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Report Calls For Improvements To San Diego’s ‘Smart Growth’ Policies

Commuters board the San Diego Trolley near Old Town on June 20, 2013.

Photo by Susan Murphy

Above: Commuters board the San Diego Trolley near Old Town on June 20, 2013.

A study by the nonprofit Circulate San Diego has found the city needs broad changes to its development code to better encourage transit-oriented development.

Report Calls For Improvements To San Diego's 'Smart Growth' Policies


Colin Parent, policy counsel, Circulate San Diego


San Diego needs changes to a number of development policies if it hopes to get more housing and job growth around public transit, according to a report released Monday by the nonprofit, Circulate San Diego.

Transit-oriented development is a key component of the city's Climate Action Plan, which requires the city to halve its greenhouse gas emissions by 2035. To achieve that goal, the report recommends changes to policies governing affordable housing, parking, traffic and development fees.

RELATED: San Diego Transit Stations Get Poor Grades

San Diego's Planning Department is in the process of updating several community plans, which guide growth and development on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis. The City Council last year passed updates to the plans for North Park, Golden Hill, Uptown and San Ysidro.


Transit-Oriented Development Report

Transit-Oriented Development Report

A report from Circulate San Diego recommends changes to San Diego policies to encourage more growth around public transit.

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Colin Parent, the Circulate San Diego's policy counsel and the report's author, said while the community plan updates are critical to encouraging the right kind of growth, the city can't rely on a piecemeal approach.

"We identified some citywide policies that could be brought to bear to achieve transit-oriented development that wouldn't require having to go through 50 different individual community plan updates in order to be implemented," he said.

City Councilman Scott Sherman, who was recently appointed chairman of the council's Smart Growth and Land Use Committee, said through a spokesman he had received the report and looked forward to reviewing it. A spokesman for Mayor Kevin Faulconer said in an e-mail: "Mayor Faulconer and Circulate San Diego share many of the same goals, including encouraging transit-oriented development and improving housing affordability. The Circulate report demonstrates that we continue to work with all stakeholders to bring forward policies to create more affordable, walkable and bikeable neighborhoods."


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Andrew Bowen
Metro Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover local government — a broad beat that includes housing, homelessness and infrastructure. I'm especially interested in the intersections of land use, transportation and climate change.

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