On May 13, city planners will update a city-council committee on the long-delayed Community Plan Updates. The gist: the 12 communities’ plans slated for revision in 2008 will have to wait longer than expected.
Over the past seven years, the updating of community plans has been slow. During that time, the council has adopted only one of the twelve — Otay Mesa’s. As reported by online news organization Voice of San Diego, the city has spent over $15 million on the updates.
Updating the plans was meant to save time and save the city from getting snarled in costly legal battles over ill-advised development projects, as well as get the city closer to realizing its vision for more dense transit-oriented mixed-use growth (read: City of Villages).
However, over the course of the past several years, city staff has run into unexpected problems during the revisions. In Barrio Logan, shipbuilders and other business interests threw millions of dollars into a signature-gathering effort, forcing the city council to rescind the plan and put the item on a future ballot.
The Ocean Beach community plan has been placed on hold until approval is granted from the California Coastal Commission.
But, according to a staff report that will be presented to the Committee on Smart Growth and Land Use at Wednesday's meeting, those snags have proven to be learning experiences.
"Several of the updates have taken longer than anticipated to complete for various reasons,” reads the report. “Staff has identified the obstacles to plan preparation and instituted changes in the process to help ensure that these, and future updates, consistently meet schedule and budget expectations. Improvements to the process relate to: project management and staff resources, consultant selection, scope of work for environmental and traffic technical studies, identification of different types of updates, and public outreach efforts. Future comprehensive updates, beginning with Mission Valley, are anticipated to be completed within a three-year timeframe."
City staff expects to ratify several plans in the coming year, the first being the update for Grantville. That community, located adjacent to Mission Valley and near transportation hubs and access to transit, is expected to take the brunt of San Diego's density increase. Planners have identified the area as "prime for neighborhood revitalization with a more lively mix of employment, commercial, higher density residential, and civic uses."
The environmental impact report drafted for the update clears the way for 8725 additional housing units in Grantville.
Also expected to be ratified in the coming year are plans for Southeastern San Diego, Encanto, and San Ysidro. Next year, staff expects council to receive updates for Uptown, North Park, Golden Hill, and Old Town.