Important North Park Planning Committee Meeting

Please attend a very important, special meeting of the North Park Planning Committee (NPPC) on Tuesday, September 6th at 6:30 pm. The NPPC will vote to approve, deny, or modify the draft 2016 North Park Community Plan Update. The meeting will be held at the Lafayette Hotel, 2223 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego 92104.

Members of the public will have a maximum of 2 minutes to provide comments. Please see  NPPC-Agenda_9-6-16 for more information.

For residents of University Heights, the proposed plan will significantly increase density (dwelling units per acre or du/ac), traffic, parking problems, and pedestrian and bicycle safety hazards at two key sites.

1. Site of New Vision Fellowship Church, 4353 Park Blvd.

After decreasing the density for this site to Community Commercial (0-29 du/ac) in January 2016, the City upped it to Community Commercial (0-109 du/ac) in February 2016 without providing any justification and proposed a zoning of CC 3-9.

This site, along with the contiguous parcels also owned by the Church, comprise approximately 4 acres. That means as many as 400 new units could be built on them, directly across the street from Birney Elementary School. With the state affordable housing density bonus of 35%, as many as 500 units could be built. Here is what this site and contiguous parcels could look like at 109 du/ac:


Such excessive density is completely inappropriate for this site because:

  1. It poses traffic safety risks for school children walking or biking on Meade Avenue to cross Park Blvd., or for any school child walking or biking near the school. According to the National Center for Safe Routes to Schools, “More children are hit by cars near school than at any other location.”
  2. It will significantly increase westbound traffic through University Heights and pose safety risks for the many pedestrians and bicyclists in our community.
  3. It is completely out of character with the low to moderate density along Park Blvd. between Adams and El Cajon Blvd.
  4. It does not provide any transition from the very high commercial density proposed along El Cajon Blvd. (109 du/ac) to the low density commercial area (0-29 du/ac) along Park Blvd. between Meade and Adams, or the low to medium density residential area (5-15 du/ac) between Meade and Adams.
  5. A significant majority of over 150 UH residents voted in support of Community Commercial (0-29 du/ac) for this site at two community workshops in May 2013 and in October 2015.

2. Pedestrian-Oriented Infill Development Enhancement Program Area

In the March 2016 revision to the North Park Land Use Element, the City recommended a base density of Residential-Medium High (30-44 du/ac) for this residential area that stretches between Howard, Lincoln, Park, and the 805 freeway. They also introduced the Pedestrian-Oriented Infill Development Enhancement Program, which will allow up to 73 du/ac to applicants with existing development projects of 6 dwelling units. According to a January 21st article in Voice of San Diego, city planners are using the density to encourage redevelopment of the many multiple unit housing complexes, also known as “Huffman six-packs”, built in North Park throughout the 70s and 80s.

NP Density Bonus Area

The Pedestrian-Oriented Infill Development Enhancement Program is completely inappropriate and unnecessary for this area because:

  1. The proposed density is unnecessary to accommodate the projected population growth. According to SANDAG, the base density of Residential-Medium High (30-44 du/ac) proposed by the City for this area will more than accommodate the population growth forecast for this area, which is fully included in Census Tracts 9 and 13. For example, Census Tract 9 has a population of 5,178, 3,141 housing units, and an average density of approximately 20 units per acre (considered Residential-Medium density by the City). SANDAG forecasts a 44% increase in population in Tract 9 to 7,445 by 2050, and a 36% increase in housing units to 4,280 by 2050. That is a net gain of 1,339 housing units over the next 40 years. The base density for this area of 44 dwelling units per acre will more than accommodate growth projected by SANDAG.
  2. The humble “Huffmans” provide affordable housing to many low-income families in North Park. According to City planners, there are approximately 1,000 Huffman type buildings in North Park which represent approximately 6,000 housing units and as many as 12,000 residents. This represents about 24% of the total housing stock in North Park and about 26% of the population, according to the 2010 Census. According to SANDAG, close to 82% of the 11,375 residents living in Census Tracts 9 & 13 live in multi-family dwelling units, more than likely a Huffman. Of these, almost 60% have a household income of less than $45,000 per year, and almost 19% of households make less than $15,000 per year. Further, 13% are age 60 and over, and another 13% are under age 19. Less than half are White, almost a third are Hispanic, 10% are black, and 7% Asian.
  3. The proposed density bonus puts many historic homes and bungalow courts at risk. According to research by Randi Vita, a resident of the Pedestrian-Oriented Infill Development Bonus Area, the area between Florida and Hamilton Streets contains over 400 historic single-family homes and bungalow courts with an average age of 90 years.
  4. A majority of over 150 UH residents voted against any density bonuses in UH, and in support of Residential-Medium (15-29 du/ac) for this area at two community workshops in May 2013 and in October 2015.


  1. Change the zoning for all parcels located on the east side of Park Blvd. between Meade and El Cajon Blvd. from CC 3-9 to CN-1-3, consistent with zoning for other commercial areas on Park Blvd. between Meade and Adams Avenue, and to provide for development compatible with the pattern of the existing neighborhoods.
  2. Eliminate the proposed Pedestrian-Oriented Infill Development Enhancement Program and maintain the base zoning for this area as RM-3-7 to provide for development compatible with the pattern of the existing neighborhoods.