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Takeaway from Greater Golden Hill Planning Committee Meeting

Development Code Changes Would Weaken
Environmental Protection
A proposed change to the City’s Land Development Code (LDC) will significantly lower the review requirement for City projects that impact environmentally sensitive lands (ESLs).  Any deviations from the ESL policy would only require a Level 2 review rather than the current Level 5. This would mean more negative impacts on hillside and habitat parcels that are critical for fire safety, water quality, slope stability, and endangered species protection.
In a letter to City officials, past GGHPC chair Kathy Vandenheuvel wrote, “This change could limit the public’s ability to object to a project that may negatively impact Golden Hill’s limited open spaces, such as our canyons. I would like to see environmental deviations given the same level of review, Level 5, that is given to historical deviations and to our coastal communities.  Shouldn’t our environmentally sensitive lands be as important as our historic resources?  Shouldn’t our community be given the same courtesy as the coastal communities when it comes to public projects impacting our ESLs?”


Transit Goals Not Met,
Transit Lanes Impact Restaurants

Two recent stories capture the irony of how a city that isn’t meeting its ambitious goals for biking/transit use has blindsided North Park restaurants with new biking/transit lanes that will wipe out popular curbside dining spaces.

“San Diego’s Efforts to Boost Walking, Biking
and Transit Are Way Off Track, Report Finds,
SD Union-Tribune, Oct. 23, 2021

University Avenue Parklets Could Disappear Sooner Than Expected,” NBC7, Oct. 26, 2021  

And then there’s this:   

“San Diego Region Eyes ‘Road Charges’ Coupled With Free Public Transit for All by 2030”

Email comments on this idea ASAP to

Put “Friday, Oct. 29, Board of Directors Meeting” in the subject line and state that your comments pertain to Item 3.

Takeaway from North Park Planning Committee Meeting

Granny Flats or Apartment Buildings?
Perspectives on ADU Development


Two presentations on accessory dwelling unit (ADU) development were given by Geoff Hueter of Neighbors for a Better San Diego and ADU architect Jared Basler from The Casita Coalition. Here are excerpts:
Hueter on calculating Transit Priority Areas (TPAs) using “as the crow flies” distances:
“TPAs now encompass 60 percent of the places where people live in San Diego. The whole concept of people being near ‘walking distance’ of transit stops is flawed. It’s absurd to say someone lives near a transit stop when they would have to walk across two freeways and down a steep hill to get there.”
On San Diego exceeding state allowances for ADU development:
“This was sold (locally) as conforming with state law, and that’s the way it should be revised. The biggest flaw in having all this excess ‘bonus density’ development is that these aren’t homeowner-built projects, and that’s borne out when you look at the building permits – they are almost all for real-estate investors.”
On highly-dense investor-built ADU projects:
“We’ve said from the beginning that we support ADUs. Homeowner-built ADUs are consistent with state law. We’re trying to address the investor motivation for this. Why not make this program something everyone can trust by reining in the extreme projects?”
A community member offered this comment about extreme projects:
“In Talmadge, there’s an example where there are two 2-story apartment buildings going up in the backyard of a 1-story home  [with a junior ADU]. Where there was one home, there will now be six homes, six addresses, six families.”
Basler on multi-unit ADUs in desirable neighborhoods:
“We’re adding five to seven ADUs on properties that average 6,000 to 12,000 square feet. It’s really about creating equitable opportunities for renters to live in the neighborhoods they want to.”

On homeowner-vs.-investor ADU projects:
“I do agree that developers are taking advantage of the opportunities right now [but] we must demonstrate the ability to do this for homeowners. As someone who talks to hundreds of homeowners every month, I am making sure that everyone knows that this opportunity exists.”

On the local impact of AB-671, a state law providing ADU building incentives:
“San Diego is the poster child for the state moving forward. The number of [AB-671] units here already in process are more than the number of units from across the state. And yes, they are happening in sixes and sevens. I know there are a couple of developers who are looking at this right now in North Park.”
On whether ADUs to date have been market-rate or affordable housing:
“Yes, $2,000 for a 1-bedroom unit, I agree that’s absurd.”
A closing comment from an NPPC Board member:
“Every community needs to be looking at their contribution to build a more equitable community. And that means, for folks who might not be able to live in the community because there is no housing that is affordable for them, we create housing that’s more affordable.”

The Board voted 9-2 to postpone any action regarding the issues in the two presentations until a later date. 

*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.​

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