Bridge Housing Corp. Selected by City Council to Build in Controversial Famosa Canyon

by on July 19, 2021 · 8 comments

in Ocean Beach

On Tuesday, July 13, the San Diego City Council authorized the San Diego Housing Commission to build up to 78 affordable housing units on the 5-acre parcel in Famosa Canyon. The council entered into an agreement with Bridge Housing Corporation to design housing units at the southeast corner of Famosa and Nimitz boulevards.

The decision appears to resolve the controversies over the site, one of the last open spaces in Point Loma and used by kids on bikes for generations. Many in the community have fought this development for years, at the grassroots level and at the local planning board level. But it appears to no avail.

Opponents of the development have been characterized as “NIMBYs” and even “racist” by its advocates, who view any opposition of developing the site as opposition to affordable housing. Never mind the environment, the lack of open areas in that part of Point Loma, and the availability of affordable housing within fractions of a mile away.

Bridge is to receive a predevelopment loan of nearly a million dollars “to be used for predevelopment activities.” The staff person on the project stated (in classic bureacratise):

“The intent of the loan is to assist Bridge in designing and determining the feasibility of a potential affordable housing project on the property. In no event, shall the Housing Authority or Housing Commission take any action that would foreclose any alternatives or mitigation measures with respect to any use of the property, including the ‘no project’ alternative.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that means Bridge will use the loan to see if it’s even feasible to build affordable housing on the site, and if it determines it cannot build the units, the “no project alternative,” then the Housing Commission will not prevent alternatives or “mitigation measures” to the use of  the property.

Of course, on the day of the council vote, there was Jen Campbell misrepresenting the situation. She said it’s “been close to 40 years that this property has been set aside for working families …” That’s bull pucky! That open space was part of a much larger tract of land (the Collier gift to “the children of San Diego”) destined for parkland. Campbell pretends to want affordable housing, yet did nothing to ensure Measure E required it.

News source.



{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Mat Wahlstrom July 19, 2021 at 11:31 am

“…and if it determines it cannot build the units, the ‘no project alternative,’ then the Housing Commission will not prevent alternatives or ‘mitigation measures’ to the use of the property.”

That’s the kicker, isn’t it? Anyone want to take a bet that they’ll report it’s not “feasible” to build affordable units here or leave it as open space, but market rate or luxury housing would be?


Angela July 19, 2021 at 7:51 pm

I couldn’t agree more with you Mat of what you think will happen. Through out the meeting they consistently would say that the plan was only an idea, and it could change as to hinting the plans probably will change. Besides, the minds of the Housing Authority, aka City Council was made up well before they even heard anything from the members of the community. Their bias/intolerance/unfairness was blatantly apparent when they gave those who called in only 1.30 seconds to speak on this agenda item but gave every other person who spoke on every other agenda item 2 full minutes.


Geoff Page July 19, 2021 at 2:34 pm

That has been their threat all along, that the end result could be sale to a developer to do whatever they wished unless they get their way. The property is worth many, many times more than the $250k they paid for it. If they sell it, they should be made to price it at the equivalent amount of money today, not the market rate, so there could be chance to keep it open space or even park land.


korla eaquinta July 20, 2021 at 10:16 am

Is this a drawing they presented? The PCPB has consistently been promised a preview of any proposals. There should have been a presentation to the board if there was a concept. Guess we know how they feel about PGs.


Geoff Page July 20, 2021 at 10:30 am

No they don’t, but this is not a project yet. When the time comes for an actual project, the PCPB should then have a say. But, I’m not sure if the Housing Authority is required to come before the planning board even then.


korla eaquinta July 20, 2021 at 11:44 am

I don’t remember if they are required to or not but they said they would come back with any project to be considered.


kh July 20, 2021 at 11:21 am

This is the third feasibility study SDHC has commissioned in the past few years on this parcel. How did the previous millions spent not make that determination? Must be nice spending other people’s money.


Frank Gormlie July 22, 2021 at 9:32 am

Excellent point!


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