We Don’t Want to Modernize

The Hillcrest Town Council held a meeting on March 9 at the Joyce Beers Community Center, with 45 community members in attendance.

Councilmember Roy Dahl outlined the council’s Development Committee’s design principles as they pertain to Hillcrest business-district development.

“The state’s ‘Smart Growth’ [Initiative] has a bull’s eye on Hillcrest,” said Dahl. “The City’s height ordinance will soon expire for the Uptown district, so we’re proposing 35 feet along the street in the heart of Hillcrest. At 75 feet or more back from the curb, you can go higher. Anything adjacent to the business district would be at 50 feet, and in other areas 70 feet. These aren’t official heights, they’re just starting points. We need the community’s input.”

California’s Smart Growth Initiative, introduced in 2000 by the Urban Land Institute, is intended to determine the barriers to “smart growth” and single out solutions to advance a unified growth agenda.

Some Smart Growth principles include: mixed land use, compact building design, providing a range of housing choices, fostering distinctive communities, creating walk-able neighborhoods, providing transportation choices, and encouraging community and stakeholder collaboration in development decisions.

Several neighbors stated their preferences for low-profile buildings and questioned the need for greater density.

“Hillcrest is twice as dense as any neighborhood in San Diego. We don’t need density. We don’t want to modernize. We don’t want to tear down these old charming structures,” said an attendee.

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I was at the meeting and I did hear that the neighborhood thinks it has reached adequate density levels. And certainly additional density was not desired without adequate infrastructure. But somehow I missed the part about not wanting to modernize. New & better infrastructure is modernization and it is most desired. The premise of the presentation was geared toward new building & change, but only in the spirit of what Hillcrest already is -- because it's great & it works!

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