San Marcos has been growing consistently for nearly 30 years, going from a population of 55,000 in 2000 to almost 100,000 today.
San Marcos has benefited greatly from this growth. Our city is a great place to raise a family, get an education, and retire. However, all this growth has not come without costs.
Residents continually express concerns about traffic congestion on our local roads, schools that are at or near capacity, and the high price of housing, wondering how young people, hourly wage earners, and students will ever be able to live in the city where they grew up, work, or go to school. Due to the lack of attainable housing the percentage of residents under the age of 40 is in decline and those over the age of 65 increases.
As San Marcos continues to rise in prominence, its land becomes more valuable and the cost of constructing homes get more expensive. While increasing property values has many upsides – especially for those who own – San Marcos should not aspire to be a city only for the affluent and must provide housing opportunities for people of all incomes and ages. Right now, San Marcos’ housing supply is out of balance and offers little variety to our residents. We need a plan to change that.
RANDY'S PLAN FOR HOUSING
The city needs to focus on smaller infill development projects, especially areas close to city amenities such are restaurants and parks that encourage walkability and the use of transit. Encouraging the incremental construction of smaller, more urban style housing in the core of the city will increase access to affordable housing for prospective buyers and renters, and will provide viable options for middle income people and young families starting out. We simply cannot continue building dwellings over 2000 sq. ft. and expect affordability.
Emphasizing smaller, infill developments will not only increase affordability, it also keeps housing off the hillsides and can protect our native opens spaces. Preserving our open spaces is not just good for our quality of life, it is important for wildlife and for climate. Plant life, of course, has great value in removing carbon from the environment.
We also need to try and limit the purchase of our housing stock by institutional and other corporate investors. One of the (many) causes for high housing costs is the purchase of houses and condos (usually with cash) by large investors, who in turn make the property a rental, or flip it after making some repairs. In all these cases, a local person or family is prevented from getting in the market.
Every housing project presented to the city for approval should be considered on its own merits, and any individual or developer who wants to build a custom home or a small development will be given every chance. However, it will be the San Marcos’ housing philosophy that the affordability of any housing built for rent or sale will be an important consideration when approving or rejecting a housing project. San Marcos should approve housing the city needs not simply what a developer wants to build.
All new housing, however, must be accompanied by a transportation infrastructure plan. For decades now, the transportation infrastructure has not kept up with the growth in San Marcos, despite local politicians telling you how much they care during election season. In December 2021, SANDAG passed the 2021 Regional Plan, a comprehensive plan that, if built, would provide much needed transportation improvements and options to North County and San Marcos. Randy supports the plan (Rebecca Jones voted to kill it), and will advocate for our city to get the North County projects funded and built.
In 2018, when Randy opposed the Newland Sierra development that would have put over 2000 homes out just beyond Twin Oaks Valley - Rebecca Jones endorsed the project - the housing developers attacked Randy with a large independent expenditure campaign against him. He responded with a forceful video message to the housing developers, and then went on to win his election by a large margin. Randy is not afraid to stand up to housing developers and will continue to do so as mayor.
Read Randy's piece in the Voice of San Diego on housing.