Midway Planners Celebrate Council Approval of Community Plan and Turn to Impact Fee Study

by on September 24, 2018 · 1 comment

in Ocean Beach

by Geoff Page

The Midway-Pacific Community Planning Board’s September 19 meeting was something of a celebration because the city council voted on Monday, September 17, to approve the long awaited community plan.  Councilmember Zapf’s office even sent over two boxes of pastries for the occasion.  The process is not yet over. Because part of the Midway area is under the jurisdiction of the Coastal Commission, the plan has to go there next, although no one expects any problems.

Impact Fee Study

The board is now turning its attention to the Impact Fee Study that is being implemented for the Midway area.  As stated in the document presented to the board by Angela Abeyta from Facilities Planning, the purpose of the IFS is to “provide a list of facilities that are needed to implement the goals of the community plan and to develop applicable Development Impact Fees or DIFs” that will be paid by new development.  The fees includes $7,975 for each new dwelling unit built and $748 for non-residential development.  The imbalance was notable.

The IFS money is to be used for infrastructure such as mobility features that include road improvements and bike lanes as well as fire stations and parks.  The document presented by the city contains a long list of road improvements, bike lane ideas, pedestrian improvements, and some major ideas for roads such as the missing I-8 to I-5 connection.  It is important to note that the fees expected to be collected will only fund a very small portion of any of these improvements, the majority of the funding will have to come from elsewhere.

What Are the Numbers for Increases of New Residential Units?

The city’s presentation of the IFS did help clear up one of the many misconceptions floating around about the Midway plans.  One of those misconceptions has to do with the increase in residential housing.  Some have referred to an increase from 2,000 to 11,000 new residential units.  These are SANDAG figures and are not from the new Midway plan.  SANDAG estimated about 1,800 new residential units back in 2005.  SANDAG has upped the estimate to nearly 11,000.  The previous Midway plan, decades old, estimated about 5,400 new residential units and the new plan estimates around 11,000.  While still significant, this is a less dramatic an increase that the SANDAG figures represented.

The residential increase is due to zoning changes removing industrial and commercial areas and creating new residential areas.  Midway’s residential population is currently fairly small compared to the land area.  According to the city’s traffic engineers, residential traffic will be less than what would have resulted from industrial and commercial operations.

The Midway board now will be looking at the list of possible improvements and will be prioritizing the things on the list they believe are needed first.  Anyone interested in seeing the list and commenting on the priorities may do so by contacting the board.  There will be discussions at the board’s October meeting about these projects.

Chair’s Position on 30 Foot Height Limit

One issue that came up was the 30-foot height limit.  Chair Cathy Kenton was clearly upset that she was portrayed in the media as wanting to do away with the beloved height limit.  She emphatically said that was not true.  She said there were discussions about some possible exceptions for the Midway area, considering its location, but she was not in favor of doing away with the height limit. There has been quite a bit of upset within the Peninsula area over the rumors about the height limit and about the development increase planned for the area.  She emphasized that this is a planning document for several decades and fears of a development explosion in the area are unfounded.

Other News …

In other news, Tony Atkin’s representative provided some interesting figures about the homeless.  At the last Midway meeting, she had told the board that San Diego only had 7% of the state’s homeless population and the figure was received with some skepticism.  She was asked some substantiation and she came back wit hthe requested information.

San Diego does indeed only have 7% of the state’s homeless population, LA has 41%, San Francisco has 5.7%, and San Jose has 5.5%.  LA was getting 33% of the state funding for homelessness and San Diego was getting 7%, matching the share of homeless that are here.  California has the fourth highest homeless population in the country or 20% overall.

An announcement was made about a gathering with state assembly member Todd Gloria at the Mission Bay Yacht Club on October 6 that the public is invited to attend.

Community Relations Officer David Surwilo spoke about shift changes for the officers in the Midway area and then fielded questions that lead to an explanation about staffing difficulties at the PD.   The difficulty of getting people successfully through the police academy and then retaining those people in the face of competition from other policing agencies has been a challenge.  Surwilo explained that officers are being pulled from their regular duties, such as the motor pool, to help in the field.  A Union Tribune article Friday, September 22 about down-sizing special units to help in the filed explained the situation in more detail https://www.10news.com/news/sdpd-downsizing-special-units-officers-worried.

Surwilo also cleared up some misconceptions about allowing people to sleep in their cars.  Some people had heard the PD would not ticket people for this but Surwilo explained this was due to a temporary court order while the issue was being decided.  The eventual decision was to allow this.  The police department was not responsible for it.

The last item of note is that the Midway group has a new meeting location at the Urban Corps offices located at 3127 Jefferson Street.  This street is off of Rosecrans just before going under the freeway west of Pacific Highway.  There is some parking reserved for the meetings in the Urban Core lot.  Street parking in the area can be challenging.  The meetings will still be at 3:00, the third Wednesday of every month.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Richard Ross September 24, 2018 at 9:48 pm

Kathy kenton apparently has forgotten at one of the Midway board meetings she did express that the Midway district should not have been included in the 30 foot height limit.


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