View this email in your browser

SoNo Neighborhood Alliance
November 2021 News 



This Month’s North Park

Planning Committee (NPPC) Meeting 

The agenda for the Tuesday, Nov. 16 NPPC Zoom meeting at 6:30 pm has two action items: an election (sitting Board Members only) to fill a vacant Board seat, and an Ad Hoc Subcommittee presentation of “a set of proposed amendments to the bylaws to clarify and improve language especially as it relates to elections.” 

The link for the full meeting agenda, including registration for the virtual Zoom meeting, is:

Takeaway from This Month’s Greater Golden Hill
Planning Committee Meeting 

Appeal of Controversial Project
on Iconic Canyon to Focus on “Factual Error”

A five-year battle to protect the 32nd Street Canyon, widely celebrated as a model of habitat rejuvenation, entered a new phase when the GGHPC voted unanimously to appeal the City’s decision to allow a builder to double the “floor area ratio” housing construction there. 

Golden Hill environmentalists contended that the Planning Commission approved the project using faulty biology and hydrology data. The canyon’s vegetation and creek flow have made it a natural engine for enhancing air and water quality, and an independent site analysis by Dr. Jon Rebman, a San Diego Natural History Museum taxonomist, has found that the parcel is home to such rare species as the “listed” coast white lilac. 

Community leaders also argue that the City is favoring the interests of new residents over the safety of current residents. Owners of a Bancroft Street house below the project site will lose access during construction. And, while the City has required four homeowners to pay for street repairs, residents of the two new 1,700-square-foot houses will not be required to pay. 

Other issues of concern included the likelihood of erosion of the site’s steep hillside causing a high risk of collapse. Here are excerpts from the discussion: 

“Seventeen years ago, the canyon was an epicenter for vagrancy and illegal dumping. The community raised a half-million dollars to do canyon rejuvenation on our own without help from the City. Hundreds of neighbors got down on their hands and knees, and [a task force] started a children’s [canyon curriculum] project. [We] won a lot of awards, including two Congressional awards. The Planning Commission and City staff should have known these things. We’re hoping to get some help from our political leaders, including Mayor Gloria, who also gave us an award.” 

Neighbors working on the 32nd Street Canyon

“We represent people in this community who have, out of love for the environment, invested their time and resources and got accolades for that. The City is so environmentally conscious that we have a Climate Action Plan where we unilaterally put in bike lanes left and right. But when it comes to building on a canyon, that’s no big deal.” 

“I’ve studied the plan and walked the site, and I have questions about the ability to do this construction without incredible detrimental effect on the people down the hill. One of the appeals can be: Show us a ‘means and methods’ plan of how you’re going to carry out the work, maintain access for everybody, including fire, prevent a drainage disaster when it rains, and take care of the street when you’re finished, because the street will be destroyed.” 

“Laying out the strongest possible case that this project might collapse will have utility down the line because when it does collapse, that needs to be in the public record, so the City can’t say, ‘If only there had been some way we could have known.’ It’s incumbent upon [GGHPC] to lay out the worst-case scenario so there will be political consequences.” 

A motion to “appeal the hearing officer’s decision based on factual error” passed by a 10-0 vote (with 3 recusals). The group also reached consensus that District 3 Councilmember Stephen Whitburn ( should be implored by constituents to join the effort to safeguard the canyon.

*SoNo Neighborhood Alliance is a non-profit that informs and engages residents of North Park and Golden Hill/South Park about neighborhood quality-of-life issues that include:​ ​​land use and development, traffic, green space, parking, and code compliance.​

Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Facebook
Website Website

Copyright © 2021 SoNo Alliance, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp