For the first time in anyone’s memory, voters in a San Diego community planning board election had an opportunity to question candidates when the Greater Golden Hill Planning Committee (GGHPC) held a voter education forum on March 6, 2018.

Eight of the nine contenders for eight open seats in the March 14th GGHPC election shared their views on pressing neighborhood issues in a lively discussion at the Golden Hill Recreation Center.

Four priority areas emerged: affordable housing, traffic, historic character, and urban forestry. Challenges and potential solutions in each area are listed below, along with valuable ideas about government programs for landscaping and retrofitting older houses.

SoNo Neighborhood Alliance thanks GGHPC Chair David Swarens and the eight candidates who participated.


Affordable Housing

Challenges:  Demand for affordable housing exceeds supply, in part because legal requirements are not upheld, and this prevents young and underrepresented people from living in Golden Hill.


  • Developers should not be allowed to skirt the “10% set-aside” mandated affordable housing in new projects, nor should they renege on promises made to win community support.
  • Creative housing configurations, like granny flats and dormitory buildings, can boost affordable housing.



Challenges:  Most jobs that pay enough to rent or buy new market-rate housing are north of I-8; unsafe roads hinder bicycle commuting; Golden Hill has inadequate public transit access.


  • Incentives are needed to attract high-paying jobs to Golden Hill and south of I-8.
  • Encourage employers to offer flextime and telecommunications options.
  • Work with MTS to boost bus service in Golden Hill, and bring back the Golden Hill trolley!


Historic Character

Challenges:  Too many new projects are incompatible with Golden Hill’s historic character, and too often, developers are unwilling to receive and incorporate community input.


  • The more we promote walkability, the more we can preserve the scale of historic character.
  • Golden Hill should not be shortchanged on infrastructure maintenance (e.g., sidewalks).
  • The “Quieter Homes” program offers help for energy retrofitting of older historic homes.


Urban Forestry

Challenges:  Trees and other urban landscaping beautify neighborhoods and help clean the air. Golden Hill needs to maintain and build up its urban forestry.


  • Residents and businesses should take advantage of the City’s “Free Tree Program.”
  • Let’s take care of the trees we have, and let’s plant native and drought-tolerant greenery.