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Mission Valley’s Population Could Triple Under New Growth Plan
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Photo by Milan Kovacevic
San Diego City Council members Wednesday advanced new growth plans for Mission Valley that could cause the neighborhood's population to more than triple over the coming decades.
The proposed Mission Valley Community Plan is the latest in a series of updates to several of the city's outdated zoning laws. The plan calls for more high-density, mixed-use development around the neighborhood's Green Line trolley stations, as well as changes that would make it more walkable and bikeable.
The council's Land Use and Housing Committee voted unanimously to recommend the plan's approval by the full City Council.
"I think this is a very good, balanced plan that is not going to make everybody totally happy but makes as many people as happy as they possibly can be," said City Councilman Scott Sherman, whose district includes Mission Valley.
In total, the updated plan would allow roughly 28,000 more homes than what currently exists. Some of the new highest-density zonings would impact parcels that now have big box retail stores coupled with even bigger parking lots.
Jonathan Frankel, chair of the volunteer Mission Valley Community Planning Group, said the group has been more welcoming to the idea of adding more residents than those in other neighborhoods.
"Our neighborhoods and our city are great because of the people that live here, and it's the residents that create art and culture and civic engagement and business opportunities," he said. "We need to create opportunities to welcome new generations of San Diegans."
One particularly vexing problem for city planners is Mission Valley's "superblocks" — large parcels of land that offer little accessibility to walkers and bikers. The plan update seeks to address that by providing public paths through private developments called "paseos" that provide more direct pedestrian access to shops, transit stops, and other amenities.
Frankel added that much of Mission Valley's development over the years has obscured the San Diego River to the point where many residents don’t even realize it exists. cut off public access points to the San Diego River, and that many in San Diego do not even realize the river exists.
"A lot of our buildings in Mission Valley turn their back on the river," he said. "And what the plan really seeks to do is to activate those spaces and to really incorporate the river as a treasured asset instead of an afterthought that's buried behind a building."
The full City Council is expected to vote on the plan's approval in September.
City planning staffers are currently working on community plan updates for Clairemont, Kearny Mesa, Mira Mesa and University City. An updated community plan for Barrio Logan has been stalled since it was overturned by voters in June 2014.
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