to live closer to where they work means they’re going to have a smaller carbon footprint, so it tackles two issues — housing and transportation.”
The city’s plan to meet its commuting goals includes sharp increases in people who get to work by walking, bicycling or mass transit.
Live-work spaces eliminate the need for those options, Lowe said during a Tuesday interview at City Hall.
“It’s a double whammy,” she said. “If someone lives where they work, they’re not commuting — they’re off the road.”
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