College Area Residents ‘Shut Out, But Not Shutting Up’

by on September 30, 2022 · 2 comments

in San Diego

By Neighbors for a Better San Diego

After waiting 7 months to see the Planning Department’s revisions for the College Area Community Plan Update, many of you were locked out of last night’s long-awaited meeting on September 28th, 2022. The meeting materials have been posted to the City’s website and we are providing this summary for our members.

Limited Public Participation

First, City staff failed to properly accommodate the number of pre-registered attendees. As a result, attendance was automatically capped at one hundred, locking out anyone who was not already in the queue, which is unacceptable considering the known public interest in this meeting and the fact that the Planning Department was aware in advance of how many attendees had pre-registered.

This is not the first time residents have been kept from attending the Planning Department’s College Area meetings, but it should be the last.

Limited Public Comment

The meeting “chat” feature was disabled and attendees were told by the Planning Department hosts that they were unable to figure out how to fix the issue.

The Community’s “7 Visions” Plan Was Dismissed

The community mapped their own plan, as instructed by the Planning Department, and submitted it well in advance of this meeting. So it came as a surprise when the community was informed during this meeting that their 7-Visions Community Plan had been rejected due to technical issues. This was not communicated to the College Area Community Plan Update Committee or Neighbors For A Better San Diego prior to the meeting.

During the meeting, the planner said he thought it would be a “violation of the Brown Act” to discuss the shortcomings of the plan with the community prior to the meeting. To be clear, this is not a violation of the Brown Act and any issues could have and should have been relayed to the community well before the meeting so that the map could have been revised in time.

Meet Blueprint SD

Planning Department’s updated proposal with Blueprint SD. (Click map to enlarge)

Much of the limited 90-minute meeting was spent by City staff justifying their revised community proposal with their new planning tool, Blueprint SD.

College Area resident and NFABSD member, Danna Givot, reviewed Blueprint SD documents in advance and shared her comments during the meeting at the request of the Chair of the College Area Community Plan Update Committee.

Her concern is that,

“we know almost nothing, but it is supposed to inform our Community Plan Update from this point forward… How does it work? Who knows? We have been told that someone feeds the magical mapping machine unknown Series 14 forecast data, unknown land use planning data and assumptions, and unknown mobility data and assumptions. And then it spits out travel behavior based on unknown algorithms created by an unknown consultant.”

This methodology has not been published and is so new that it has not been through an Environmental Impact Report, public hearings, or a City Council vote. The current timetable shows these things happening in the winter and spring of 2023 with adoption next spring and summer. According to the Blueprint SD timetable, implementation is supposed to take place after that.

So, why is this unproven methodology being foisted on us now? It is irresponsible for the Planning Department to be implementing Blueprint SD before it is properly vetted.

So, What’s Next?

We must now evaluate the city’s technical objections to the College Area community’s 7 Visions plan, make any necessary revisions, present the revised plan to the community, get the revised plan to the Planning Commission workshop in November, and have it included in the subsequent environmental impact review.

Stay tuned for updates and information on upcoming meetings.

Please help spread awareness.

Neighbors For A Better San Diego is a local non-profit group of San Diego neighbors, community leaders, and advocates formed to protect & preserve single-family neighborhoods from overdevelopment.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

korla eaquinta October 1, 2022 at 1:09 pm

The city is well aware of the limits of their Zoom account. Last year many were unable to participate in a Zoom call that was capped at 100. I believe this to be a serious Brown Act Violation. Unconscionable!


kh October 3, 2022 at 1:22 pm

But the 300-user version is an extra $50 per year. Do you really really have to attend, can’t you just trust that it’ll all be handled properly without your presence?


Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: