Now that the community plan update is underway, the issue of density in Uptown is a hot topic at community meetings. San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) estimates an influx of 1.2 million people to the county by 2050 and Uptown communities are mentioned as potential locations for high-density, transit-friendly development.
At the May 4 meeting of the Uptown planners, the planning committee for University Heights, Hillcrest, Mission Hills, and Banker's Hill discussed a motion to oppose any substantial increase in density to the upcoming community plan, rejecting SANDAG's new forecasted density projections, as well as old forecasts, which are included in the 1988 community plan.
Instead, Uptown planner Don Liddell, who introduced the motion, prefers to use the actual current density for the community plan, hoping to initiate a dialogue with the city about the type of development they want in their community.
"It's unfortunate, but it does seem like we are spoken to and not with," said Uptown planner and CityBeat columnist John Lamb. "If this is a method that we can use to get their attention and have a real conversation about what we're going to be for the next 20 years, then we should do it. I'm getting a little fed up at these meetings, feeling like it's just a production for us."
"How can we have 20,000 more people with our traffic conditions and water shortage?" Asked committee member Andrew Towne.
After all committee comments were heard, Marlon I. Pangilinan, senior planner for the City, commented on the motion. "I do feel that this discussion is premature and can be discussed at the plan update. But I do welcome the suggestion and the kick in the pants to get that discussion started."
After the comments, Uptown planners voted 9 to 3 in opposition of increased density in Uptown. The motion, along with additional ideas, will be presented to the City's advisory committee during the community plan update.