Thursday, November 12, 2009

October 14, 2009 Minutes


OCTOBER 14, 2009

Meeting held at Balboa Park Golf Course Clubhouse – Golf Course Drive

Call to order at 6:35 pm by Chair C. Blatt. Agenda had been posted in accordance with Brown Act.

Members present: Ruchell Alvarez, Richard Baldwin, Laurie Burgett, Maureen Burke, Chris Blatt, Carole Caffey, Dave Caldwell, Scott Glazebrook, Anita Margolis, Richard Santini, David Skillman, Marie Skillman, Angela Vasconcellos. Member absent: Frederick Ruffell

Community Police Officer: Officer John Graham introduced Lt. Sean Murphy; one of 2 new Lts. in our district. New Capt. is Mark Jones; the other Lt. is Roy Moody. Murphy reported that local crime is quiet but not so much in downtown. Especially noted are crimes among homeless persons, including thefts of cell phones. Joyce Summer spoke about Downtown, saying that it is safe there and many good things are going on. Crime in Balboa Park continues to be busy. Last week there was an attempted abduction in our area by 3 white males in a white Honda – 1 of them was caught. Overall San Diego, crime is down 16%. Reports of illegal camping in parks should be called to non-emergency number, not 911. Do call 911 to report suspicious activity. Police will do a free walkthrough of your property to assess safety. Use the ARGIS link on SDPD website for reports of criminal activity in the area.

City Council District 3: Councilman Todd Gloria. Thanked GGHPC member for their service. (1) City budget has a deficit of $1.79 – 2.00 million. This is 1/6 of entire general fund, equal to cost of 2,300 employees or cost of closing all libraries, parks and recreation centers. Nasty choices are ahead; each dept. has been asked to make 27% cuts. Community session and coffees are being scheduled to get public input. (2) Infrastructure. City prioritized $103 million for repairs. This is stimulus money and bond funding, could not be used for other budget issues. 60 miles of streets will be repaved in District 3, plus some facilities will be repaired. Good news is that bids are coming in lower than anticipated and should be putting many people to work. (3) Balboa Park. $2 million in energy efficiency grants, along with $4.5 million in private funds, will be used to update the buildings there. (4) Post Office. Is working with federal officials, no decision yet. Caffey asked if a list of items prioritized in (1) was available. Gloria said they should be on City website with 6-month interval dates. Priorities were made by “grading” projects A-B-C and checking the 3-year intervals to be sure to avoid duplication of work like fixing a street then digging it up again for sewer repairs. Santini asked what points budget reduction would be aimed at. Gloria said the mayor would report those next Wednesday after review of reports from all departments including public safety. Bill Hiisdorf asked if City bankruptcy was possible. Gloria noted that the City has many more assets than liabilities, but some assets are not liquid. Some property has been sold, netting $20 million per year. On the market now is World Trade Center building. Caldwell asked why that building could not be used as City Hall instead of expensive new structure. Gloria stated that it is inadequate due to its age and condition. Due diligence has begun to see if building a new City Hall would really save money from Day 1. Current City Hall is an unsafe situation due to lack of fire sprinklers, presence of asbestos, earthquake code update needed. Gloria said he wants to see STRUCTURAL change in the way the City is run, so that a budget deficit crisis isn’t a yearly event. District 3 newsletters were distributed.

City Council District 8 - Diana Jurado-Sainz. (1) Community Clean Up Day is 10/17. Dumpsters will be available at Golden Hill Elementary School for landfill trash. She hopes to have one for recyclables as well. CDC is organizing cleanup projects in the area. Margolis asked about cuttings of arundo going into the bins. Depending on where it is located, a permit may be needed to cut it. Legal cuttings are recyclable (2) San Diego Speaks, a forum for budget review, will be held in GGH area at the end of October – date and place TBA. Hueso requested that a list of budget impacts from Jay Goldstone. (3) Winter Homeless Shelter will be at 16th & Island streets again this year. Hoping for greater citywide sites in future years. (4) Post Office. Dist. 8 is working with Cong. Davis office on this. (5) Is working with City real estate department to put property at 811 25th Street on the market & hopefully get a business set up there. Alvarez asked if infrastructure work was being done in District 8. Jurado-Sainz said the work was prioritized throughout City and work is being done in all districts. (6) Decision on lawsuit against City regarding formation of MAD should be received from Judge on 10/16.

53rd Congressional District - Katherine Fortner: Davis voted to extend unemployment benefits. (2) House finally authorized construction on new federal courthouse downtown. (3) Staff met with Post Office District Manager 10/13; decision is expected within a month. PO is looking at data such as staffing, what services are used at each post office, proximity to other post offices. They are still accepting letters from the public although the official comment period is closed. A question was asked about airplane noise mitigation. Santini reported that a corridor including Date & A streets was just selected. Caffey said that 50% of the Quiet Home Funds are being spent East of the airport and 50% West of the airport. There is a waiting list of up to 10 years, depending on location. Davis Dispatch was distributed.

City Planner’s Report - Bernie Turgeon:

Community Plan Update Advisory Committee (CPUAC) kickoff meeting will be Wednesday, October 28 at 7:00 pm, after Land Use meeting at Golf Course Clubhouse. It is expected to be a 2-hour meeting. Agenda to include (1) start discussion of current community plan. City will present themes; a walking tour may be scheduled. (2) Regular meeting date and location (3) a chair must be elected. The City will have Bernie plus one other facilitator. At future meetings there may be public and private components to the meeting.

Mayor; 76th Assembly District: no reports

Approval of Minutes: Approved minutes of 9/09/09 meeting (motion Margolis, second D. Skillman) all in favor. (Alvarez, Baldwin, Vasconcellos abstained, as they were not at the meeting)

Public Comment.

Philippe Hueso: is a candidate for City Council in District 8 when Ben Hueso leaves office. Has lived and worked in the district for many years; believes in strong neighbors, believes his experience as an attorney would be an asset in the position.

Joyce Summer, CCDC: City Council Rules Committee moved proceeding on new main library to full council vote on 10/22. CCDC upcoming events: 11/3 Downtown Soundbites coffee at Horton Plaza office, featuring Shirley Horton. Left copies of several publications. Showed how to sign up for email alerts at

Catherine McNeil: Requested that GGHPC send a mitigation letter regarding 2947 E Street. Trees are growing back but canyon is degrading. Residents were not notified properly of pending construction. Has contacted Code Compliance about weeds growing around 2915 E Street. Residents want something done about the property. Is hopeful that CPUAC will address parking and noticing requirements.


Chairs Report/Mail. Nothing to report.

Clean Green and Safe MAD – Carol Caffey: Oversight Committee membership is going to be by appointments by CDC. 10 seats will be filled for terms beginning in December 5 for 2 years and 5 for 1 year. Pat Shields asked about the appointment process. GGHPC was asked to representative on the review panel for nominees. Alvarez volunteered. Public is asked to call hotline 619-644-5138 when trash or graffiti needs to be taken care of. Next MAD meeting is Monday, 11/2 at Ethos Church at 6:30 pm.

Land Use – Dave Caldwell: See attached minutes. Subcommittee discussed including points raised in Demolition Policy prepared by Uptown Planners in the updated Community Plan.


Proposed Closure of George Washington Post Office - Tershia D’Elgin: Introduced Renee Parks, owner of Post Office property. Requested GGHPC to send a letter to the District Manager, and other officials, urging them not to close this location. Motion by M. Skillman, second Margolis, to send letter as soon as possible. All in favor. Blatt will prepare and send letter.


Membership and Elections: Vasconcellos reported that we still have vacancies. Pat Shields volunteered to be appointed once she has attended the required number of meetings.

Transportation: nothing to report

Airport Noise: meets 10/21

Parks: have an issue with many squirrels. Community gardens are flourishing.

Balboa Park: Burgett is one of 17 members appointed to a task force to review the recommendation that a nonprofit be organized to work with the City on park governance. First meeting is 10/19. See for details

Historic: M Skillman and D Skillman will be attending a workshop about historic designations on 10/29.


Right of Way workshop: City planning Dept. has scheduled a workshop on 10/22 regarding cleaning up the rights of way on sidewalks, etc. including placement of utility boxes. M Skillman will forward information she received to the rest of the committee. Turgeon said details should be on City website by 10/16.

Neighborhood improvement project: Burke attended a CDC meeting with a group of SDSU students who will be looking at ways to improve the neighborhood.

Meeting adjourned at 7:50 pm. (motion Blatt, second D. Skillman, all in favor)


Land-use Subcommittee Minutes

Greater Golden Hill Planning Committee

September 30 2009

Subcommittee Members present: Dave Caldwell, Richard Baldwin, Scott Glazebrook

City Staff present: None

Community Members present: None

Project Applicants present: None

Meeting called to order at 6:30 PM by Dave Caldwell

No projects to review.

No walk-in requests for information.

General discussion regarding development within and outside of Greater Golden Hill ensued.

Meeting Adjourned at 7:00 PM by Dave Caldwell


Friday, October 16, 2009

September 9, 2009 Minutes


September 9, 2009

Meeting held at Balboa Park Golf Course Clubhouse – Golf Course Drive

Call to order at 6:34 pm by Chair C. Blatt. Agenda had been posted in accordance with Brown Act.

Members present: Laurie Burgett, Maureen Burke, Chris Blatt, Carole Caffey, Dave Caldwell, Scott Glazebrook, Anita Margolis, Frederick Ruffell, David Skillman, Marie Skillman. Richard Santini arrived later. Members absent: Ruchell Alvarez, Richard Baldwin, Angela Vasconcellos

Treasurer’s Report: balance remains around $75

Community Police Officer: Officer John Graham reported that local crime stats are good. There have been several theft incidents at Zoo parking lot; surveillance has not gotten results yet. The new Captain for the area is Mark Jones. He will be introduced at the Captain’s meeting on 9/22 at 5:30 pm at 25th & Imperial. New Lt. for our area is Sean Murphy. Caffey asked about increased police activity at the 25th St. Park, Graham was not aware of anything specific.

City Council District 3: Anthony Bernal. Arrived late. Reported that there will be a public hearing on 11/17 regarding an increase in water rates. MWD and SDCWA, major water suppliers to the City, have raised their rates and the City is proposing to pass those increases on. In response to a question about continued new development within the city, Bernal noted that we are in a Level 2 emergency now; only when Level 3 is reached is a building moratorium required. The Level 2 measures have resulted in a 19% reduction in water usage.

City Council District 8 - Diana Jurado-Sainz. Was not present. She asked Bernal to report that she had a ride-along with Code Compliance and will report at the next meeting.

53rd Congressional District - Katherine Fortner: Rep. Davis was busy with local meetings during August, including one on health care that had over 1,000 attendees. 85,000 constituents have participated in telephone town halls. Davis has written to the Postmaster General and is also talking to the local postmaster, hoping to keep George Washington Station open.

Alexandra Montezuma, a community resident: spoke about the Post Office issue. She mentioned that the official mailing from the Post Office about public comment arrived on or after the end of the comment period, and was not bilingual. Several committee members concurred about late arrival of the mailing.

Mayor; 76th Assembly District: no reports

Approval of Minutes: Approved minutes of 8/12/09 meeting (motion Margolis, second Glazebrook) all in favor. (Burgett, Burke abstained, as they were not at the meeting)

Public Comment.

Joyce Summer, CCDC: A special City Council meeting will be held on Monday, 9/14 at 6 pm to discuss the site for the Winter Shelter for homeless. 2 proposed sites are 13th& J Street and the parking lot North of Interstate 5 on Pershing. City Council formed a Medical Marijuana task force. Report on permanent shelter for homeless will be read at City Council on 10/22. The North Embarcadero Plan is on hold due to lawsuits. A task force recommended Convention Center expansion but there is not a financing plan. CCDC upcoming events: 9/19 free movie Field of Dreams at Park in the Park; 10/1 CCDC coffee at Horton Plaza. Left copies of Economic Gain from Redevelopment statistics.

Jerry Ray: Reported that her calls to Pedro Anaya at CDC had not been returned. She has paid more than her annual MAD fee to have damages to her parkway repaired. Reported that Urban Corps had only reluctantly done sweeping in front of her property. Caffey recommended that she call Alex Ibarra, the MAD program manager.

Tershia D’Elgin: Proposed Closure of George Washington Post Office: Urged GGHPC to apply pressure to keep the Post Office open and to extend the period for public comment due to the late notice of proposed closure given in English only. She noted that the building is deteriorating and there seems to be a push to combine with newer facility in Encanto. She was told that the Post Office was looking into opening a storefront facility in the neighborhood. Bernal reported that Council members Gloria and Hueso had both written to Davis office, protesting the closure. Fortner is going to find out what are the most effective place and method of delivering comments on the issue. She believes contacting local offices of federal officials would be best. Ruffell asked what service does the PO give that cannot be gotten elsewhere. Examples given: Post Office boxes, since many residents feel that home delivery is not secure; community aspect of seeing and meeting people when at PO.

Catherine McNeil: Requested that GGHPC send a letter regarding 2900 E Street. Landowner is putting in a retaining wall (possibly stepped up 8 ft. or one 30 ft.) and has already allowed graffiti murals in the area. Feels the City did not completely disclose the scope of the project when it was proposed and approved.


Chairs Report/Mail. Nothing to report.

Clean, Green and Safe (MAD) Oversight Committee. D. Skillman reported that a hearing before a judge is scheduled on 9/18 for the lawsuits pending about the MAD.

Demolition Policies on Golden Hill: Janet O’Dea: O’Dea is vice chair of the Uptown Planners. Issues: Remodel or demolition permits for homes over 45 years old must be subjected to historical review by City Staff and must be noticed to local planning committees. People are doing more than their permit indicates, or doing demolitions without permits. Sometimes false consultant reports are filed making it appear that the home has no historic relevance. Uptown Planners wrote a memo (copy at end of these minutes) listing the issues in detail, and possible solutions. The idea will be discussed at City Council Land Use and Housing Committee on “History Day” on 9/23. They would like GGHPC to endorse the memo. Discussion: D. Skillman asked for clarification of the current 45 yr process. O’Dea: Remodel or demolition permits for homes over 45 years old must be subjected to historical review by City Staff and must be noticed to local planning committees. Caldwell: Is this hoping to create an automatic trigger point? O’Dea: Preliminary Review can bypass the review process. Glazebrook: Preliminary Review is a City process issue, not statutory. Our endorsement should reflect that statutory process is not being followed, not that there is a regulatory issue. Burke: is this a problem in our neighborhood? Turgeon: are these people circumventing the system at DSD and Historic Review? O’Dea: YES. Margolis: Is there a penalty for work outside the scope of permits being done? O’Dea: so far, NO. Margolis: Could there be a requirement for scope of permit to be posted at site so public can patrol? Caldwell: City of Carlsbad has such a requirement. D. Skillman: hopes GGHPC gets behind this. Burgett: What are the next steps? O’Dea: City staff report will come out 9/16; hopefully it will include some of these ideas. Requests that GGHPC review and support the memo. An Action Item will be placed on next month’s agenda. M. Skillman will locate and email O’Dea’s proposed response to committee members in advance of that meeting.

Land Use:

#189080 - 1159 24th Street Map Waiver. Representative appeared as information only. Discussion: background on standard comments on condominium conversions.

2693 C Street: no one appeared at Land Use meeting. A demolition permit was applied for on 8/27.


Community Plan Update Advisory Committee (CPUAC) Bernie Turgeon:

A lottery was held at 6:15 pm for the Non Resident Property Owner seat on the CPUAC. Beri Varol was selected. After some discussion, the committee approved amending the Selection Criteria by changing the At Large Business seat to a second Non Resident Property Owner. (motion Glazebrook, second Burke, all in favor). Applicant Jon Stamatopoulos is qualified to fill that seat. M. Skillman will fill the Historic seat. Outreach for a qualified applicant for the remaining Business seat is to continue until the next meeting on 10/14. Burgett questioned why some of the original non-member applicants were not listed on the latest reports. Turgeon said his staff had sent an email and then a follow-up email asking all original applicants to complete the revised application form (with categories). Those one the current list are the ones who complied with the request. Turgeon agreed to try one more contact with those who did not respond. Since none of the 3 communities that will be working together on the Update (GGH, North Park, Uptown) have their CPUAC in place, the kickoff will be delayed until the end of October.


Membership and Elections, Historic: Vasconcellos was absent.

Transportation: nothing to report

Airport Noise: did not meet last month

Balboa Park: did not meet last month

Meeting adjourned at 8:05 pm. (motion Blatt, second D. Skillman, all in favor)


Land Use and Housing Demolition Policy Concerns

& Proposed Solutions

Recently, there has been considerable effort by City Staff and neighborhood groups to support historic review of applicant projects in the older areas of San Diego. The most successful results of the process have been with applicants who are working in good faith. However, lax enforcement and some processes that obscure public involvement have pointed to a variety of process issues. The results have been shocking because those who seemingly intend to bypass the system or use political influence to bend the rules in favor of their own interests and are granted demolition permits. Examples of abuses in the system continue and much can be achieved by correcting deficiencies in these systems through often-simple process changes, by adjusting regulations and adjusting policies. When the system supports more transparency it seems that it will be easier to identify those who do not intend to comply to regulations before there is actual demolition.

Results of the changes to the current codes, regulations and policies would have the overall positives effects:

  • Preserving San Diego’s historic architecture and cultural heritage
  • Providing applicants a clear path to navigate the process
  • Decreasing landfill waste and discarding quality materials such as old growth lumber
  • Enable more cost effective reinvestment into the established communities and maintaining the rhythm and scale of the streetscape, which invites aesthetic upgrades and staves off blight.
  • Complying with CEQA and reducing the city’s liability exposure.

Specific actions that Land Use & Housing can take to address the issues concerning demolitions are listed as proposed solutions in the below table.

Open Issues


Proposed Solutions


Communication with Stakeholders


  1. Community Member/Stakeholders are not given timely or accurate notice of pending demolition permits, which inhibits action at the time an actual permit is issued.

  1. Community Stakeholders have trouble verifying when permitted work or unpermitted work is being done and often only have access to information after the fact. Permits are not on buildings and building addresses are not required to be visible during construction/demolition

  1. Permits are issued for properties but notices are delayed and verification is difficult.

  1. Permit notices are inconsistent and don’t provide the planning area or current zoning. Also permits don’t list all of the properties involved in the project. Demolition permits don’t provide information connecting it to current or future projects.

  1. The Code Monitoring Team and the Technical Advisory Team have not undertaken these issues. Yet un-permitted work goes on all of the time and is pervasive in our older communities. The unpermitted work eliminates the ability for the process to work as it was intended and ultimately affects our quality of life.

· Provide on-line notices of pending and issued permits in real time, or delay granting the applicants permit until the actual notice is published and available to the public.

· An option immediately available for implementation is to process demolitions and upcoming controversial projects or those sites with buildings 45 years or older through the community-planning groups since they may be in a better position to understand the cumulative impacts.

· Require permit notices and addresses to be posted and visible on any construction/demolition site.

· Permits provide consistent information regarding all of the addresses/parcels involved in the application, the planning area and zoning information on the permit notice.

· Put forward language for these proposals to coincide with the next Land Development Manual “LDM”) or Code or otherwise request staff to make policy and regulation changes effective immediately. Additionally, include community member oversight of the legislative process and changes in the LDM or LDC as they affect demolition policies and historic preservation.

Results: Opens up the process to the stakeholders in the community and makes the process more transparent. Also makes code enforcement easier.


Legal Issues


A. The City’s process of taking permit applications out of the Ministerial process to review it for the 45-Year analysis should in and of itself require it to be moved into a Discretionary process. Ministerial projects are for straightforward projects that don’t require intervention/evaluation by staff. Once pulled out of the Ministerial track the project is inherently Discretionary. The city does not abide by this and routinely pulls and reinserts applications returning them back on the Ministerial track. This opens the city to unnecessary liability.

B. Buildings must be considered historic under CEQA if there is a fair argument that they are eligible for the California register even if they are not already designated. If there is simply a fair argument that the structure is eligible the impacts must be assessed and an environmental document is required. Also the current and foreseeable new project needs analysis because of the cumulative impacts. Demolitions are granted for historic buildings when a fair argument has been made but the CEQA analysis is not provided for both the proposed new project/demolition. Therefore demolitions occur without full and complete analysis or mitigation.

Effects: These practices allow for substantial loss of historic buildings in our established communities and may put the City in a position of liability exposure.

· Request an evaluation and opinion from the City Attorney on current practices for project applications that are presented as Ministerial but require extra handling during processing. Including how the current handling of applications conforms/does not conform with CEQA and the LDC, and practical recommendations in processing applications to reduce liability.

· Arrange SOHO and City Attorney co-sponsored training for DSD Staff on interpretation of CEQA law.

· Adhere to the environmental review and analysis required by CEQA when buildings are over 45 years old and analyze the foreseeable future projects cumulative impacts when stakeholders, consultants and/or City Staff raise concerns about historical resources (CEQA fair argument). Compliance with CEQA is not optional.

· When a disagreement occurs pertaining to the historic status of a building between staff and/or community stakeholders this triggers the fair argument standard of CEQA and the application should then follow a Discretionary process.

· Provide a database system to ensure that cumulative impacts are properly monitored including air quality, water quality and waste.

Results: Enforcement of the CEQA, laws and regulations, increased staff and community input. Analysis of potential environmental impacts and alternatives and mitigation to the community through the process or by review of environmental documents (NMD, ND or EIR) when necessary.


Community Plan Historic Surveys and EIR

A. It is widely accepted that a reconnaissance windshield survey cannot reveal all of the character defining features or historic references related to a given property. The change in the 45-year review process is an example of what can be found while looking at properties more closely. In 2006, the draft Uptown Survey was submitted but not adopted. Concerns were raised at that time because of the potential elimination of further investigation on over half of the properties in Uptown. City Staff now plans to adhere to the State status codes and is working towards adoption of new Surveys in preparation of Community Plan Updates.

The older communities become vulnerable if a more in-depth analysis for the oldest properties in our established San Diego communities is not required before demolition permits are issued.

B. An EIR was not conducted before adoption of the General Plan but must be done as part of the Community Plan updates for North Park, Golden Hill and Uptown because these affect some of our oldest communities.

Not all properties can be given intensive study but further investigation should be warranted for the oldest properties, as has been the case citywide with the current 45-year process.

· City staff should require more intense investigation such as when properties are 65 years or older after reconnaissance surveys are adopted.

· Make survey data available on-line within City departments and to the public.

· EIRs should be conducted during the Community Plan updates.

Results: Research of the oldest resources in San Diego’s older communities relate to the historic context of the community and contribute to the story of San Diego’s history. These older properties should be given more in-depth analysis before demolition permits are issued.

An EIR for each community plan update will include alternatives and mitigation as part of the discussion and offer opportunities for substantive dialogue and consideration pertaining to the quality of life factors in our communities.


Permit Process Aberrations

A. The Preliminary Review process bypasses the 45-year review (a 10 day review by the community) that also results in issuance of demolition permits. It is a loophole that results in land use decisions without adequate analysis or review. This process was used issuing one permit to demolish six houses on Centre Street and the resulting development of the site should not be Ministerial bypassing community input but because its scope should have triggered a CEQA review and Discretionary process.

B. When inadequate research is presented by the applicant and there is not enough time for a community response then bad decisions are made simply because the time is up. Once the resource is demolished, the report, if inaccurate, is the only documentation left behind and it does not adequately represent the history or legacy.

C. Those who profit from demolishing historic properties pay consultants who leave out facts or misinterpret analysis with apparent intent to bypass CEQA.

D. Demolition by neglect is accepted as a persuasive argument to demolish historic buildings instead of promoting adaptive reuse.

Effects: Demolition of historic properties and changes to the historic context of our communities and the Preliminary Review process sidesteps the 45 year review and other community input processes. Often investors neglect or don’t maintain the building or property to attempt to make a case that the building is not significant because they have not kept it up. Paid consultants with an agenda to suit their clients submit inadequate, and biased reports pertaining to applicants’ projects and cause a loss of confidence and integrity in the process because there is little City supervision or adjustment to mitigate the faulty or inadequate reports. Permits processed for the sake of a bonus instead of quality of the review perpetuates these problems and leads to unjustified demolition of historic properties.

· Review of all demolition permits by staff meeting the Secretary of Interior Standards qualifications.

· Preliminary Review should not bypass securing community input so instead it should be part of the Community Planning Group meeting process.

· Abide by CEQA and provide a mechanism to take projects out of the Ministerial or Preliminary Review process when they require more community input– Such as potentially historic properties, controversial projects or large projects such as the application to demolish six old houses on Centre Street.

· City staff should provide better oversight of historic reports including reference and data checking with conclusions based on evidence or supportive documentation.

· Provide community members and City Staff with a feedback mechanism to remove consultants from the city’s consultant list when reports repeatedly leave out facts or conclusions are unjustified.

· When consultant reports leave out facts or conclusions are unjustified consider community input under CEQA fair argument standards and require environmental documents as the next step, before any demolition permits are issued.

· Promote adaptive reuse and enforce code compliance issues since it encourages improving communities.

Results: Reduce rushed demolitions of properties that are historic in nature, less vacant lots and reduced losses of the historic integrity of the community. Beautify and improve the built environment. Improve integrity of the historic review process. Also provide incentives for quality historic research reports by enabling City Staff to raise the standards for submitted reports which may be the only documentation pertaining to the resource. Enforces CEQA and codes while protecting historic assets from reckless demolitions



CEQA and Mitigation for Non-Compliance

  1. Permits are issued after demolition takes effect.

  1. Demolition permits are separated from the foreseeable project and there is no analysis of the cumulative impacts.

  1. Simple permits are issued but are not relevant to the work being completed. (Permit for a water heater does not pertain to siding being removed/installed).

  1. Penalties are too low to discourage un-permitted demolitions.

  1. Errors in processing applications by staff or mis-information by applicants resulting in demolition of significant properties.


Cumulative impacts are not addressed and are out of CEQA compliance

· Projects including demolitions on a particular site should not be partitioned. Thus permits for a demolition would not be issued as a bureaucratic process but in context with the proposed new project, zoning, site, planning area and all affected parcels.

· Posted addresses and permits during notice and all phases of construction will help inspectors and community members verify the work that is being done matches the issued permit.

· DSD should maintain and make a database available to the public that shows the cumulative impacts related to built, planned and future projects (per zoning) for better analysis as projects come forward.

· Substantially increasing enforcement and meaningful fines are in the work plan and need to be completed. A substantial and punitive interim penalty should be established until all the details of the fine in the work plan are fully approved.

Results: Projects include the plan for the demolition so that it can be viewed thoughtfully and comprehensively in accordance with CEQA analysis of the whole record. Fines will deter those who wish to circumvent the system and could provide mitigation to the community by funding other preservation projects. Issues with projects would be discovered earlier when enforcement actions are more meaningful.


Other Policy Issues and Impacts to Older Undesignated Structures

  1. Remodels and demolitions differ and need to be permitted differently. Demolitions disguised as remodels cheat the community out of input as well as review of parking requirements. Coastal Commission requirements are clear and could be the model for city codes.

  1. Applicants obtain legitimate permits for a minor item or partial permit but exceed and cheat the permit resulting in major demolition/losses. (i.e. kitchen remodel permit results in tear down)

  1. Zoning creates pressure on commercial historic resources in high-density zones and Conservation Areas need to be implemented. There is currently no mechanism to do so.

  1. Ministerial projects bypass the goals set out in the community plan and erode the unique character of San Diego communities over time.

  1. Spot planning by frequent community plan amendments undermines the community planning process.

· Revise the definition of a remodel so it is limited to 25% or less of the building and include language in requirements effecting remodels mirror the provisions enforced by the Coastal Commission.

· An ongoing inspection at various thresholds to ensure that demolition of existing resources is not excessive.

· Issue fines and provide mitigation measures for projects that exceed permitted actions.

· LDC & Procedures for Design Guidelines is missing from General Plan Actions – Implementation of Conservation Areas need to be established for older areas now because they are undergoing plan updates.

· Ministerial projects need to show conformance and be subject to the Community Plan.

· Limit the number of introductions/adoptions of Community Plan updates each year.

Results: The public would be clear on the project permitted when remodels and demolitions are clearly distinct. Conservation Areas with complementary zoning that recognizes the benefits of historic commercial areas reduces pressure to radically alter the established character of these areas.

Ministerial projects that adhere to the community plan will appear complementary to the established streetscape.

Thank you for taking the time to address these topics. In order to make these proposals actionable we request that a motion is made to support proposals as presented including changes to the land development code, regulations and policies.

Friday, September 11, 2009

August 12, 2009 Minutes


August 12, 2009

Meeting held at Balboa Park Golf Course Clubhouse – Golf Course Drive

Call to order at 6:33 pm by Chair C. Blatt. Agenda had been posted in accordance with Brown Act.

Members present: Ruchell Alvarez, Richard Baldwin, Chris Blatt, Scott Glazebrook, Frederick Ruffell, David Skillman, Marie Skillman, Angela Vasconcellos. Dave Caldwell, Carole Caffey, Anita Margolis arrived later. Members absent: Laurie Burgett, Maureen Burke, Richard Santini

Treasurer’s Report: no report

Community Police Officer: Officer John Graham reported that local crime stats are good; there have been few burglaries or car thefts. Car thefts are up in areas to the South of GGH.

City Council District 3: Anthony Bernal. Reported that the City Council is on recess this week. Councilman Gloria hosted a community coffee at Alchemy on 8/1 and received good information from the 15 people in attendance. New website includes Gloria’s blog.

City Council District 8 - Diana Jurado-Sainz. City Attorney has sent a letter to the owner of 2695 C Street (across from Post Office); the judge gave owner until 9/9 to make the property comply with City codes. Eric Picou of Code Compliance has worked with Councilman on this. They are hoping that a trial date will be set soon on the Edgemont house issue.

53rd Congressional District - Katherine Fortner: Passed out flyers with Rep. Davis local meeting schedule for August, and information about health care reform. Nick Norvell at District 53 office is working with Post Office District Manager on possible closure of George Washington Station at 26th and C Streets. He will be discussing the situation with union members, etc. as well. Public input is encouraged.

Mayor; 76th Assembly District: no reports

Approval of Minutes: Margolis pointed out that the July minutes as distributed had as attachments 2 copies of Draft CPUAC Selection Procedures, instead of a copy of the Final version and a copy of the Draft version. Motion, Margolis, second D. Skillman to approve as amended (with correct attachments); all in favor. (Blatt, Caldwell, Vasconcellos abstained as they were not at the meeting)

Public Comment.

Joyce Summer, CCDC: Task force on Homeless is reviewing the 4 Proposals the received for permanent shelter. This will not go into effect in time provide a winter shelter this year, so they are looking for a location. New library got a 1-year extension to get plans in place. Still working on Convention Center plan. CCDC lost $48 million in State funding. North Embarcadero Plan and Railway Quiet Zones are not affected as funds were previously set aside for those projects. CCDC is sponsoring free movies at the Park in the Park and Downtown Sound Bites on the 1st Tuesday at lunchtime. Passed out Downtown Today and Yesterday postcards and Downtown maps.


Chairs Report/Mail. Baldwin attended the CPC meeting on behalf of the GGHPC. Discussion items included the process for projects with many variances and the overall plan for San Diego River. Caffey attend the Police Captain’s meeting on 7/28. Discussion centered on issues in dealing with the homeless population.

Clean, Green and Safe (MAD) Oversight Committee. Caffey reported they hope to schedule a workshop on the Engineer’s Report during the week of 8/25. ER is posted on MAD website MAD is seeking ideas for projects for the coming year – contact Pedro Anaya at CDC with any ideas. Assessment for the coming year was reduced 50% since there were funds remaining from prior year. Ruffell asked if MAD was responsible for street trees on Fern Street; they are not. Bernal agreed to check into City responsibility. Margolis asked if there was a list of current projects, and suggested firebreaks in canyons. Tershia D’Elgin noted that the City has a brush management program in place.

1159 24th Street Map Waiver. Property owner’s representative gave a brief explanation of the project, a 4-unit apartment to condo conversion. The map waiver requested relates to wiring between the street and the building. No subdivision map is required for this size of project. Caldwell took information and the project will be heard at Land Use Subcommittee on 8/26.

Land Use: Glazebrook reported that Casa Reposa did not appear at Land Use committee 7/29.


Community Plan Update Advisory Committee (CPUAC) Bernie Turgeon:

Turgeon passed out an information sheet about Conflict of Interest, citing City Council Policy 600-24. He believes the word “fiduciary“ is inappropriate in the sentence “Individuals with direct fiduciary conflicts of interest are ineligible to serve.” in the Selection and Eligibility section of the GGHPC CPUAC Selection Procedures approved at the July meeting. Motion by Alvarez, second Baldwin, to amend the document by deleting the word “Fiduciary”; all in favor. Motion by Margolis to attach City Council Policy 600-24 to the GGHPC CPUAC Selection Procedures died for lack of a second. It was noted that the Procedures refer to CP 600-24. Copy of amended document found at end of these minutes.

Outreach is continuing to fill the business seats on the CPUAC. Turgeon will send the Selection Procedures to all applicants. The date 9/9 from 5:30 – 6:30 pm (before GGHPC regular meeting) was selected for the potential lottery for CPUAC public seats. Turgeon will forward copies of applications to GGHPC members in advance of that meeting. Motion by D. Skillman, second Glazebrook to amend the GGHPC CPUAC Selection Procedures to change cutoff date for applications from 8/18/09 to 9/2/09 (an additional 3 weeks) was approved 9-1 (Alvarez against).

The kickoff meeting of the CPUAC was tentatively scheduled for 9/30/09, after the regular Land Use Subcommittee meeting.

Letter - Comments on PEIR of City of San Diego Master Storm Water System Maintenance Program (MSWMP): Tershia D’Elgin and Marc Kratzschmar

Presented a letter they had drafted to M. Hermann of the City Development Services Department (Copy of letter at end of these minutes) as part of the public comment on the PEIR. Their concern is about the impact of proposed dredging and removal of vegetation in canyons. Canyons are already eroding and nothing is being done or proposed to be don about replacing vegetation that is disturbed in the process. Concern is also that no community input would be required before proceeding with the work, and this Plan would be in place for 20 years.

Jurado-Sainz spoke, noting that, especially in some of the canyon areas farther downstream from our community, the City must do this dredging and removal of vegetation to comply with State regulations concerning water quality; to fail to do so would result in huge fines. Also, some creek areas have issues with trash in addition to the invasive vegetation. Those communities at the end of the creeks may actually want this type of cleanup in their area.

There was discussion that mitigation is not being done in the most useful neighborhoods. Key items pointed out by D’Elgin and Kratzschmar were (1) why rush this plan into place? (2) community input should be allowed (3) mitigation should be here, not elsewhere in the city (4) city should be open to alternatives to dredging.

Motion by Baldwin, second D. Skillman, that GGHPC write a letter in support of the draft letter to M. Hermann; all in favor. Blatt and Glazebrook will prepare the letter and send it before the 8/21 deadline of the comment period.

Letter – Proposed Closure of George Washington Post Office: Tershia D’Elgin: Presented a draft letter to elected officials protesting closure of our local Post Office at 26th & C Streets. Caldwell stated that he had heard that the Post Office is paying $11,000 per month rent for the property, which may be a factor. Glazebrook noted that some residents in that area would like to see the property returned to residential use. Many possible solutions were discussed. Nick Norvell at Rep. Susan Davis office (619-280-5353) is working with local postal officials on this issue.

Election of a Vice Chair. According to the by-laws, GGHPC officers include a vice chair, elected annually. With Chairman Blatt traveling often recently, someone is needed to chair meetings in his absence and to attend CPC meetings. After much discussion, it was determined that the vice chair would only be responsible for running the meetings. Caldwell, Ruffell and D. Skillman said they would consider that position. Motion by Margolis, second Ruffell, that D. Skillman be elected vice chair; all in favor.

Motion by Margolis, second Ruffell, that an action item will be placed on the agenda for next month to elect the CPC Alternate, all in favor. Baldwin is considering that position.

Turgeon agreed to email a copy of the by-laws to all GGHPC members, as well as the amended CPUAC Selection Procedures.


Membership and Elections: Vasconcellos asked members to let her know which committees they wish to work on. She will provide a list of current committee membership by the next meeting.

Airport Noise: meeting date has been changed to 4:30 pm on the 3rd Wednesday of each quarter.

Balboa Park: Burgett’s term will expire by March. She will be asked to describe the duties at the September meeting.

Meeting adjourned at 8:15 pm. (motion D. Skillman, second Caldwell, all in favor)



Myra Hermann, Environmental Planner

Development Services Department

City of San Diego

1222 First Avenue, MS 501

San Diego, CA 92101

SUBJECT: Comments on PEIR for City of San Diego Master Storm Water System Maintenance Program (MSWMP)

Dear Ms. Hermann,

Greater Golden Hill Planning Committee thanks you for the opportunity to review and comment upon the PEIR for Master Storm Water System Maintenance Program. We are concerned that:

· The program does not address the sources of downstream sedimentation that issue from upstream neighborhoods and canyons

· The mitigation proposed in the PEIR is inadequate especially in our community

· The proposed rules allow city officials to damage our environment without letting us know

· The program and PIER do not consider less damaging alternative approaches

In recent years, our committee and well as Golden Hill residents and business owners have become increasingly aware of the importance of green space to the quality of life in our neighborhoods. We strongly support the restoration of nearby canyons and will give high priority to the revitalization and maintenance of the “urban forest” during the process of updating the Greater Golden Hill Community Plan.” We have an abiding interest in minimizing hardscape and in maximizing vegetation and natural resources in our community. We would like to continue improving the wetlands and canyons within and around Golden Hill. All these activities will increase storm water infiltration and reduce runoff as well as sedimentation. Desirous of more parkland, we would like the opportunity to explore the bioremediative and recreational merits of wider naturalized storm channels, which are, in essence, former streambeds. Our objectives strive to minimize erosion, sedimentation and flooding, both in Golden Hill and downstream. Yet, the PEIR Program seems not to support these objectives, nor imperatives for addressing water conservation, water quality and climate change.

The PEIR does not identify less-environmentally damaging alternatives. Avoidance is the prime objective of the 404 permitting process, yet the PEIR does not include flood avoidance alternatives that would improve stormwater retention within watersheds, such as a) retooling already developed communities such as ours with Low Impact Development retrofits, particularly near canyon storm water outfalls, b) installing check dams and revegetating canyons with dense wetland vegetation, and c) removing concrete and restoring natural streams, engineered to manage storm flows. It does name but dismiss as infeasible widening flood conveyances so more vegetation can be retained. Since Golden Hill’s flood conveyances abut public land, the stated “social and economic costs” do not apply. Widened flood conveyances should be identified in the PEIR.

It is our observation that the MSCP consistency evaluation is inadequate. Even though storm channel maintenance is an allowed use under the MSCP, the projects will certainly greatly disturb wildlife corridors such as Juniper Canyon’s. The PEIR does not include comprehensive restoration criteria as it supposed to, nor cost/benefit analysis. The program must be revised to diminish the conflict with the MSCP.

Having experienced the cost and complication of correcting impacts, we are concerned, as is the Army Corps, that the PEIR’s proposed mitigation is inadequate. Because the proposed mitigation will not offset the severe ecosystem disturbances or water quality impacts of the project where they occur – either in the channels or in the access to the channels -- initial impacts will expand in scope and severity. It is our experience that disturbed habitat leads immediately to more erosion and worse water quality, followed by invasions of fire-prone weeds, trash, homeless/drug encampments, crime, and the blight that we are working hard – without much municipal assistance – to overcome.

City of San Diego practices that degrade Golden Hill canyons have already obliged the community to address the impacts by raising its own money and by employing maintenance assessment district assessments. Our community and its taxpayers are loath to be saddled with more unaddressed damages. We question the wisdom of a twenty-year programmatic EIR that eliminates public review for specific areas. We would like an opportunity to review and comment upon documented annual plans describing the justification for cleaning, the cleaning locations, hydrology, methods, access, and environmental impacts in Golden Hill. Further, the mitigation for impacts to our community should be in our community, not elsewhere. Why is there no mitigation in the Pueblo San Diego Hydrologic Unit? Being within the Chollas Creek drainage, we are acutely aware of the many opportunities for mitigation right here.

We understand that the city has applied for a 404 permit before CEQA hearings have taken place, and request that they be stopped until the appropriate stage of the environmental review process. We look forward to an amended program consistent with global goals for greenhouse gas reduction, water conservation and water quality, as well as a program respectful of community stewardship.

Thank you sincerely,

cc: Senator Chris Kehoe

Senator Denise Ducheny

Assemblymember Mary Salas

Assemblymember Lori Saldaña

Mayor Jerry Sanders

Council President Ben Hueso

Councilman Todd Gloria

Ms. Alejandra Gavaldon



Greater Golden Hill Planning Committee

Community Plan Update Advisory Committee

Selection Procedures


Establish selection procedures for the Greater Golden Hill Community Plan Update Advisory Committee (CPUAC). The selection procedures establish formal participation in the CPUAC from a diverse cross-section of stakeholder’s representative of the community at-large. Those often under-represented in the formal decision-making process should be encouraged to participate as part of the plan update process.


To convene the public discussion and gather input that is representative of diverse interests and perspectives from the community at-large. The CPUAC will provide the City with feedback and recommendations throughout the community plan update process. The CPUAC will be a subcommittee of the Greater Golden Hill Planning Committee (GGHPC) as provided by Council Policy 600-24 and the bylaws of the GGHPC.

Selection & Eligibility

The CPUAC will consist of fifteen (15) voting members and may include up to five (5) ex-officio (non-voting) members. The GGHPC will appoint eight (8) members, and seven (7) members will be selected from the community at-large. Members of the CPUAC should, to the extent possible, be representative of the various geographic and demographic segments of the community and of diversified community interests. Membership based upon community interests places the additional responsibility for committee members to gather the knowledge and viewpoints necessary to represent such interest for the community at-large. Individuals with direct conflicts of interest are ineligible to serve.

The CPUAC will contain the following member representatives:

(4) Resident Property Owner

(1) Non-resident Property Owner

(2) Non-owner Resident

(1) Community Non-Profit Organization

(1) Canyons

(1) Environmental/CEQA

(1) Historic

(1) Open Space/parks

(3) Business:

(1) Community Commercial zone representative from any designated Community Commercial zone area within Greater Golden Hill

(1) At-large representative with preference for representing the smaller Neighborhood Commercial zone area within Greater Golden Hill

(1) At-large representative

Voting members shall be at least 18 years of age. Proof of age shall be provided in the form of valid picture identification.

Interested candidates shall be affiliated with the community as a:

Resident Property Owner

A Resident Property Owner is any person who owns all or a substantial fee interest in the dwelling unit which he or she resides within the community planning area boundary.

To determine eligibility, a Resident Property Owner candidate will present any of the following documents as proof that they own the property in which they reside:

1) Deed of Trust

2) Deed to Property

3) Property Tax Bill

4) Mortgage Payment Contract

5) Mortgage Payment Book

6) Current County Assessor Property Owner Listing

7) Any other documents or materials which the CPCI Department may deem acceptable

Non-resident Property Owner

A Non-Resident Property Owner is any person identified as the sole or partial owner of record, or their designee, of a real property (either developed or undeveloped) within the community planning area.

To determine eligibility, a Non-resident Property Owner candidate will present any of the following documents as proof that they own property in the community:

1) Deed of Trust

2) Deed to Property

3) Property Tax Bill

4) Mortgage Payment Contract

5) Mortgage Payment Book

6) Current County Assessor Property Owner Listing

7) Any other documents or materials which the CPCI Department may deem acceptable

Non-owner Resident

A Non-owner Resident is any person who occupies a dwelling unit by right under a lease, rental agreement, or other arrangement with the owner of a dwelling unit within the community planning area. Family members who reside with residential owner occupants but own no fee interest in the residential dwelling are considered residential tenants.

To determine eligibility, a Non-owner Resident candidate will present proof that they rent or lease their residence in the community planning area. Eligibility documentation must be current and must indicate the correct name of the individual and the qualifying address of their residence. Any of the following documents will be accepted to determine eligibility:

1) California Driver’s License

2) California Identification Card

3) Lease or Rental Agreement

4) Lease or Rental Receipt

5) Housing Commission or Rental Assistance Contract

6) Utility Bill (other than water)

7) Any other documents or materials which the CPCI Department may deem acceptable

Community Non-profit Organization

A local Community Non-profit Organization is any existing not-for-profit organization or community association of persons and/or entities which has its headquarters or a site office within the community planning area, or a substantial number of whose constituents are persons and/or entities within the community planning area, and which association is generally recognized within the planning area as a community organization.

Each eligible Community Non-profit Organization may designate one representative. To determine eligibility, candidates will submit the following on behalf of the organization they represent:

1) Documentation demonstrating existence of the organization at least two (2) years prior to January 2009;

2) Documentation demonstrating existence and operation within or serving the community planning area, such as articles of incorporation, by-laws, non-profit status, business license or such other documentation;

3) A resolution or minutes of the organization’s legislative or executive body designating its representative and authorizing such person to act on its behalf.

Canyons Representative

The Canyons representative will provide the specific knowledge and unique perspective necessary to inform the community plan update process about the preservation, conservation and sustainable management of canyon areas and open space within the community as guided by the Conservation and the Recreation Elements of the City of San Diego General Plan.

To determine eligibility, a candidate for the Canyons representative will present qualifications either as a Resident Property Owner, or Non-owner Resident as well as a résumé or statement of interest relevant to canyon areas and open space. A representative with active participation and experience in or with canyon preservation and rehabilitation organization(s) within the Greater Golden Hill Community Planning Area is preferred.

Environmental/CEQA Representative

The Environmental/CEQA representative will provide the specific knowledge and perspective necessary to inform the community plan update process of environmental issues specific to urban communities, community-specific implementation of General Plan Conservation Element objectives, and the results of the environmental (CEQA) review process.

To determine eligibility, a candidate for the Environmental representative will present qualifications in the categories of Resident Property Owner, Non-owner Resident or Community Non-profit Organization as well as a résumé or statement of interest relevant to the qualifications listed above. Additionally, candidates for this position should have specific knowledge and/or experience in issues of sustainability, ecology, green development and design, and/or the United States Green Building Council’s LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system with emphasis on Neighborhood Development.

Historic Representative

The Historic representative will have knowledge of the community’s history, and be interested in participating in assisting the City and the City’s consultant to identify places that may be historically significant to the community. One of the main tasks of the historic representative will be to solicit input from community members regarding places, buildings, and sites that are of cultural importance, but may not be readily apparent to the City or the City’s consultant.

To determine eligibility, a candidate for the Historic representative will present qualifications in the categories of Resident Property Owner or Non-owner Resident as well as a résumé or statement of interest relevant to the qualifications listed above.

Open Space/parks Representative

The Open Space/parks representative will provide the specific knowledge and perspective necessary to inform the community plan update process about issues related to open space, parks and recreation in an urban community as guided by the Recreation and the Conservation Elements of the General Plan. This representative will also be the liaison with the Balboa Park Committee.

To determine eligibility, a candidate for the Open Space/parks representative will present qualifications in the categories of Resident Property Owner, Non-owner Resident or Community Non-profit Organization as well as a résumé or statement of interest relevant to the qualifications listed above.

Business/commercial Representative

The Business/commercial representative shall be a local business owner, operator, or their designee at a non-residential real property address in the community planning area.

Business/commercial candidates must present proof of ownership of a business located within the community planning area. Eligibility documentation must be current and must indicate the correct name of the individual and the address of his or her business as appropriate. No more than one stockholder, officer or designee of a corporation may apply. Candidate shall submit at least one of the following documents as proof of eligibility:

1) Business Tax Certificate

2) Certificate of Incorporation

3) Articles of Incorporation

4) Corporation By-laws

5) Deed of Trust

6) Deed to Property

7) Property Tax Bill

8) Current County Assessor Property Owner Listing

9) Any other documents or materials which the CPCI Department may deem acceptable

Advisory Committee Interest Form

All candidates must submit a signed CPUAC application form in order to be considered to serve on the committee. Forms should be submitted to the City Planning & Community Investment (CPCI) Department by September 2, 2009. The application forms are includes in Attachment 1. Résumés or a statement of interest should be attached to the application.

Solicitation and Selection of CPUAC Members

· Membership. Applications will be solicited from individuals and groups who have shown an interest in the Greater Golden Hill Community Plan update; have been identified by the City of San Diego as having participated in or served the community; or have been responded to outreach efforts by the City and the GGHPC.

· Selection Criteria. City staff will certify that candidates meet the criteria set forth on the application form. CPCI staff will forward eligible candidates to a selection committee comprised of the CPCI Director or designee, in consultation with staff from Council Districts 3 and 8. A publicly-noticed lottery will be held if there are more candidates than seats. The non-profit/community organization seats shall be ratified by the CPCI Director in consultation with Council Districts 3 and 8 based on eligibility determined by the selection criteria identified above.

Reappointment Process. Establishing a process for reappointments will help ensure active participation at all times. If a CPUAC member has two unexcused absences in a row or three unexcused absences over the course of six months and does not have the excused absence approved at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting by the CPCI Department, he/she would be replaced. The new appointment of a member would be made in the category in need of representation from the original candidate list.