Mt. Etna


Timeline of the Project (as best we can determine):

  • County establishes an Innovative Housing Initiative. June, 2017, an agenda item recommends “establishing an Innovative Trust Fund to be administered by the Health and Human Services Agency, Housing and Development Community Services (HCDS). The fund will include an initial investment of $25 million to be administered by HCDS over a 5 year period.”

  • Mount Etna was selected along with another property as a result of a 6/20/17 request by the Board of Supervisors to the staff to find County owned properties suitable for low income housing to help alleviate the housing crisis.

  • The Board of Supervisors of San Diego County voted unanimously to approve development of Mount Etna along with another property on 2/13/18.  Item #8

  • When the project was approved by the Board of Supervisors, the recommendation of the Chief Bureaucrat (Chief Administrator) was specifically to have 50% of the units be low income.

  • A feasibility study was created 2/9/18 by consulting firm AECOM (same company that presented at the CCPG on 9/16) which recommend rezoning Mount Etna to increase the number of units in order for the project to be more economically feasible.

  • RFP drafted and released.

Think of this Project as two parts: The Rezoning and The Development.


Rezoning is the immediate concern. The County has to submit the request for rezoning (as it is an amendment to the Community Plan),to the Clairemont Community Planning Group(CCPG). CCPG will listen to the request, review, and provide a recommendation to the City. What is concerning is that the request is asking to change the review process from a discretionary to a ministerial review (pg 6 of the RFP). This change in review removes the CCPG from the process. The CCPG is the voice of the community. If approved, changes that need to occur - in height, for example- a city staffer would approve, instead of requiring a recommendation from the CCPG. The reality is the City Council can ignore the recommendations, but it will be seen as ignoring their voters.

Sign our petition to stop the County from rezoning without seeing the finalized details of the project.


From the chosen developer…

  • The plan from Chelsea is a vision or framework is that subject to adjustments based upon community feedback. It's more a starting point than an end point.

    That being said Chelsea framework for Mount Etna is as follows all numbers are approximate

    The proposed project is an “Intergenerational Community” with two adjoining components. The first is Seniors project along with a new seniors center. The second component is a family community with up to 25% of the homes set aside for developmentally disabled residents.

    ~400 units

    ~150 for fixed income seniors

    ~250 for low income families.

    100% affordable housing

    5 stories tall

    height will be roughly 60' depending on design

    The building is a wrap with a parking garage in the middle and units surrounding the parking like a donut.

    The senior population will all be low - moderate income / fixed income residents some of which may be at risk of homelessness. For both components, the plan anticipated all of the tenants being <60% of the area median income however due to a recent funding rule change people in the 60-80% of AMI may be included as well. The mix between those making <60% of AMI and 60-80% is not settled yet.

    Senior side of building:

    ~80% 1 Bed Room units

    ~20% 2 Bed Room units

    This side faces Genesee. There will be a senior rec facility that is open to the public for use and the entrance will face Genesee.

    Senior services will be provided by Serving Seniors . No other retail space is included.

    Low Income Family:

    50% 1 bed room units

    25% 2 bed room units

    25% 3 bed room units

    Up to 25% of units will be for people with development disabilities a significant portion of which will be people with brain injuries. These could be families or a single adult. The services provider for this population will be Southern California Housing Collaborative


    There is a large building footprint but there will be a setback and residential pods that will break up the facade. Artistic renderings will be shared at the community meeting.


    Chelsea believes based on their experience with this type of housing there will be sufficient parking to meet the needs of the population without impacting street parking. The numbers and reasoning will be discussed at the community meeting.