Back in June I included a photo of the Idaho Heights Row Homes in North Park as part of a post that summarized new developments in the Uptown neighborhoods. While the developer had asked me to do so, I try to cover any new projects in the area regardless. But a few weeks ago, I noticed that the North Park Planning Committee (NPPC) had voted unanimously to deny the project. Since construction was already well under way, I figured it was more of a symbolic vote (neighborhood planning committees can’t stop developments), but that readers should be aware of their vote. Vicki Granowitz, chair of NPPC, was nice enough to put together the following summary of why they voted no:
The current land development code went into effect in 2000. It allows apartment developers whose projects are in conformance with all applicable code to have their projects handled ministerially (Process1). Meaning the developer is not required to do any public noticing, public presentations or answer any question submitted to an applicant by the public. The problem is that many of these projects permitted as “apartments” were never going to be apartments, but were always going to be condos.
If a developer tells the City they are building condos, they are required to present their project to the local Planning Committee Group for a recommendation (although all recommendations from CPGs are advisory to the Planning Commission and City Council only). But there is a work around that gives a developer the best of both worlds by getting their building permit over the counter without the hassle of dealing with the public, and then while under construction they can apply for a Tentative Map, which allows for subdividing the “apartments” so they can be sold as condos. A Tentative Map requires public review, but not of any of the design elements so important to preserving a community’s character. Tentative Maps are nearly always approved by the Planning Commission and/or City Council.
The NPPC as well as other CPGs believe this is a loophole in the code – that while it might make good business sense for a developer, it leaves the public in the dark. Additionally, during the height of the real estate boom we were seeing the same developers building the same structure over and over.
We have been lobbying the City to correct this loophole and after years of frustration with the lack of attention, the NPPC decided we would deny Tentative Maps since we are unable to give input on design elements. Additionally we submitted an application and won a San Diego Architectural Foundation Onion for what we called the “Attack of the Clones”.
Concurrently the NPPC has tried to put the word out to the developers & the building industry that we welcome developers to attend an NPPC Urban Design Project Review Subcommittee to present their project voluntarily. With the quality of projects we have seen of late they could very well receive a positive result for their tentative map.
So there you have it – developers are using a loophole (and who can blame them) that enables them to bypass community input on their condominium projects, which can end up having a negative impact on the appearance of our neighborhoods. As someone who advocates for increasing density in a smart manner, I think that closing this loophole would be beneficial. Thanks to Vicki for taking the time to put the summary together.
- After attending the Modern Times kickstarter backer party two weekends ago at their soon-to-open brewery in the Sports Arena area, I was all ready to blog about it until I saw Omar Passons’ eatdrinkgivego detailed post on it (bonus points for land use discussion). Not sure what more to add except that I’m really excited for their tasting room to officially open, which should be any day now. If you go, be sure to check out the alternate versions of their standard issue beers and of course, their Belgian IPA Neverwhere…. Meanwhile, the Hess Brewing folks are now up to three North Park Grand Opening events next weekend. Sounds like a lot of interest in that one… Do you live between the blocks of Redwood, Olive, 30th and Granada? Did you know it takes 2 hours to hang a CicloSDias flyer on each and every one of your doors? Good thing Thorn Street Brewery is just a few blocks away, where their generous set of (8) 3 oz tasters cooled me off one day after their “Grand Opening” event celebrating their new ability to serve pints. Great to see a brewery like this right in the midst of a residential neighborhood.
On the restaurant front, Indigo Grill closed for a re-branding, Vagabond closed for good, The Gathering will be closing, 1202/The Range are closed for the most part, Jersey Mike’s closed in Hillcrest (but is coming to Grantville, oh yeah), Meatball Cucina opened in the former Sora spot downtown, the Lion’s Share folks are opening a restaurant in the just-closed Hubcap, and the Craft & Commerce guys have announced a name (Ironside Oyster) for their forthcoming place on India in Little Italy. Thank you Eater! Also – Carnitas’ Snack Shack is holding a YMCA fundraiser on August 20th featuring local celebrity chefs:
On Tuesday, August 20th, five local San Diego chefs, two pastry chefs and one master mixologist will collaborate on a special dinner held at Carnitas’ Snack Shack celebrating San Diego’s Summer harvest. Each course will feature seasonal ingredients from local San Diego sources, and will be paired with a local craft beer.
Proceeds from this fundraiser will benefit YMCA Oz Shelter Programs, to help San Diego teenagers in crisis. The San Diego and Oceanside teen shelters are operated by San Diego YMCA Youth & Family Services, from their North Park offices. Donations will be accepted at the event.
- See more at: http://carnitassnackshack.com/2013/07/carnitas-snack-shack-hosts-summer-sirens-8-chef-collaborative-dinner/#sthash.MkA9WFGT.dpuf
Back to CicloSDias, which will be closing 30th, Landis and Wightman to auto traffic on Sunday August 11th from 10AM to 4 PM: they’re still raising funds and looking for volunteers for this cycling and pedestrian event, so help make its debut an awesome San Diego event if you can!