On the Radar

Here is a sampling of recent actions and developments that could affect the quality of life for residents in North Park and South Park. Then take the quiz below to test how well you know our neighborhood.

A new North Park Property and Business Improvement District (PBID), which was reportedly “passed by voters and the City Council,” will impose new assessment fees on property owners, including homeowners, that will be included on 2018 property tax bills. SoNo will follow up with a list of questions (number of homeowners affected, range of assessment fees, specifics about public vote that established PBID) to public officials, and we will report back on the responses.


Reports of scare tactics pressuring homeowners to list their properties for quick sale have raised concerns that urban infill could become a catalyst for unethical real estate sales practices. Homeowners should be especially wary of any agent or broker who warns that an affordable housing development could significantly depress your home’s value. Please let us know if you receive such an overture.


Update: Boundary/Montclair Apartment Complex

As reported in a November 14 Union-Tribune article, a 2.3-acre parcel at 1941 Boundary Street that is zoned for up to 100 apartments or condos has been listed for sale. Resident concerns about a resulting surge in speeding traffic, already a safety hazard on both Boundary and Montclair Streets, were presented to the North Park Planning Committee at its November meeting. A preliminary review of the parcel’s description in city records indicates that a utility easement and sloping topography would necessitate a discretionary review of any proposed development. And close proximity to I-15 could have air quality ramifications. SoNo will continue to monitor and provide updates.



School District wants to swap Education Center for new headquarters.

The San Diego Unified School District has released a Request for Proposals asking developers to submit proposals by March 15, 2018 for a deal to swap three parcels of land–including the current Education Center and historic Teachers’ Training Annex building on Park Boulevard–in exchange for a 180,000-square-foot, move-in ready office building and auditorium.

Concerns have been raised that the District may attempt to broker a deal without public input. Also, area residents had hoped the property could become parkland with a new University Heights branch library housed in the historic structure.

Residents are urged to contact Councilmember Chris Ward (christopherward@sandiego.gov)  and ask him to insist on an open process for reviewing the proposals for the Education Center.


Native habitat razed to make way for multi-family unit.
A half-acre of native habitat has been bulldozed to make way for a multi-family unit at 1332 Bancroft Street. Is this what our City Council had in mind when it voted for urban in-fill? Can we afford to lose any more of our scarce neighborhood green space?



University Avenue Pipeline Replacement Project
As a part of the Capital Improvements Program (CIP) project to replace the water mains in our community, the City will begin performing night work on Monday, April 17 at 7 p.m. on University Avenue between Florida and Oregon streets. Completion is anticipated by late 2017.  Visit the University Avenue Pipeline Replacement Project website for more information and to sign up for email updates.


Combination building permits created for four (4) new five-story single family homes on lot with existing duplex at 3414 Florida Street.
Project info link:  http://opendsd.sandiego.gov/web/Projects/Details/543793


Permit applications created for new 3-story triplex at rear of lot with existing single family residence at 4447 Texas Street.
Project info link:  http://opendsd.sandiego.gov/web/Projects/Details/542664


UPDATE!  A building permit application was filed last week for a commercial building on the Target property.
This project is ministerial, which means it is not required to come before the Golden Hill planning group. “Building permit for new 1 story commercial building shell for future tenant development on site with other buildings. Geo Haz 52. Historic per 422964.” (The “Historic per 422964” refers to historic designation for the property having been considered as part of the Target project.)
Project info link: http://opendsd.sandiego.gov/web/Projects/Details/533017
LoopNet listing: http://www.loopnet.com/xNet/MainSite/Listing/Profile/Profile.aspx?LID=18893842

Proposed 30th and Grape Retail Building: According to a Loopnet listing by Flocke and Avoyer Commercial Real Estate, the owner of the 3030 Grape Street property plans to construct and rent out a new building with 5,000 square feet of retail space. He is willing to separate the building into five 1,000-square-feet stores.

New 3-story mixed use building at 3310 32nd Street. First floor consists of a residential area and commercial area. The second floor is residential and contains kitchen and living room with deck. The third floor is a residential with master bedroom and deck. (SC SF R/NR:1835/322). Notice the character of the building relative to surrounding structures.  The project was “ministerial” which means it did not have to go before the planning group. http://opendsd.sandiego.gov/web/Approvals/Details/1522344


Permits are being issued for the construction of a 4-story, 18-unit residential building over a one-level parking garage at 3954 Kansas Street.  (Project No. 529086)

A combination building permit has been approved by the City to convert an existing single-family home into two duplexes on a mere 2,896 lot at 4339-41 Iowa Street( Building A) and 4340-42 Boundary Street (Building B). Each duplex will be 4 stories high. (Project 529573)


A building permit has been issued for a three-story multifamily building at 4365 Ohio Street.  (Project No.528105)


Three-story, six unit condominium project going up at 4211 and 4213 Utah Street, just south of El Cajon Blvd. An application has been filed with the City of San Diego for a Process 4, Tentative Map, and to waive the requirements to undergrounding utilities. (Project No. 500603)


Six-unit project going up on the 4000 block of Utah St. south of El Cajon Blvd. Garages on the ground floor, along the north side; looks to be very tight maneuvering. Of interesting note is how it overpowers and dwarfs the ‘Huffman type’ apartment buildings abutting it immediately on the north and south.

 idaho-st-2    idaho-st-1    idaho-st-4

Custom single-family home going up on a vacant lot
at 1626 31st Street in South Park (between Cedar and Elm). 4 bedroom, 3 1/2 bathrooms home with two car garage on basement. http://opendsd.sandiego.gov/web/Approvals/Details/1393335 

Environmental Analysis Cites NPCPU Flaws: In a 24-page analysis of city plans for neighborhood densification, the North Park Historical Society presented evidence that, contrary to city projections, the Draft Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) for the North Park and Golden Hill Community Plan Updates will degrade air quality and shrink affordable housing. The group criticized planners for withholding critical information and urged them to allow more time for adequate public input.

Climate Plan Backers Also Cite NPCPU Flaws: The nonprofit Climate Action Campaign has sent city planners a letter warning that community plan updates for North Park, Golden Hill and other neighborhoods “fail to demonstrate compliance with the Climate Action Plan.” As reported by Voice of San Diego, the group’s disapproval “raises the concern that the city can’t meet emissions reductions while accommodating population growth.”

Pershing Drive Bikeway:  North Park motorists who rely on Pershing Drive for access to Interstate 5 and downtown may have to find alternate routes when a new bikeway takes up half of the major artery, reducing the current four lanes of traffic to two. The 2.6-mile Pershing Bikeway, a San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) project, was endorsed 10-1 by the North Park Planning Committee at its June 21, 2016 meeting. The vote helps clear the way for the project to begin construction as scheduled in Fall 2018. Continue reading http://sonoalliance.org/pershing-drive-bikeway-update/

28th Street Canyon Development: Neighbors along South Park’s 28th Street Canyon, between Elm Street on the south and Fir Street on the north, remain in limbo about plans by a Pacific Beach developer, SDPB Holdings, to build four large homes in the sensitive habitat. The Protect 28th Street Canyon Coalition has failed so far to raise SDPB Holding’s asking price of $450,000 to buy the canyon parcel. And now the developer has been mum about moving forward with construction.

How well do you know your neighborhood?
Take this quiz and find out.

Question 1: How long does it take to commute by public transit at 7:00 a.m. from a house at 30th & Upas Streets to a job at UCSD Thornton Hospital in La Jolla? (See answer below)

Question 2: Which San Diego Council District ranks highest in Rental Housing Developments funded by the Affordable Housing Fund (AHF)? (See answer below.)

Question 3: How many alcohol licenses were there in North Park in 2010, and how many are there today? (See answer below.)

Quiz Answers

  1. The morning commute takes 1 hour and 30 minutes, according to the SD Metropolitan Transit District’s online Trip Planner. It includes a 24-minute ride on the #2 bus to 1st & Broadway, a 35-minute ride on the #150 bus to Gilman Drive and Villa La Jolla Drive, an 11-minute ride on the #202 bus to Medical Center Drive and Health Sciences Drive, and a 5-minute walk to the hospital.
  1. District Three, which includes North Park and South Park, ranks first among Council Districts with 30 San Diego Affordable Housing Fund AHF-funded rental housing developments. It is followed by District Nine with 29, District Eight with 12, and District Four with 10. District Two has 4; District One has 3; Districts Five, Six, and Seven have 1 each.
  1. According to California Alcohol Beverage Control Board data, there were 64 alcohol licenses in North Park in 2010. Five years later, there are more than 147 alcohol licenses in North Park.