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Assemblymember Ward Introduces Bill to Direct Redevelopment of Hillcrest DMV Site

AB 1635 passes first committee hearing

For immediate release:
Assemblymember Ward presents AB 1635 in the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – For almost 20 years, discussions to redevelop the Department of Motor Vehicles field office in the Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego have stalled. Assemblymember Chris Ward (D-San Diego), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development, has introduced AB 1635 to facilitate and streamline redevelopment of this location into an affordable housing, replacement DMV, and community benefit mixed-use project that will complement the City of San Diego’s Community Plan for the area with additional input from local groups. 

“With California in the midst of a housing crisis, this property represents a missed opportunity to maximize our housing outcomes and provide more housing for lower- and middle-income families,” said Assemblymember Ward (D-San Diego). “AB 1635 will provide clear expectations and an accelerated timeline to transform this property into more affordable housing and community benefit for San Diegans.”

In 2007, SB 754 (Kehoe) authorized the Department of General Services to lease or exchange three parcels of property owned by the DMV for up to 45 years, including the Hillcrest location. However, since SB 754 was enacted, no agreements have been executed and the property remains a deteriorating two-story building constructed in the early 1960s, while the surrounding Hillcrest neighborhood continues to be revitalized around it. Despite this authorization, attempts by the DMV in 2017 to replace the site with a DMV-only facility and fencing met fierce community opposition.

Utilizing every available property that is suitable for the construction of affordable housing is vital to solving California’s housing shortage. After nearly 20 years of inaction, AB 1635 will provide a clearer picture on how to move forward by updating SB 754’s law to require this location is used in part for affordable housing and maximized for its total redevelopment potential, on an accelerated timeline. 

“The DMV is situated on an important block in the heart of our LGBTQ empowerment district and a vital commercial corridor in our urban core,” said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. “AB 1685 will maximize the use of this state property and create much-needed new homes for San Diegans. I appreciate Assemblymember Ward building on actions I took in the Assembly to ensure that this site advances our vision of providing additional community benefits and addressing our housing affordability crisis. I am proud to have the City of San Diego sponsor this important bill.”

On Wednesday, AB 1635 passed the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development and will be taken up next week by the Assembly Committee on Appropriations. It would need to pass the full Assembly by the end of this month to head to the State Senate for consideration.