City Takes Steps To Attract New Housing

Housing developers may take a new interest in Holtville after action by the city council Monday night.

The council is working on amending its zoning ordinances to allow more housing units to be built in a given space. The higher density will help make developments more profitable, and hopefully make Holtville a place that builders want to come to.

Currently, the minimum residential lot size in the city is 6,000 square feet. That will be lowered to 5,500 square feet in R-1, or single family residential, zones.

A relatively small 500 square feet may not seem like a big deal but it can be to a developer interested in building hundreds of homes in a new subdivision, said City Planner Justina Arce.

The only part of the zoning amendments that will likely have an immediate effect are changes to R-2, or multi-family, lots. “We have a lot of them,” Arce told the council. The problem is that many of the lots are older and smaller, and the change will allow property owners to build second units on some of them.

The changes are all part of updates the city is undertaking to
some of its long-term planning documents. This includes the General Plan and Service Area Plan.

The General Plan hasn’t had a comprehensive update since 1991. While there haven’t been many changes in Holtville in that time, Arce pointed out that there have been changes in state law that affects how Holtville has to do things.

The Service Area Plan covers parts of the county outside the city limits that the city may someday annex or provide services to. While city officials had hoped to extend this out to at least Interstate 8 to the south, the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) seems intent on holding the line at Edwards Road.

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