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University Heights Takes Action

Representatives of the University Heights' residents have participated actively and constructively for the last two years on the City of San Diego's Mid City Planned District Ordinance revision process. We are disappointed that City staff will not consider our recommendations until sometime in the 2004 fiscal year because our project was prioritized number 13 on the list of 12 projects that will be addressed this year. We are urging the city to take immediate action on two aspects of the existing PDO that are of urgent concern in our community. First, the City should expand the prohibition of tandem parking in fulfilling the minimum parking requirements from the area east of Park Boulevard to the entire University Heights community west of Park Boulevard, and second, the City should establish an official process that allows the University Heights Urban Design Review Council to review development proposals in both the Greater North Park and Uptown communities.

University Heights is divided into two planning groups: the Greater North Park Planning group, which governs East of Park Blvd. and the Uptown Planners, which governs the remainder of our community west of Park Blvd.

The University Heights Urban Design Review Council was formed out of the UH Community Association in November of 2000 in response to the demolition of a historic quality single family home. No one in the community was aware of what was happening until it was gone. The home was replaced with a modern five-unit condo, without enough off street parking to accommodate the new residents. Buildings of this style and scale disrupt the character and historic fabric of our neighborhood. The UHUDRC is a group of homeowners, business people and local residents who are concerned about the direction of future building and growth within our community. The design review committee would like to be officially involved at both planning groups to give assistance and input when a project or issue arises from our neighborhood. The council would act as an advisory review committee to both planning groups to review projects and issues within our neighborhood and make recommendations to the planning group having jurisdiction. The group operates under the umbrella of the University Heights Community Development Association and is governed by its goals and objectives.

The University Heights and North Park neighborhoods east of Park Boulevard have already prohibited tandem parking (i.e.; 2 spaces by parking one car behind another in a garage 35-ft long by 9-ft wide.). Approximately one full parking space off street is required per bedroom in multiple family unit developments in most communities. Continuing to allow tandem parking in the neighborhood further impacts the parking shortage. We feel it encourages demolition of the historic quality single family homes because if they had to provide the full amount of parking needed, teardowns would not be financially sound. Five single-family homes, average age one hundred years old, have already been destroyed in just the last two years. Five to six unit condos were built in their place putting ten or more cars on our street per complex. The neighborhood was not given a chance to provide feedback when UH and the Uptown area was put in the Tandem Parking Overlay Zone, which was added to the Land Development Code in 1997 (effective 1-1-2000). We have a major parking shortage in UH. It seems ironic that a consultant is being paid to try to find solutions for our parking problems while allowing new development to put in less parking than normally required. Many of our historic homes that give our neighborhood character and value do not have driveways or garages as they were built before the average working class family, who lived in our homes, had cars. In effect these new developments are stealing parking from established residents. Often cars are blocking the sidewalk, which requires pedestrians to walk into the street. This causes a public safety problem and discourages a walkable neighborhood.

The UHUDRC gained the support of the Uptown Planners Board at their meeting on December 3rd, 2002. After a long discussion and helpful additions to our objectives, motions were passed to support both of the two major issues we have been working on for the last two years.

We are lucky to have such a great, hardworking group that have volunteered their time and talents for the good of the community. They are much appreciated. We still have a long way to go. The University Heights Urban Design Review Council continues to meet on a regular basis, generally the 3rd Thursday of the month, and resident are encouraged to get involved. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, January 16th at 6:30pm at the UHCDC office, 4452 Park Blvd., Suite 103. For more info on meeting dates and times call (619) 297-3166.

2003 - Volume 34, Issue 1

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2476 San Diego Avenue · San Diego CA 92110 · Phone (619) 297-9327
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