Last November, Councilmember Marti Emerald and a group of College Area residents criticized San Diego’s Rooming House and High Occupancy ordinances before the City Council. They believed the ordinances were not strong enough to limit the growing number of mini-dorms in the College Area and in nearby neighborhoods. Emerald and the residents asked the City Council to adopt stronger rules that would curb new rooming houses, or mini-dorms, in the College Area and nearby communities. The group asked the Council to create a mini-dorm ‘overlay zone’ for the College Area, impose a moratorium on home renovations on single family homes that have four or more bedrooms in the College Area, change off-street parking requirements, and require the annual $1000 fee for houses or apartments with six or more adult occupants be increased considerably. While no action was taken by the City Council, the City Attorney’s office said it will review Emerald’s proposals and bring the issue to the Council’s Smart Growth and Land Use Committee for discussion in the future. To date, the Committee has not discussed the proposals offered by Councilmember Emerald.
Most recently, a group of college area residents filed a lawsuit against City of San Diego, San Diego State University Foundation, and Capstone Development Partners over a proposed 91-unit, 351-bed apartment complex. The resident group accuses San Diego and SDSU of trying to build student housing in disguise of an apartment project, and contests the validity of a 2004 environmental study the city used for another smaller scale project. The group also says the development of the apartment project will cause the residents “irreparable harm” and violates the California Environmental Review ACT (CEQA). So far, the group was successful in getting the developer to reduce the number of units. The court handling the case is expected to make a ruling this July. The SDCAA will continue monitor the situation and report any updates.