City Council Rules Committee to Meet on Placing the Dismantling of 30 Foot Height Limit in Midway on Ballot – Wed., May 13

by on May 12, 2020 · 14 comments

in Ocean Beach

The Rules Committee of the San Diego City Council meets Wednesday, May 13 to consider placing a measure that would dismantle the 30 foot height limit in the Midway District on the November ballot.

Councilmembers Jennifer Campbell and Chris Cate are pushing the idea. Campbell represents District 2, of course, which includes the Midway, as well as much of the coastal areas of the city.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the public will have very little say in how the Rules Committee – or the full Council for that matter – votes on this crucial vote, a vote seen as an end-run around Prop D, passed by San Diego voters overwhelmingly in 1972.

A group in opposition to this move, Save Everyone’s Access, is spearheading a letter-writing campaign to show many people are not on board with this maneuver. They are organizing people to send letters to the Committee – and they have formulated one, posted below. Here’s some of what SEA says:

BACKGROUND.  In 1972, citizens became alarmed by new hi-rises in coastal areas.   The out-of-scale buildings loomed over existing properties, and threatened to ruin the coastal communities for the average person.

In 1972 voters approved Prop. D, the 30 ft Coastal Height Limit.  This covers the coastal area, west of I-5 in the City of San Diego, except for downtown.
This height limit has served the citizens well, and must be maintained.

NOW, Councilmembers Jennifer Campbell and Chris Cate are proposing to dismantle Prop. D by removing an entire community from the height limits.
There is no need for this.  The Midway-Pacific Highway area has a new community plan, less than two years old, which allows a huge increase in housing units, 10,000 more!    This plan was based on the 30 ft height limit.

PLEASE JOIN US in opposing this plan.

    • Just reply to this email, or send a message to this address:  SaveAccessSD@gmail.com
    • Say “OK” to your name being added to our letter.
    • We need this on Tuesday, because the City Council Rules Committee meeting is Wednesday, May 13.

Coastal area height limits:  Good idea then, good idea now!

Here is the letter from Save Everyone’s Access which is addressed to the Rules Committee:

The City of San Diego has been subject to the Proposition D Coastal Height Limit for 48 years, since it was approved by voters in 1972. There is no compelling reason to amend that important citizen initiative.

The City of San Diego is on lock-down due to the pandemic, with residents confined to their homes and most businesses closed, during an unprecedented national emergency. Certain City Council and Brown Act regulations are under suspension. Public participation is seriously limited.

The City faces a budget shortfall of $300 million or more, requiring large cuts in the positions and hours of City employees. Why spend precious City funds on this ballot measure, at a time of cutbacks in parks, rec. centers, libraries, code enforcement, and all City departments?

Under these extraordinary conditions, it would be unwise, undemocratic and unnecessarily costly to move forward with a City-sponsored proposal to amend the Prop. D Coastal Height Limit.

The Midway/ Sports Arena area is an important part of the Coastal Zone, located between San Diego Bay and Mission Bay Park. The area “west of Interstate 5” is regarded as part of the coastal area, under Proposition D and the California Coastal Act. It must not be treated as optional or less important than other parts of the Coastal Zone.

An amendment to Prop. D is completely unnecessary. A new Community Plan was adopted in September 2018 for the Midway – Pacific Highway community. This plan allows for very large increases in development.

    • Housing. From the current 1935 housing units to a total of 12,090. (6.25 times)
    • Residents. From the current population of 4600 to 28,260. (6.1 times)

The Community Plan was based on the existence of the 30 ft Coastal Height Limit, and complies with that limit.

The City has already issued Requests for Proposal for the city-owned portion of the community, based on the 30 ft height limit. This redevelopment does not depend on amending the voter-approved height limit.
* * * *
For these reasons, we urge the committee to reject the proposal for a ballot measure to amend the Proposition D Coastal Height Limit.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar pujckytipy May 12, 2020 at 12:45 pm

I hope this brings more interesting changes and the guys will see this more than in other similar projects. And this is actually not so bad. My neighbors say the opposite. But if you have any constructive thoughts on this subject, I would like to listen to them. I would also like to say that people should still vote for this. Somehow, online or visit and sign a piece of paper with your neighbor. But I think it is important.

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Avatar Deborah porter May 12, 2020 at 2:54 pm

How do I sign up for SEA? I tried writing to Jen Campbell in opposition to the changing the height limit but she told me it would be good for us. How do I register my opposition to someone who will listen?? Deb porter 92107

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie May 12, 2020 at 3:30 pm

Read, sign the letter and follow the instructions in the article. Use SEA’s email address listed.

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Avatar Kathy Blavatt May 12, 2020 at 3:04 pm

Another public land giveaway and attempt at breaking the Coastal Height Limit… and trying to do it during a Covid-19 makes it worst! Campbell and Kate need to learn their history on why the Coastal Height limit is important.
We learned 17 years ago, when they tried to do this same type of deal with the Sports Arena, why building housing on Sports Arena land wasn’t a good idea: Toxic landfill (info came forward at the Bay to Bay program), flood plain, traffic, finding a new location for cell and telecommunication located on the roof of area (or zap the highrise residents), need of Sports Arena and parking lot for an Emergency Facility (No longer can use the Stadium as it was used during the SD Fires in 2008, and many more reasons.

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Avatar John O. May 12, 2020 at 4:55 pm

This is great. Hopefully there will be more affordable housing. Totally in favor. San Diego needs to grow up.

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie May 12, 2020 at 5:49 pm

Don’t count on it, unless there is intervention by the people. Of course, it’s not great. Read some history Mr John Q – you’re great at handing out links (see your other comment); this is flawed too.

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Avatar Geoff Page May 13, 2020 at 10:17 am

Take a look at Daytona Beach, Jon O and tell us if this is what you want here. https://dbshores.org/

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Avatar sd urban May 12, 2020 at 11:26 pm

Here’s my comment to the city:

I support increasing the height limit in the Midway area to enable the construction of badly-needed new housing in San Diego. There are no coastal views in this area to protect, and (mis)-applying this height limit has frozen Midway in time: a character-less community of run-down suburban strip malls and wide, high-speed roads. ??Yet the Midway area is very centrally located, and near job centers and transit (Old Town Transit Center; potential SPAWAR transit center). This is an ideal location to address our housing crisis, and much can be done by simply raising the height limit there.

One argument against raising the Midway height limit is “not enough affordable housing will be built” – by a group who also opposed affordable housing projects in Clairemont. I hope you can see their real motivations. Another is that the height limit “serves citizens well”. While that may be true for wealthy homeowners who profit from preventing new housing, it has harmed those struggling to afford housing. Finally, Point Loma residents who drive through the area oppose development there due to traffic congestion concerns. Let’s stop prioritizing motorist convenience over affordable housing, and raise the height limit. Thank you.

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie May 13, 2020 at 11:00 am

sd urban – bullpucky. It’s not the wealthy who have benefited from the height limit, it’s all San Diegans, dude. Who is this shadowy group you allude to? Get out of your pajamas and take a look around at the coast. It wasn’t the height limit that “froze” the Midway; it was a conscious policy of allowing it to become the “red light” district for all the Navy and Marines located close by. Just for starters …

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Avatar Doug Blackwood May 12, 2020 at 11:48 pm

OB is congested enough as is! Numerous new housing has been constructed, or is in process in OB!
No, I am not a wealthy property owner, but have lived in 92107 for over 50 years.
Study the history as Frank suggests; perhaps then; you will understand!

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Avatar Richard May 13, 2020 at 8:23 am

Is it too late to start a recall petition for Jen Campbell?

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Avatar Deb porter May 13, 2020 at 8:53 am

Good idea!

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Avatar Bob Wright May 13, 2020 at 11:26 am

In my opinion the whole of OB needs to be bulldozed into the ocean, it is without a doubt the most filth ridden, crime infested, sh*thole of a beach along the stretch from Imperial beach to Oceanside, there is nothing good about it, raze it, YES! and build the beautiful hi-rise condo’s that will attract quality citizens! Oh my yes! I would love it to look like Daytona Beach that attracts millions of visitors from around the world,
I am a 25 year resident of Pacific Beach and love my PB.

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Avatar Geoff Page May 13, 2020 at 4:01 pm

I’m going to assume that was a tongue-in-cheek comment and not meant to be taken seriously. Otherwise, why would you be reading The Rag?

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