The San Diego City Council approved an update to the so-called Uptown Community Plan on Monday.
Maybe you’ve never heard of that plan, but it’s been the single focus of many residents in Mission Hills, who have worked for seven years to preserve the character of the neighborhood. It also impacts several other San Diego communities.
The update will, in part, re-zone residential areas of Mission Hills by lowering density to the single-family character of it’s neighborhoods. Previously it had been zoned multi-family, which could have potentially meant homes built in the 1920’s could be replaced by condos.
Jim Reily, president of the community group Mission Hills Heritage praised the change.
“This is the affordable housing in Mission Hills, so if these are replaced by fancy condos, they price folks right out of the market," Reily said.
But the council’s decision is a mixed bag for residents because it also provides discretionary review for building or development in the commercial areas of Mission Hills in excess of 50 feet in height. Reily is concerned that could eventually mean buildings as tall as 150 feet in the neighborhood’s business district.
Councilman Todd Gloria said the passage of the community plan update brings the Uptown community plan into conformance with the City’s General Plan and the Climate Action Plan as well as prudently addressing issues surrounding urban design.
But one developer monitoring the developments has a different opinion. He says to meet the Climate Action Plan goals of reduce car travel, we need to increase density and create more housing near work centers.
The updates also includes several other changes, including: Closing the gap in the University Avenue Bike Lane to improve bicycle/pedestrian safety and increase bicycle infrastructure in accordance with the City’s Climate Action Plan, and maintaining and expanding a 30-foot height restriction west of Park Boulevard in University Heights to preserve community character.
“With this update, we will be able to foster vibrant, walkable, and transit-oriented communities in Uptown that reduces automobile dependency, protects the integrity of our historic resources, and embraces new urban growth,” said Gloria.
According to a press release by Gloria’s office, Uptown consists of some of the oldest and distinctive neighborhoods in the City of San Diego including Bankers Hill, Hillcrest, Middletown, Mission Hills, and University Heights, all of which are in Council District Three. Councilmember Gloria has served as representative of the Third Council District since 2008.