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Quality of Life

North Park Growth Plans Advance To Full City Council

The North Park neighborhood sign stands at University Avenue and 29th Street, June 28, 2016.
Katie Schoolov
The North Park neighborhood sign stands at University Avenue and 29th Street, June 28, 2016.

North Park Growth Plans Advance To Full City Council
An update to the long-term growth plans for North Park passed a San Diego City Council committee, raising its chances of passage. However the plan could still face more delays, amid fears it will fall short of the city's climate goals.

Plans to guide the long-term development of North Park and Golden Hill passed through a San Diego City Council committee Wednesday after hours of testimony, most of it urging the plans' delay.

The Smart Growth and Land Use Committee voted 3-0 to forward the two neighborhoods' community plan updates to the full City Council. The committee did not, however, recommend approval or denial of the plans, casting doubt on whether they could proceed without time-consuming amendments.

Most public speakers told the council committee the North Park plan was not ready. North Park Planning Committee chairwoman Vicki Granowitz asked the committee to delay approval of her neighborhood's plan, in part because of environmental and historic preservation concerns.

The city completed an analysis recently that found the North Park and Golden Hill plans would reduce the share of people commuting to work by car, but not to the extent foreseen under the city's Climate Action Plan. That plan expects 50 percent of San Diegans living near public transit stops to commute to work without a car by 2035.

City staffers have emphasized that community plan updates are one of several methods they can use to shift people away from cars, and that the climate plan's transportation goals are citywide and not specific to any individual neighborhoods.

Councilman Todd Gloria, whose district includes North Park and Golden Hill, said he was hesitant to delay the community plan updates given that they have been worked on by city staffers and community residents for years. But he said he was ready to ask staff to revise the plans if it became clear they would be a barrier to the city's greenhouse gas reduction goals.

"This is not about any kind of accomplishment or legacy," he said. "This is about trying to get it right."

Nicole Capretz, executive director of the nonprofit Climate Action Campaign, has lobbied city staffers to do more to ensure the community plan updates comply with the climate plan. She said she was encouraged by Gloria's comments.

"I'm expecting to work with Councilman Gloria's office and the mayor's office to see what's possible," she said.

Plan updates for Uptown and San Ysidro are on the agenda for the city's Planning Commission on Thursday. Analyses commissioned by the city have found those plans, too, would fall short of the climate plan's citywide transportation goals.

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