The Mayor’s Spin on 49th Street

by on September 15, 2022 · 4 comments

in San Diego

By Neighbors For A Better San Diego

Whether he was deliberately sticking a finger in the eye of Talmadge residents, or just promoting a former client of his communications director, Todd Gloria lavishly praised a Bonus Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) project on 49th Street in his latest weekly newsletter.

In the newsletter, Mayor Gloria says that the redevelopment of this former single-family home is a “huge improvement aesthetically from what it was before”. Talmadge residents would disagree with the Mayor’s snobbish assessment of their neighborhood, which is distinguished by efficient, high-quality homes that were built by leading San Diego builders during the pre-WWII era:

Regardless of the mayor’s sense of aesthetics, the supposed benefits of this project are even more questionable…

1) Not Truly “Affordable” ADUs The re-developed property consists of a small, 3-bedroom, 1-bath home, which is listed for $3,595/month, four 1-bedroom units, and one studio. The four 1-bedroom units on this property are not affordable for most San Diegans. Rent for the 480 sq ft units are:

$2,255 per month for Affordable units without utilities or parking
$2,600 per month for Market Rate units without utilities or parking

What was formerly the garage is now a 355 sq ft studio ADU, which is listed for $1,950 per month.

Those rental rates far exceed the average cost of nearby rentals. That’s why one of the developer’s consultants was forced to publicly acknowledge that the rental rates for the 1-bedroom apartments are “absurd, from an affordability standpoint.”

2) A Six-Fold Density Increase The Mayor embraces this project as a great example of so-called “gentle density”. There are now six units where a single-family home once stood – that’s a 600% increase in density, three times what is required by state law.

3) Clear-Cutting the Urban Canopy There was nothing “gentle” about clear-cutting the backyard of its mature shade trees and removing other beautiful foliage from the property. The loss of that valuable urban greenery completely contradicts the Mayor’s oft-repeated pledge to fight global warming by increasing our urban forest, especially in areas south of Interstate 8.

4) Poorly Served by Transit Contrary to the Mayor’s claim that these units are well-served by transit, this development is miles from the trolley to most major job centers in the northern part of the city. was blunt in its assessment of the location, giving it a transit score of 49 out of 100 and advising prospective renters that “You’ll likely want a car when living in this area since it has few transit options.” However, the developer only provided two parking spaces between the six units.

By basing its Transit Priority Area (TPA) maps on wishful thinking instead of accessible and efficient transit, San Diego is creating infill sprawl that reinforces automobile use and does little to further San Diego’s climate action goals.

5) Taxpayers Pick Up the Tab The reason these units are less than 500 sq ft is to avoid paying Development Impact Fees (DIFs) and other fees that would go towards parks, police, fire stations, infrastructure, and other public facilities. The city waives much-needed revenue, which translates to added profit for investors, despite our $4.3 billion infrastructure deficit.

These so-called “gentle density” projects are, in fact, losers for San Diego residents. The Mayor and City Council have ignored sensible proposals from Neighbors For A Better San Diego that would mitigate the impacts of the Bonus ADU Program and allow homeowners to play a role in creating affordable housing. The only winners of the city’s current program are the developers, absentee landlords, and investors who profit richly from these policies.

— Neighbors For A Better San Diego

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


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

JayBird September 15, 2022 at 11:48 am

Just for fun, but apropos :


Francis Cannoli September 16, 2022 at 3:37 am

Brilliant, Jay Bird!

As we know, the 80’s was a wonderfully shallow time and the song still has power in the shallow sense.

How apropos for T.G.

Francis Ford Cannoli


kh September 16, 2022 at 8:58 am

You lost me at aesthetic improvement. If you prefer blank slates of stucco and concrete, then sure it’s got that in spades. Maybe remove some windows and add even more stucco, plus a stucco wall around the entire compound.

The driveway doesn’t look compliant either. Code requires at least 20′ of driveway from the sidewalk to the parking stalls, and 30′ from the curb. Without that, removing the garage requires you to remove the driveway, and in this case not even provide replacement parking.

Can’t wait to see the before and after of the street parking situation. These residents will all be owning car(s). It’s a 15 minute drive to downtown, and 45 minutes by bus. And the disparity is worse if you’re commuting to anywhere else.


nostalgic September 19, 2022 at 5:53 pm

I am no Municipal Code expert, but doesn’t that stairway require a handrail?


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