Midway Planners Frustrated by Approval Process for Community Plan Update

by on July 23, 2018 · 1 comment

in Ocean Beach

By Geoff Page

Concern by Planning Group of Status of Community Plan

The Midway/Pacific Highway Community Planning Group’s biggest concern, during its regular monthly meeting July 18, was its community plan, specifically, pushing it over the finish line.

The plan was supposed to go to city council in June, but it was delayed by questions from the city council’s Smart Growth and Land Use Committee over mobility issues.

The Land Use Committee met on May 21.  The following results are from the minutes on the City’s website:

“Motion by Councilmember Zapf to move the item forward to full Council without recommendation and direct staff to look into the following issues prior to Council:

  • Traffic mitigation and mobility improvements including traffic calming
  • Parking management for retaining the Class II bike lanes
  • A potential change to the commercial use for Hancock Street that will allow residential use
  • Feasibility for an Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District (EIFD) to help fund traffic mitigation
  • Maximizing density on the Sports Arena parcel”

Conrad Wear, temporarily representing Zapt’s office in the Midway district, explained the EIFD (Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District). Basically, cities get to keep a certain amount of property tax.  One of the main funding mechanisms is called Tax Increment Financing or TIF.  This allows for issuing bonds based on future increases in property taxes.

The normal yearly real estate increases on all properties within the district and revenue from future projects is collected. The money from the increases is dedicated to a defined area such as the Midway district but has to be used for infrastructure.  At the moment, the only active EIFD is in Otay Mesa.

Use of TIFs is controversial, there are abundant criticisms of this funding mechanism out there as well as some good stories.

Zapf’s office had additional suggestions.  One included a mechanism to ensure $1 million in “soft costs” would be available to study mobility improvements such as the freeway ramp connecting I8 East with I5 North and improvements at the east end of Rosecrans. Soft costs are things like engineering studies, not construction.

Another suggestion was to put language in the plan about a future park and ride at the Old Town Trolley Station to provide shuttles for people working on the Point Loma submarine base.

The Midway board voted unanimously to accept the suggestions.

Planning board chair Cathy Kenton then asked Planning Department Program Manager, Tait Galloway, when he thought the Midway Community Plan would make it to city council for approval. Galloway replied it was yet to be decided.  Staff is looking into the items listed by the Smart Growth and Land Use Committee and that was taking some time. There appeared to be some frustration and resignation in the room, everyone wants the plan to finally be done and approved.

San Diego to Receive $18 Million From State for Homeless

The next item of interest to San Diegans was explained by Chevelle Tate, representing State Senator Toni Atkins office.  Tate related that San Diego would be receiving a chunk of funds from the state dedicated to the homeless issue.

San Diego is getting seven percent of the statewide pool of money based a formula that says San Diego has seven percent of the homeless population statewide. The area will be getting $33 million, with $18 million coming to the city.  The balance will go to the San Diego Regional Task Force on Homeless that serves the whole county.

Chair Kenton was skeptical of the seven percent figure.  San Diego is California’s second largest city, Kenton said, making it hard to believe this city has such a small percentage of the statewide homeless population. She asked for additional information and Tate said she would report back.  Since there are yearly counts of the homeless population, it is assumed the figure came from that.

UC to Reduce Tuition

Tate also announced that the University of California system will be reducing tuition for the first time in many years thanks to the healthy California economy.

“Pedestrian Priority Signals”

Cycling advocate, Nicole Burgess, introduced a new traffic signal technology called “Pedestrian Priority Signals.”  These employ an LPI or a Leading Pedestrian Interval.  Simply put, the signal gives pedestrians an advance walk signal before motorists get a green light enabling the pedestrians several seconds to start walking across a crosswalk before the cars can move.  The idea is that the pedestrian will be more visible to drivers, especially those turning right at a corner.

According to Burgess, the city is ready to place 50 of these new lights.  At this time, the city will decide where to try these out but the city will also take suggestions from the community. This is another part of the effort to achieve “Vision Zero,” the City of San Diego goal of eliminating all traffic related fatalities and severe injuries by 2025.

PB Pipeline South Replacement project

There was a report of the Pacific Beach Pipeline South Replacement project that involves replacing a large trunk waterline from Kettner Blvd. to Mission Beach.  The part that could affect local traffic is work along Midway from Barnett to the West Mission Bay Bridge.  The work will be all along Midway Drive, which is a heavily used roadway.

Expected Funds from Zapf’s Office for Midway Community Clean-up Went to Clairemont Mesa

Lastly, there was an interesting item about a planned cleanup operation in the Midway area.  Apparently, the group was expecting this to happen with help from Zapf’s office in form of assistance and a small amount of money from the District 2 discretionary fund.  When asked about this, Bruce Williams, Zapf’s representative, looked visibly uncomfortable.  He responded that the money and assistance had instead been promised elsewhere.  When queried on where the money went, Williams looked like he really did not want to reply but finally said Clairemont Mesa.  Board members were not happy saying this was the second year they had been put off.  To their credit, no one mentioned that Zapf’s former city council area was Clairemont, where she lived.







{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Frank Gormlie July 23, 2018 at 11:42 am

Don’t forget, this is the same community plan update that will enable massive redevelopment of the Midway District.

See this: https://obrag.org/2018/05/city-poised-to-dismantle-30-foot-height-limit-to-allow-massive-redevelopment-in-midway-district/


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