STATE GENERAL PLAN LAW
A Community Plan provides detail for the Elements in the city’s General Plan, on the basis of which, the state authorizes the city to permit development. It details where residential and commercial uses will be permitted, rules about size, appearance and public access, roads, etc.
A General Plan is a statement about the historical and environmental features of a city and its future development, including a map setting forth goals and policies. It’s a plan for physical development of the jurisdiction: a “blueprint” for development. A General Plan includes the Community Plans for communities within the city’s jurisdictional boundaries.
The city’s General Plan must contain seven state-mandated elements and usually several other elements at the discretion of the jurisdiction.*
Required Elements of a General Plan
A general plan is a statement of development policies with a map setting forth goals and policies. A general plan must contain a minimum of seven (7) state-mandated elements:
- Open Space
- Conservation: Environment and Energy Efficiency
- Housing a [Predictable] Mix of Incomes
- Circulation: Roadways and Public Transportation
- Safety: Policing, Design for Catastrophic Response
*Cities include additional elements in their general plans, often motivated by availability of funds from state and federal legislation and also bond issues for transportation, health, education, welfare, renewable energy, and so on.
Point Loma residents now need to look at our future development with care if we are to preserve our quality of life. The last update of the Peninsula Community Plan in 1987 provided for industrial development on the point that made Rosecrans into a virtual freeway through our business center, inhibiting pedestrian friendly businesses and acting as a barrier between the residential community and the bay.
The 1987plan envisioned low cost multi-family rental properties replacing single family homes, meanwhile, since economic conditions and community values make the idea of blanketing Roseville and La Playa with apartments unfeasible, developers request permits to build apartments with the intention of obtaining a “waiver” from the City to permit conversion of apartments to condominiums to sell at higher prices. The resulting loss of homes affordable to households with median incomes and changing scale of architecture in the Roseville and La Playa residential communities opposes the goals of the Community Plan and the city’s General Plan.
The additional density adds to the burden of vehicle traffic due to the increase of traffic to and from naval facilities diverted from Rosecrans through all Point Loma neighborhoods and the 1987 Community Plan provided no circulation solutions to accommodate additional traffic if the majority of single family homes were converted to condominiums with 4 or 5 homes where there is now one home.
The west side of our peninsula over looks the Pacific and the other side looks across San Diego Bay, past Coronado, to Mexico and the eastern foothills of the region. On the east and north, the peninsula rises above the formerly rich tidal wetlands that once supported a large portion of the migratory avian and marine species that were still abundance prior to the 1950s in a wide delta at the confluence of the San Diego River, Tecolote Creek and Rose Creek. The tip of our peninsula is the westernmost point of the continental United States, a park and national monument. On many terraced roads on all sides of the peninsula homes have views of the ocean or bays and estuaries to the north and south. Coastal view corridors and deed restrictions protect views of some homes and redevelopment with taller homes threatens to occlude existing views and diminish views of open space. In reviewing the 1987 Community Plan, neighborhoods in Point Loma have an opportunity to preserve the architectural scale and views of open space that characterize the peninsula.
Conservation: Environment and Energy Efficiency
Point Loma, with a population close to 80,000, has a potential to negotiate energy and communications services at discounted rates, after the City of San Diego approves a measure that permits residents to purchase energy from sources other than SDG&E.
In an earlier epoch, privately owned public utilities were granted permission to place pipes and wires above and below ground to conduct gas and electricity to private properties. These utilities were granted permission to supply rate payers with gas and electricity with the oversight of a Public Utilities Commission appointed by the Governor and Legislators, who would review the expense proposals of these companies and approve the rates to be paid.
The cost of the infrastructure provided by public utilities has, by now, been paid repaid to these companies a million times over and since, today, energy may be purchased from a variety of sources in a competitive market, the relationship of the service that maintains delivery functions is separated from the cost of generating energy and refining natural gas.
This means that a community plan can also set forth goals and objectives to provide the most efficient and environmentally preferable sources of energy. Telecom utilities were based on the same business model and communities today can today, not only, aggregate the purchasing power of all residents to negotiate better prices for bandwidth, but also, can provide a local network using buried fiber optic and/or cellular transmission. A Town Council can be a tax exempt entity to negotiate, set up and manage contracts without the expense and/or potential conflicts with fiscal priorities of City government.
Housing a Predictable Mix of Incomes
In the 1987 Peninsula Community Plan, the City of San Diego proposed permitting multifamily rental housing in the predominantly single family Roseville neighborhood, north of Rosecrans between Nimitz and Talbot, and permitting increased density south of Rosecrans west of Talbot in La Playa.
The city didn’t advise the state in its General Plan that builders would use this zoning change to build high-priced condominiums rather than homes affordable to households with median incomes (c. $60,000 today for a family of 4), and there has been no planning to deal with displacement of households that have occupied Roseville for generations. Navy employees, who previously lived in Point Loma are now unable to purchase or rent homes in Point Loma.
The value of single-family home properties in Roseville and La Playa increases as demand increases and supply of single family homes decreases, such that today, the dollar value of a single family residence already exceeds the redevelopment value.
Circulation: Roadways and Public Transportation
The Circulation Element of the General Plan in 1987 did not account for additional traffic from the additional population from redevelopment or from increased military operations, Liberty Station or San Diego International Airport expansion.
Traffic from additional residential development as well as increased industrial operations was not planned for; the city made no commitments to funding either additional roads or public transit or other infrastructure.
Statement about the SDIA Conditional Use Permit, Curfew and issues to follow.
PENINSULA COMMUNITY PLAN
Homes in Point Loma, more than any other community, face the brunt of impacts from airport operations and we share, with Mission Bay communities, the consequences of an outgrown circulation systems that were imagined in the ‘50s, when the San Diego population was about 330,000, about one tenth of the current 3,000,000 souls in the metro San Diego region, not including the burden of daily trucking and commuter traffic to and from Baja.
When the Peninsula Community Plan was last updated in the 1980s, there were a third less people in the metropolitan area and intersections of freeways were lightly congested twice daily. After spending billions adding freeway lanes, congestion still worsens from unlimited development. Today the 40,000 adults and children who inhabit the peninsula live between two noisy industrial giants that are both inconsiderate about their impact on people of this community.
The Peninsula Community Plan covers an area roughly from Midway and Nimitz Boulevards on the east, San Diego River to the north, the Pacific Ocean and San Diego Harbor on the south and west, excluding area defined within the planning boundaries of Ocean Beach.
First drafted in 1956 and updated in 1987, the Peninsula Community Plan attempted to envision the Point Loma community but mostly described how land was to be used in the Peninsula planning area: which roads are to be viewed as arterials; where businesses are to be located; the quality and character of neighborhoods, appearance of signage, location of parks, coastal access, beaches and schools.
Current problems with development in the peninsula communities that we’re now seeing in Roseville and La Playa (Kellogg Beach), stem mostly from 1987 changes that few residents were involved in considering. These problems arise now in developments, which although they are consistent with 1987 zoning changes, when they are converted to condominiums, produce a result that was not intended by the zoning change, which, according to the Housing Element of the San Diego General Plan, was supposed to increase availability of multifamily housing that would be affordable to households earning median income, today this amounts to $63,400 for a family of four, an income that would in theory support rents of about $1600-$2000/month.
San Diego was a different place in 1987: A million dollar condo on Emerson was as imaginable as a subdivision on the planet, Mars. But affordable housing has been an important part of peninsula economic balance, since very early on. Many apartments and homes in Loma Portal, Roseville and Loma Heights were initially built to be affordable for enlisted military personnel and civilian employees.
The 1987 Community Plan also did not anticipate the effects of the growth of the airport and naval facilities on traffic, pollution, waterfront and pedestrian access. This plan has allowed a light rail line and bus services to Point Loma to be scrapped and it apparently ignored the growing need for traffic calming of Rosecrans in support of growing pedestrian oriented small businesses and recreational activities.
Unlike Ocean Beach, La Jolla and Pacific Beach, Point Loma has never established a Town Council of its own to engage the community in creating a vision.
The 1987 Community Plan was drafted without meaningful participation of residents creating a vision of their community, defining qualities of an environment they want to preserve, enhance or improve. Instead, it involved negotiations between politicians, developers and officials, for instance, officials who focused on state mandates for housing affordability, leading to the multifamily zoning in Roseville and officials concerned with the Navy’s industrial plans and a view that diminished the commercial potential of the waterfront, loss of Kettenberg’s historic boatworks, etc. It would be fair to say, the 1987 Community Plan did not reflect the vision of the majority of residents of Point Loma, or even that this kind of vision had been promulgated.
Who We Are
A TOWN COUNCIL CAN CREATE AN INCLUSIVE COMMUNITY VISION
Today, 76,000 adults and children live on the peninsula between two growing, noisy industrial giants.
We are a diverse community of residents who inhabit a peninsula formed topographically by the flooding of a river that created two bays, the most prominent of which extends south to present day San Ysidro and the other, named by Spanish navigators, “False Bay” was a huge wetlands that was dredged to create the modern day “Mission Bay”.
The diversity of our present day community stems from its cultural, rather than topographic origins.
In 1866, Louis Rose, a Jewish immigrant from Germany, subdivided Roseville about a year before New San Diego was created by Alonzo Horton in ’67.
Albert Spaulding (Spaulding Sporting Goods) and Katheryn Tingley (International Theosophical Foundation) brought San Diego to international prominence in the early 1900s, when they founded Lomaland and the Raja Yoga Academy, which is now the campus of Point Loma Nazarene University. The Theosophists planted over 100,000 trees in an area now known as, The Wooded Area.
In 1915, when the World Fair at Balboa Park was attracting attention, Portuguese immigrants began beaching their fishing boats at La Playa and their colony grew into Roseville and Shelter Island.
Between the two great wars, the US Navy developed the Naval Training Center, most of which is now Liberty Station, and the military housing east and north of Barnett and Lytton Streets. The Midway area developed commercial properties and military housing. Loma Portal and Fleetridge became a favored residential community for Navy officers, while additional affordable housing for enlisted personnel went up in Clairemont and Baypark above Moreno Blvd.
Today, householders in Point Loma, more than any other community, face the brunt of airport operations and we share, with Mission Bay communities, the consequences of a roadway plan imagined in the ‘50s, when San Diego’s population was 334,000, about a fifth of the 1.5 million souls now residing in metropolitan San Diego (not including the traffic burden of trucking and commuter traffic to and from TJ, a city of more than 5,000,000).
When the Peninsula Community Plan was last updated in 1987, there were about 400,000 fewer people living in metropolitan San Diego than there are now.
Except for the I-5/805 merge and the I-5 “bend”, freeways were congested for short periods twice daily. After spending billions adding lanes, congestion is beginning to reach LA conditions, with constant congestion in places, because insufficient consideration is given to traffic impact of new development. San Diego is developing “at all costs”. Instead of “America’s Finest City”, during the last two decades, our motto has become, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”
How a Community Plan Creates/Solves Problems
STATE GENERAL PLAN LAW
Every city must submit a General Plan to the state on the basis of which the state delegates its authority to make land use decisions to the city. The General Plan is a statement of development policies with a map setting forth goals and policies; a long-term plan for physical development of the jurisdiction: a “blueprint” for development and it consists of Community Plans for each geographic area identified within the city’s jurisdictional boundaries.
The general plan must contain a minimum of seven state-mandated elements and It may also contain other elements the county or city wishes to adopt. The seven basic elements are:
Conservation (Both Environmental Preservation and Energy Efficiency)
Housing (Affordability for a Predictable Mix of Incomes)
Circulation (Highways, Roads and Public Transportation)
Safety (Policing, Design and Planning for Catastrophic Response)
Other elements in general plans are often motivated by funding made available to cities by state or federal legislation, including grants for health, education, welfare, renewable energy, and so on.
A Community Plan implements general plan elements and addresses local needs and issues. It may include historic designations, preservation of coastal access, restoration and maintenance of waterfront areas, docks and beaches, establishment of view corridors, provisions for public safety, creation of healthcare facilities, parks and environmental features, dog parks, libraries, preservation of architectural character and historic characteristics of various parts of a community.
Town Councils: An Inclusive Community Vision
IT’S IMPORTANCE TO US
Every complaint we have about airport noise, traffic, over-building, density without transportation infrastructure, lack of health and school facilities, field lights, a dangerous fuel depot, homelessness and so on, is a predictable consequence of a Community Plan designed without sufficient involvement and engagement of those who live in the community. 76,000 residents live between two industrial giants without a structure to support them in holding these giants accountable for impacts on people or the community
Every other community around Point Loma has organized a town council that is empowered to inform residents and to engage them in creating consensus around a vision, goals and rules of their own Community Plan. Communities with their own town council around Point Loma include:
La Jolla: 46,781
Pacific Beach: 46,910
Ocean Beach: 10,144
Clairemont Mesa: 81,600
Point Loma: 75,892
Some San Diego County coastal cities have instead created their own city charters:
Solana Beach: 13,337
Del Mar: 4,311
National City: 60,341
Imperial Beach: 27,149
Peninsula Community Planning Board
Some ask if the Peninsula Community Planning Board is the appropriate vehicle for drafting our new Peninsula Community Plan. Planning boards are formed to advise the city’s Planning Commission regarding the compliance of projects with city building and zoning codes.
The Planning Board has shown no initiative in advocating about issues covered by the Community Plan. It isn’t chartered, funded or empowered by it’s mission to advocate on behalf of Point Loma residents, for a new community vision, nor does it have a plan, nor the ability, nor the incentive to engage a majority of residents
Current members of PCPB were elected by as few as 50 or 60 voters, and not necessarily residents of Point Loma. Most Planning Board members are either in the development business as architects, investors, lawyers and builders and the mission of the board is to review projects and to advise the city’s Planning Commission about compliance with rules.
The lack of inclusiveness and lack of engagement with the community is predictable since PCPB is circumscribed by the City Planning Department and has no authority or resources to inform, engage and represent the entire community.
RENEWABLE AND AGGREGATED UTILITY SERVICES
COMMUNITY PLAN – HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
MIDWAY MEDICAL CENTER
THE HOMELESS COMMUNITY
COMMUNITY PLAN – OPEN SPACE
COASTAL ACCESS – LA PLAYA BEACHES
COASTAL ACCESS – SUNSET CLIFFS EROSION
SUNSET CLIFFS PARK
SHELTER ISLAND BEACHES & PARKS