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Clairemont Housing Plans Get Warm Reception At Planning Commission

A woman rakes leaves in front of a home in Clairemont, June 24, 2019.

Photo by Kris Arciaga

Above: A woman rakes leaves in front of a home in Clairemont, June 24, 2019.

San Diego planning commissioners gave feedback Thursday on plans to increase housing density in Clairemont, as the city struggles to address a housing shortage that has contributed to skyrocketing rents and home prices.

Much of Clairemont is currently restricted to single-family homes, meaning duplexes and apartments are illegal to build. But the neighborhood's proximity to job centers such as Kearny Mesa and University City, and the forthcoming extension of the Blue Line trolley on the neighborhood's western edge have put it in the sights of city planners.

RELATED: Clairemont Affordable Housing Plan Inches Forward

The Planning Department has been holding public meetings and created an online planning tool seeking input for how and where to increase density in Clairemont. They have tasked residents and the volunteer Clairemont Community Planning Group with zoning for 5,000 additional homes beyond what current zoning allows, and locating 40 percent of those homes near a future trolley station.

Susan Mournian, who chairs the group's subcommittee focused on the community plan update, said discussions have been heated but that residents acknowledge change is coming. She said the planning group worked hard to reach consensus on allowing up to — but no more than — 5,000 new homes.

"It was very challenging to have six hours of community input, six hours of subcommittee input, but we did move from the point of a unanimous vote to go up to 5,000 units," Mournian said. "And all of you who vote on things know that it's very, very difficult to come up with anything unanimous."

Planning commissioners praised those residents who have showed a willingness to accept change in their neighborhood.

RELATED: ‘Yes In God’s Backyard’ Seeks Affordable Housing On Religious Land

"Density is coming, so design it in such a way that makes sense for your community, and allow for these thoughtful developments to create a benefit in your community," said Commissioner Susan Peerson.

Other residents told the Planning Commission that Clairemont should not have to accept much of any new density and that residents wanted to keep their neighborhood a quiet bedroom community.

In addition to changes to zoning, city planners are also examining where to improve pedestrian, bicycle and public transit infrastructure to reduce the neighborhood's car-centric orientation. Those plans could include bus-only lanes on the neighborhood's main thoroughfares that connect to the planned trolley extension.

By Reporter Andrew Bowen

San Diego planning commissioners gave high marks to city staffers on their plans to increase housing density in Clairemont, as the city struggles to address a housing shortage that has contributed to skyrocketing rents and home prices.

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