I Might Be Wrong But What If I’m Not?
A Review of Last Night’s Planning Meeting
Last night, Michael Prinz, the City’s Senior Planner for the Morena Corridor, presented the revised draft Morena Specific Plan (MSP).
I made a last-ditch motion to resubmit our Subcommittee’s prior request that the Land Use and Zoning element (see letter below) of the MSP be returned to us for our formal recommendation so that we could retain the 30ft Height Limit in the revised draft Plan. The LUZ is the plan element that provides certainty for both maximum building height restrictions and density levels within the boundaries of the MSP.
Finalizing the LUZ in the MSP would have sped up the approval, and hence guarantee, that the Community’s long-standing desire to keep new construction under 30ft and density at manageable levels would have been reflected in the Plan’s final draft prior to its submission to the San Diego Planning Commission.
What Was Unanimous Before, Was Rejected Last Night
I assumed that the majority, if not all members of the Subcommittee would agree to my motion because they did so unanimously in 2016 when the City Planners stripped LUZ from us and forwarded it to the Clairemont Community Plan Update process (CPU).
Had the LUZ been given back to our Subcommittee where it belongs, we could have had approval before the CPU is complete because the City is fast-tracking the process to approve the MSP by this summer.
The removal effectively forestalls the resolution of height limits in Bay Park until sometime in 2020 or 2021 because that’s when the CPU is scheduled to be completed and ready for the San Diego City Council to approve it.
I cannot comprehend why our Subcommittee members, exclusive of one lone vote with mine, voted against the motion to return the LUZ. As a result, the guarantee of the 30ft height limit in Clairemont was kicked dangerously down the road. To be fair, voting in favor of my motion wouldn’t have been a final guarantee for the height limit, but would’ve, in my opinion, put the community in a better position to defend it when the battle re-starts during a final City Council Meeting to approve the MSP this summer.
Maybe the dissenting members of the Subcommittee have confidence the 30Ft limit will be retained in the CPU process- another Subcommittee of which some of them are members. Or maybe they were exhausted by my consistent requests. Its been a long 3 year process for all of the subcommittee members, volunteers who’ve sacrificed hours of their time to review the Plan.
I might be wrong in assuming that the 30ft limit might not be protected in the CPU process. But what if I’m not wrong?
One last thing. When I asked why the City had removed a key foreword from the revised MSP that had been in the prior drafts, Mr. Prinz, after hearing the community for the past four years demand that the 30ft limit be in the Plan, stated that he had “forgotten” to include it. Here’s key forward:
“The Clairemont Mesa Planning Group, and concerned Bay Park residents and small business owners, have expressed opposition to some of the previous draft recommendations. Due to a lack of community support for how the study could impact future development on certain key parcels, the Study has been revised and the following recommendations are to be carried forward through the implementation process:
- Maintain the existing Clairemont Mesa Height Limit Overlay Zone as outlined in the community plan and in Municipal Code Chapter 13, Article 2, Division 13.
- Re-evaluate recommended residential densities in light of community concerns related to traffic and view shed impacts associated with new development.
- Maintain parking along the west side of Morena Boulevard (between Napier Street and Littlefield Street), until a more permanent parking solution is identified that ensures reasonable availability of parking for businesses along the corridor.