Many residents of Southern California know very little about a state mandate that affects housing along the California coast. Yet, the California Coastal Commission is pushing hard to ensure the mandate is enforced. What does this mandate require? Ensuring affordable lodging options are available along the California coast to all people regardless of income. Of course, this mandate is raising a few eyebrows among those who maintain that the value of prime real estate cannot be devalued by such a law.

Enforcing the Affordable Housing Mandate

Set into action in the 1970’s, the state’s Coastal Act set many plans into motion regarding the state’s coastline. One part of this act included a section mandating the state to protect the coast while also providing lower-cost visitor facilities “where feasible”. The act stipulated that this could include overnight lodging. In the 40 years since the act was put into place, the commission has had mixed successes in its implementation. The commission has also faced ongoing pressure to swap out budget motels with pricey bay and ocean-view resorts.

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While the little-known mandate has managed to fall under the radar of many Californians, it may come into play with a newly proposed hotel project. Soon, the commission will be looking at plans for a 175-room hotel overlooking a marina on Harbor Island. The $30 million project is part of a larger plan to redevelop the eastern end of the Port of San Diego peninsula. One factor that could stand between the project and its fruition is the fact that it does not offer a strong guarantee of lower-cost accommodation options once the area is built out with upscale hotels. As such, the commission is currently stating it will recommend denial of the project.

More than Words

Of course, whether or not the mandate will actually be put into real action remains to be seen. In 2010, the Hotel del Coronado won state approval to add 144 rooms to its luxury ocean-view resort. As part of the deal, the hotel agreed to write a check for more than $1 million to go toward the construction of a hostel. To this day, the hostel has yet to be built. Furthermore, with development plans underway all along the coast, the commission is finding itself forced to reassess the policy. Not only is there a possibility that it simply isn’t reasonable, but the policy also has yet to produce any significant amount of lodging options for middle-class people.

The money paid by Hotel del Coronado and other developers has gone to the commission in the form of affordable lodging fees. To date, the commission has collected more than $19 million, but nearly $10 million of those dollars have yet to be invested. Furthermore, affordable lodging has yet to be provided in many areas along the cost. Of course, this is partially due to the fact that mixing high-end and low-end accommodations is undesirable. As such, the commission is reportedly looking at ways to help existing budget hotels in need of upgrades or partnering with state parks in order to offer innovative camping options.

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  1. 2 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 2,691 sq ft
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    Home size: 4,432 sq ft
    Lot size: 6,969 sqft
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    Home size: 2,732 sq ft
    Lot size: 2,613 sqft
  4. 6 beds, 6 baths
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    Lot size: 8,276 sqft

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