Back to the Future with the Uptown Community Plan Update

By Kristin Harms, UH Resident

In a surprising and unexpected move after 8 hours of City Council meeting on November 14th, our own District 3 Councilmember Todd Gloria made a motion to approve the Planning Commission’s recommendation to maintain the densities in the current 1988 Uptown Community Plan, eliminate the Mid-City Communities Planned District (MCCPD), and replace the MCCPD with the City’s new standardized zoning.

Only Councilmembers David Alvarez and Sherri Lightener had the integrity to vote against the ill-conceived proposal, which was the result of a rushed, confusing, and opaque process that shut the community out.

6 Years of Community Input Dismissed

Bottom line, 6 years of active participation by the UH community in the plan update process was for naught. The hard-won changes that UH had achieved prior to the Planning Commission meeting on October 6th were dismissed by the Planning Commission and by the City Council, under the leadership of Mr. Gloria.

What does this mean for UH? In general, it potentially means more dense, taller buildings along Park Blvd. (up to 60 feet) and taller buildings in the residential areas (up to 40 feet), compared to the largely 24 to 30 foot buildings currently throughout most of UH.

Shown below is what UH had achieved in collaboration with City planning staff as of the June 2016 Uptown Community Plan Update, compared to what was approved by the City Council on November 14th. Please note that “du/ac” means “dwelling units per acre”:

Area

Proposed: June 2016 Uptown Community
Plan Update

Approved: Current
1988 Uptown
Community Plan

1. Commercial area on west side of Park Blvd. between Adams and Meade CN 1-3 Zone
Density: Up to 29 du/ac
Height Limit: 30 feet
CN 1-4 Zone
Density: Up to 44 du/ac
Height Limit: 60 feet
2. 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
RM 2-5 Zone
Density: Up to 29 du/ac
Height Limit: 40 feet
3. 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
CC 3-9 Zone
Density: Up to 109 du/ac
Height Limit: Unlimited
4. Residential area between Adams, Tyler, Cleveland, and North RM 2-5 Zone
Density: Up to 29 du/ac
Height Limit: 30 feet with addition to CPIOZ-A map
RM 2-5 Zone
Density: Up to 29 du/ac
Height Limit: 40 feet
5. 4300 block of Campus Avenue RM 2-5 Zone
Density: Up to 29 du/ac
Height Limit: 30 feet with addition to CPIOZ-A map
RM 3-7 Zone
Density: Up to 44 du/ac
Height Limit: 40 feet

The only real change that UH won was the possible inclusion of the residential area between Adams, Tyler, Cleveland and North in what is known as the ‘CPIOZ-A” map, which would maintain a 30-foot height limit in this area.

Next Steps

The resolution approved at the November 14th meeting must now go back to the City Council for a second reading. The City Council is now on recess until Friday, December 2nd and our new District 3 Councilmember, Chris Ward, will take office Monday, December 12th.

If the second reading of the proposal is delayed until Mr. Ward takes office, we may have a chance to extend the 30-foot height to more areas of UH since Mr. Ward, as a resident of UH, actively participated in the community’s recommendations for the Plan Update.

Take Action

Come to the UH Community Association meeting this Thursday, December 1 at 7 pm at Birney School Auditorium, 4345 Campus Avenue and let our new Councilmember Chris Ward know how you feel about the City Council’s decision on November 14th. Let him know how disappointed you are in the Council’s decision and that you would like to see the following areas included in the CPIOZ-A  with a 30-foot height limit, as shown in the map below:

  • Commercial area on west side of Park Blvd. between Adams and Meade
  • Small lot at the northwest corner of Park and El Cajon on the San Diego Unified School District site
  • 4300 block of Campus Avenue

proposed-cpioz-a-upcpu_11-27-16

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