Santa Fe Group is a private real estate development company operating in Southern California since 1997 dedicated to the design and construction of in-fill projects in metropolitan areas.
Del Sol Village is located within the Otay Mesa Community in the City of San Diego. The 14.08-acre Site consists of two parcels;
APN 645-040-24-00 and 645-040-27-00. The project site is about a half-mile northeast of the intersection of I-805 and SR-905 and less than two miles from the U.S.-Mexico border.
The proposed in-fill project is bordered by SR-905 to the south; single-family homes to the west; Vista Del Mar Middle School to the east; and the future extension of Del Sol Boulevard to the north, which will bisect the project site.
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The 2014 Otay Mesa Community Plan Update designates the land use as Open Space. The Site is zoned as AR-1-1, which allows for residential uses of 1 unit per 10 acres in accordance with the City’s Land Development Code. The Site is within the California Terraces Specific Plan Area.
The project site is also located within the Multiple-Species Conservation Program (“MSCP”) area and the City of San Diego MSCP Subarea Plan, and most of the Site is within the Subarea Plans’ Multi-Habitat Planning Area (“MHPA”) preserve system. The Site is within the Airport Land Use Compatibility Overlay Zone of Brown Field.
The Project requires a Land Use Amendment, Rezone, Site Development Permit, Planned Development Permit, Tentative Map, and a possible MHAP Boundary Line Adjustment.
Del Sol Village was conceived with home affordability in mind for moderate income home buyers, including first-time buyers, San Diego’s service men and women, single-parent families and retirees looking to downsize in an appealing community complimentary to the existing neighborhood.
There are high costs associated with the proposed development, including the construction of Del Sol Boulevard, extension grading, infrastructure, land mitigation and other considerations. Therefore, a high-density development is necessary for the project to be successful. The development application submitted to DSD in January 2022 proposes 54 townhomes and 350 apartment homes.
The Townhomes proposed are Mediterranean style tri-level structures with large windows, multiple balconies, stonework, ironwork and canopies and planters. Residents will also enjoy rooftop patios with ample views, including ocean views.
Each building is comprised of adjoining townhomes. The buildings will be grouped in pairs separated by a courtyard.
Stairways located within the courtyard will lead to second-floor entrances of the inside units. The outside units will be feature side-entrance stairways.
Floor plans will include two, three and four bedrooms and at least two baths with living areas totaling between 1,800 to 2,200 sq. ft.
Each unit will feature a two-car garage with single car garage door entries.
The Apartment Homes proposed are also Mediterranean style with similar use of large windows, multiple balconies, stonework, ironwork, canopies, and planters. The rooftop will be a useable area with patios and entertainment facilities.
Front Elevation (facing Del Sol Blvd.)
Virtually all units will have a scenic view afforded by the two-wing design of the structure. The mix of units will include micro units and studio flats making the homes more accessible for middle-income residents. Other floor plans will include one, two and three bedrooms. In addition, the goal is to allocate as much as 15-20% of the units to low to moderate-income housing. Underground parking will be provided for residents as well as guests.
Amenities will include a pool and spa, patios, a separate fitness facility, a tot lot and ample green spaces. As previously mentioned, the rooftop will also provide areas for patios, sun decks, and entertainment facilities. Meeting areas and private workspaces will be provided adjacent to the lobby of the building.
Front & Side Elevation
Originally, the development project was submitted for Preliminary Review with a site plan consisting of 112 town homes. However, after conversations with City Planning and other parties, it became clear that the emphasis on new development in the City of San Diego is focused on higher densities. In an effort to fulfill the needs of the City, the development team redesigned the development project over the course of the past year to provide a substantial amount of additional housing units with the inclusion of apartment homes.
Building locations were carefully considered. The town homes are set back 70 feet from the existing residential community with ample landscape to respect their privacy while the apartment homes are located on the far side of the project site adjacent to the middle school.
This image on the right demonstrates the view from Vista Del Mar Middle School looking down on the proposed location of the apartment homes. The existing slope will mostly screen the structure from view.
Santa Fe Group is looking forward to working with the Department of Parks and Recreation to create a comprehensive plan to install hiking trails leading from Del Sol Boulevard to the open space north of the proposed road, including protective fencing and sitting areas, and educational signage along the trails to inform the public about the local flora and fauna. A 360-degree viewpoint can be made accessible by the hiking trails for the community to share located just north and west of the project site on City property. Santa Fe Group would also like to explore the possibility of adding a pedestrian bridge leading to the hiking trails.
Santa Fe Group is willing to modify the site plan to adapt to the changing needs of the City and community, including increasing or decreasing the number of units or re-evaluating product types as long as the project remains economically feasibility.
There are costly aspects of the project, including the construction of Del Sol Boulevard, the extensive grading and dirt export, road infrastructure, weighty conditions imposed by the Department of Parks and Recreation, which were discussed during the initial Preliminary Review, and the acquisition of additional land for mitigation per the requirements of the MHPA, which is not readily available. These factors will ultimately impact the ability to provide affordable housing to the public and even have the potential to nix the project.
Construction of Del Sol Boulevard
The Project site is located in between two existing roadway sections of Del Sol Boulevard on its east and west sides, with a planned future extension of the road bisecting the Site. The extension of Del Sol Boulevard is an expensive undertaking. It is a 50’ wide roadway that will require extensive grading and slope remediation. Underground utilities including water lines, sewer lines, and dry utilities will significantly add to the cost.
Per the Public Facilities Financial Plan and Facilities Benefit Assessments prepared by the Planning & Development Review Department Long Range Planning in the early to mid-2000s, the connection of Del Sol Boulevard was addressed between Ocean View Hills Parkway and Dennery Road.
With the completion of the Dolphin Cove/Riviera Del Sol property to the west of the project site, the City’s intent was to build the extension. Funding was set aside, and it was anticipated that the construction of the road would occur in the mid-2000s.
Del Sol Boulevard
Del Sol Boulevard
VISTA DEL MAR
360 View Point
During this time, the adjacent property to the east of the project site was owned by Pardee Homes and was entitled for a 200+ unit town home development. However, it was later purchased by the San Ysidro School District for the construction of the Vista Del Mar Middle School. The school’s purchase facilitated the building of another small section of Del Sol Boulevard to its current extent and terminus to the east of the project site. This further lessened the financial and construction burden on the City to complete the extension of the road. However, the road was never built.
The image on the left is the East Terminus of Del Sol Boulevard fronting the Vista Del Mar Middle School. Obviously, there is a stark difference in elevations between the existing road and the project site into which the road will be extended.
It is esimated that approximately 91,300 CY of dirt will need to be exported from the site.
Nonetheless, the developer is prepared to move forward on the construction of Del Sol Boulevard including all required utilities infrastructure immediately upon approval of the road design and grading plan by the City, and execution of a Reimbursement Agreement. The developer along with its affiliates maintains the following licenses with the California State Contractors License board:
B- General Building
C12 Earthwork & Paving
C21 Building Moving & Demolition
Multiple Habitat Planning Area (MHPA)
The development project is 100% within the MHPA, which limits development to 30% of the site or 4.22 acres (14.08 total acres x 30%). The current proposed site plan encompasses about 11 acres which exceeds the total allowable developable acres by 6.78 acres (11 – 4.22) and requires land mitigation efforts.
Under the MHPA, the developer is required to replace or mitigate the 6.78 acres by acquiring other qualified properties from landowners adjacent to existing MHPA land. The acres needed to be acquired are not necessarily based on a 1:1 ratio. The ratio may be higher depending on the type of plant of animal species being displaced by the development site. Ratios can be 2:1, 4:1 or even 10:1. So, replacing 6.78 acres may mean having to acquire 10, 15, 20 acres or more of qualified acreage.
Discussions have also been held regarding the acquisition of a Boundary Line Adjustment (BLA) to remove the development site from the MHPA and append the proposed mitigation land. The BLA process is time consuming, costly, and unpredictable. Making matters worse, qualified mitigation land is no longer readily available either through private landowners or mitigation land banks.
Del Sol Village will improve the lives of the residents of Otay Mesa. The completion of Del Sol Boulevard would provide the Vista Del Mar Middle School and Ocean View Hills High School with much-needed access by including sidewalks for school children, easing traffic congestion, shortening parents’ driving distances to and from school, and most importantly, providing life-saving secondary access for emergency vehicles to serve the schools and community. The Project would also address the current shortage in housing units and affordable housing.