Workshop for Peninsula Residents on “Vision” for Downtown San Diego

by on April 3, 2013 · 5 comments

in Environment, Ocean Beach, San Diego

San Diego downtownbay

There will be an “interactive workshop” tonight, Wednesday, April 3rd, being held at Robb Field for local residents’ visions of downtown San Diego. The workshop is being run by the San Diego Downtown Partnership, a non-profit founded by the San Diego Foundation primarily to figure out how to make downtown more “accessible” to residents throughout the city.

The workshop will be held from 5 to 6:30 pm at the Robb Field Recreation Center, which has an address of 2525 Bacon Street.

The Partnership held a similar workshop in Pacific Beach last night, April 2nd. These series of workshops are totally independent of the on-going planning committees of the various neighborhoods.

In fact, tonight’s workshop overlaps the time for the OB Planning Board meeting, which meets at 6pm at the OB Recreation Center on Santa Monica Avenue. Current and past Board members of both the OB and Peninsula Planning committees had not even heard of the workshop tonight until contacted by the OB Rag. One former member had heard of the organization and had attended a previous workshop held by the group.

I spoke with Partnership representative Jared Emmitt, and he told me that the workshop leaders will throw some little known facts about downtown San Diego and get people’s responses.  “It’s inter-active”, he said.  “We want the opinions of how to make downtown more accessible.” Downtown is the city’s hub, he started, before I politely told him he was preaching to the choir.

If anyone has questions or comments, don’t hesitate to contact Mr. Emmitt at (619) 234-0201 or .

Here is the email announcement of the Downtown Partnership, sent to us by a friend.

Interactive Workshop Agenda Items:

  •  Our Greater San Diego Vision Update
  •  Preparing for the Future of San Diego
  •  Accommodating Expected Growth & Why Downtown Matters
  •  The Planning Process & Action Plan Moving Forward

 San Diego is growing. Let’s plan responsibly together! To reserve a space in this town hall, please contact Jared Emmitt at the Downtown San Diego Partnership at (619) 234-0201 or For more information about “Our Downtown” Vision, please visit

(hat tip to Debbie Greene)

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie April 3, 2013 at 12:29 pm

The following is from Seth Connolly, a former member of the OB Planning Board:

The “Our Greater San Diego Vision Update” was more or less a big public outreach effort put out by the San Diego Foundation over the last couple of years in order to promote the need for a regional planning vision over the next 30-40 years or so. If you didn’t hear about it, neither did a lot of other people. Went to one of the early meetings and I definitely supported what they were doing, although it’s kind of hard to say what that was other than holding a bunch of workshops and getting people to talk in general terms about what issues are important to them.

Nevertheless, I think it was still a worthwhile enough endeavor if that’s what they felt like spending their money on. There’s a lot of challenges related to our projected population growth in the next 20 years or so and most people don’t really think about what that’s really going to mean in practice. Where and how will all these new residents live? Will there be enough jobs, water, energy and transportation infrastructure for everyone? They had a big online questionnaire up for a while where you could prioritize your future concerns and vote on one of 4 future scenarios, which were various degrees of smart growth or urban sprawl.

As I am sure you know, the Foundation is a philanthropic organization, so IMO there was really no agenda there. All pretty benign, really. How the future will take shape is already largely defined by existing policy and zoning and the long-term planning of both the public and private sectors. Glad they were challenging citizens to think, in any event.

While the bulk of this visioning exercise is over with, these current meetings appear to be an extension of this program done in partnership with this downtown civic booster organization, and I believe that these meetings are just to ask the residents of the beach communities for their input on a vision for the downtown areas.



Frank Gormlie April 3, 2013 at 1:32 pm

The Downtown San Diego Partnership’s Board of Directors is a “who’s-who” of construction and corporate interests.


Seth April 3, 2013 at 2:44 pm

I noticed that as well, although it should be noted that some do not fit that profile, such as the lady who worked at Alpha Project, a work program for the homeless. Other serve on the boards of local environmental or philanthropic events.

More importantly, it’s Downtown and not OB in the crosshairs of that “one million people moving to San Diego in the next 20 years” or whatever SANDAG is projecting. To handle that many new residents, you basically have to either build up (density) or out (urban sprawl). While a group of downtown real estate people and construction companies may have a vested interest in all this, I would offer that developers are going to profit either way, and it’s just a question of whether it is better to have condo towers downtown or more Rancho Bernardos built out in places like Valley Center and Potrero. Shoot, even Paris was built by developers at one point.

That’s kind of oversimplifying, as there will be a bit of both density and sprawl, but pretty much any planner alive would argue that density is generally preferable and that a lot of that population growth should be steered into existing population cores like Downtown.

Yeah, not quite clear on how this program is going from the Foundation to this Downtown civic booster group, and yeah, maybe check the local community calendar next time you set up a neighborhood workshop, but as long as all this population growth is not displacing great communities like OB (and I wish Little Italy luck there), I am cool if some downtown bigwigs want to have a few workshops about coming up with some sort of “community vision” to help them finally grow up to be Vancouver someday.


Frank Gormlie April 4, 2013 at 12:16 pm

Last night – Wed – I went to the meeting room for the workshop, but noticed a small sign that statement it had been cancelled, and postpone to a later date. Later I noticed an email from the Partnership sent around 3pm that the workshop had been re-scheduled to coordinate with the OB Planning Board. At least 2 other people had come up during the time I waited around – which was for a half hour. It would have been a dismal turnout, so rescheduling is probably a good idea.


Debbie April 4, 2013 at 7:21 pm

Looks like there are more than a few meetings scheduled based on the info on their website :

Local meetings are:

April 6, 2013
Point Loma
Location: PL/Hervey Library, 3701 Voltaire Street, 92107
Time: 12:30pm to 2:00pm – A Saturday afternoon????

OB rescheduled to:
June 6, 2013 Thursday
Location: Robb Field Recreation Center, 2525 Bacon Street, 92107
Time: 5:30pm to 7:00pm

Do they have enough Directors?


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