San Diego Villa Encantada, Encanto Neighborhoods TOD

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Case Study – San Diego Villa Encantada, Encanto Neighborhoods TOD

Place-type: Urban Neighborhood, City Center


Located in the Encanto neighborhood, Villa Encantada is the redevelopment of an underutilized parking lot (163-space MTS surface parking lot) next to a trolley station in eastern San Diego. It is the first implementation of the Southeast San Diego Specific Plan, which calls for mixed-use villages next to transit stations in the Encanto neighborhood. It is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2018. The redevelopment site will include 67 family apartments, MTS replacement parking (100 spaces), and 1,000 sf of retail.

Villa Encantada includes 95 below-grade residential parking spaces and 14 at-grade podium parking spaces shared between the residential and commercial tenants. Parking was determined through an independent third-party traffic impact analysis and City of San Diego Municipal Code requirements.

The site is a priority site in the Housing Commission Three-Year Work Plan and a core “Village Area” and key corridor in the Encanto Neighborhoods Community Plan.


  • Predominantly low-income, Hispanic population in a low-density residential community
  • MTS trolley line bisects the neighborhood. It’s service frequency and cost is comparable to BART
  • Redevelopment of an underutilized parking lot next to the trolley station

Policies/Ordinances that Contributed to Project Success

The City of San Diego developed and approved standards and incentives for TOD Village District to enhance the success of affordable housing projects. The City reduced parking requirements by 25% of spaces per dwelling unit for transit station areas or very low-income housing areas within multi-family residential land use, and by as much as 70% of spaces per 1000 square foot for commercial, offices, and mixed- use land uses.

Additionally, the City of San Diego’s Affordable Housing Parking Study (2011) helped determine the number of parking spaces for the Villa Encantada project.


The Encanto neighborhoods TOD projects are relatively new with construction work still ongoing. Therefore, information on the impact of the project is not yet available.

Indicators of Success

The economic impacts of TOD in a mixed land use context include effects on property tax revenues, local sales tax revenues, net job creation, and property values. Since the Encanto Neighborhood TOD project is still under development, there isn’t a comprehensive cost/benefit analysis of success.

Challenges and Lessons Learned

The Encanto Community Plan includes rezoned land uses designated for affordable housing with reduced parking requirements for the new TOD projects. The City was not able to reduce the parking requirements to zero since many residents expressed the need to use automobiles for some trips, such as driving their kids to school.

Residents in the community expressed concern about the changes to the community character in their neighborhoods. Because of this, the City of San Diego did not adopt a mixed-use mandate for new projects in the Encanto Community Plan.

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