It’s Now or Never: Speak Out on the Uptown Community Plan Update

By Kristin Harms, UH Resident

On Monday, November 14 at 2 pm, the San Diego City Council will make a decision about the proposed Uptown Community Plan Update, as it affects University Heights. Now is the time to show up or put up with whatever the Council decides about the fate of our community for the next 30 years, until the next plan update. Click here for the docket (or agenda) for the meeting and scroll to Item 201-Uptown Community Plan Update.

The Council will have two options on the table:

  1. The June 2016 Uptown Community Plan Update, which represents 6 years of collaborative effort between the City and the UH community, or;
  2. The status quo, reverting back to the current Uptown Community Plan approved in 1988, supported by the Planning Commission and by developers, most notably the Uptown Gateway Council.

Six Years of Community Input Dismissed

At its meeting on October 6th, the San Diego Planning Commission ignored 6 years of community input, collaboration and compromise and capitulated to developer demands by recommending the status quo to the City Council.

In it’s letter of November 10th to the City Council, the Uptown Gateway Council implored the Council to “support Planning Commission’s recommendations to:

  • Maintain current densities from 1988 Community Plan
  • Eliminate arbitrary CPIOZ height limits
  • Initiate a City-led Specific Plan that:
    • Provides increased density
    • Creates additional housing opportunities
    • Creates additional public amenities

There are many unknowns for University Heights with the Planning Commission proposal. While it proposes to maintain the status quo, the Mid-City Community Planned District Ordinance will be eliminated, which has maintained a 30-foot height limit throughout University Heights since 2007. What we do know is that density will increase in certain areas of University Heights and the current 30-foot height limit throughout UH is at risk.

What are the Choices?

Following are the two options the City Council will consider on Monday and how they each affect University Heights. Please note that “du/ac” means “dwelling units per acre”.

uh-key-land-use-areas-map_11-12-16

Area

Option 1: June 2016 Uptown Community Plan Update

Option 2: Status Quo-Current 1988 Uptown Community Plan

1. Commercial area between Adams and Madison CN-1-3 Zone
Density: Up to 29 du/ac
Height Limit: 30 feet
Mixed Use Res. Zone 4: Density: Up to 43 du/ac
Height Limit: None
2. Commercial area between Madison and Meade CN-1-3 Zone
Density: Up to 29 du/ac
Height Limit: 30 feet
Commercial/Res. Zone 4: Density: Up to 43 du/ac
Height Limit: 50 feet
3. Homes along Madison, Monroe and Meade between Park Blvd. and Maryland St. RM-1-7 Zone
Density: Up to 9 du/ac
Height Limit: 24/30 feet
Medium Density Residential:
Density: Up to 29 du/ac
Height Limit: 40 feet
4. Small lot at the northwest corner of Park and El Cajon on the San Diego Unified School District site CN-1-3 Zone
Density: Up to 29 du/ac
Height Limit: 30 feet
Mixed Use Res. Density 6 Density: Up to 109 du/ac
Height Limit: None
5. Residential area between Adams, Tyler, Cleveland, and North RM-2-5
Density: Up to 29 du/ac
Height Limit: 30 feet with addition to CPIOZ-A map
Medium Density Residential:
Density: Up to 29 du/ac
Height Limit: 40 feet

Take Action

The most important action you can take at this point is to show up at the City Council meeting on Monday, November 14, at 2 pm in City Council Chambers at 202 C Street, 12th Floor. While this may mean taking time off work, time away from your families, and time away from your other duties and activities, this will be your last chance to influence the shape of our community for the next 25 to 30 years, until the next plan update.

Following are some pointers for the meeting:

  1. Try to arrive 30 minutes ahead to allow time for parking, walking, security check, elevator ride, and completing a speaker slip. Click here for a map of downtown parking lots. Parking downtown is expensive so you may want to consider taking the bus from UH—Route 11 or 215.
  2. Complete a speaker slip “In Favor” of Item 201-Uptown Community Plan Update, even if you don’t plan on speaking. Submit your speaker slip to the City Clerk prior to the start of the meeting in the tray marked “Speaker Slips” located on the podium at the front of Council Chambers to the right of the public speaker’s microphones.
  3. Plan on speaking for 2 minutes but be prepared for 1 minute. The Council President may reduce everyone’s speaking time to 1 minute.
  4. Practice and time your presentation!
  5. Attach 10 copies of your talking points with your name and address (one page) to your speaker slip for distribution to the City Council.
  6. If you want to present slides, bring them on a thumb drive and ask whoever is operating the projector (to the right of the podium at the front of Council Chambers) to upload your slides before the meeting begins.
  7. You may cede your allotted time to another speaker. If you would like to cede your time to either me or Bill Ellig, member of Uptown Planners, please click here to email me.
  8. Invite all your friends and neighbors to attend and wear a red shirt, if possible, to show support.

Recommended Talking Points

  • As a resident of University Heights, I urge you to approve the June 2016 Uptown Community Plan Update.
  • Many years have gone into the creation of the Plan Update with a tremendous amount of community input. The City and University Heights have worked hard to create a plan that would increase housing and maintain the character and scale of our historic neighborhood.
  • Increased density along El Cajon and Park Blvd south of El Cajon was accepted by the community in exchange for appropriate density and height in the following areas of UH:
    • CN-1-3 zone on Park Blvd. between Adams and Meade.
    • RM-1-7 zone for the homes along Madison, Monroe and Meade.
    • CN-1-3 zone for the small lot at the northwest corner of Park and El Cajon on the San Diego Unified School District site.
    • Addition of the area of University Heights zoned RM-2-5 to the CPIOZ-A map, with a height limit of 30 feet.
  • We appreciate the collaboration and compromise of all those who participated in the planning process since 2010– Todd Gloria’s office, the City Planning Department, the UH Historical Society, UH Community Development Corporation, UH Community Association, Uptown Planners, as well as over 150 community members.
  • Please do not support the Planning Commission Plan. It throws out the many years of hard work by everyone.

Other Ways to Take Action

Please do the following first thing on Monday morning, November 14:

  1. Call our Councilmember Todd Gloria’s office at 619-236-6633 and urge him to support the City’s June 2016 Community Plan Update. Let him know you support the hard work the community and the city did in creating a plan that will add development to UH while maintaining its community character and preserving the lower density residential areas.
  2. Email a letter to Todd and all City Council members supporting the City’s June 2016 Community Plan Update. Please click here for a sample letter and email addresses for the City Council.
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