Approval of the Morena Corridor Specific Plan Comes As No Surprise

Poster-child For Bad Planning

Morena Corridor Plan Approvals Doomed To Fail

First, a big THANK-YOU to all community members that sacrificed their day to join us at the August 1st City Council meeting!

Despite five-years of intensive community involvement with trying to adopt plans that work, the pro-big development Morena Corridor and the Balboa Specific Plans were approved on August 1, 2019, by a majority of the San Diego City Councilmembers who are hell-bent on cow-towing to the Mayor’s Climate Action Plan (CAP).  Only Councilwomen Campbell and Bry had our backs.

The plans will add 7,016 new units between Tecolote and Friars Rd, and 4,729 units between Balboa & Garnet. Limited available land means commercial, industrial and low-rise residential properties have been allowed to convert to tall dense apartments.

An additional 3,000 units are proposed and expected to be approved along Morena Blvd, between Clairemont Dr & Tecolote Rd, unless residents can stop the removal of the 30ft height limit in Bay Park. 

Although the approved Morena Corridor Plan maintains it, the Clairemont Community Plan Update Subcommittee recently recommended the addition of 5,000 new units in the larger Clairemont Plan Area and proposed more dwelling units per acre than the current height limit in Bay Park can contain.  The San Diego Planning Commission wants 3000 of the proposed 5000 units built between the two trolley stations at Clairemont Dr. and Tecolote Road, the Clairemont District of the Morena Plan.

But residents will have the chance to oppose the 3000 addition before the CPU update is approved later this year.  I’m developing videos that will help residents understand the process and how to force the Clairemont Community Planning Group to represent the majority of community members in opposition to the lifting of their height limit.

In total, 15,000 new housing units will congest our major thoroughfares until a completed, connected and convenient transit system is in place.  Three trolley stations does not make a transit plan.  SANDAG concedes that one is years, if not decades, in the future, declaring the current transit plan ineffective, the very same plan that was used to justify the massive density that certain councilpersons expect our communities to take on.

With the recent removal of parking space requirements within the boundaries of the plans, the City Council has incompetently made the clustering around an inadequate transit system their method of forcing tax-payers out of their cars.

The last thing our communities needed were ocean and bay view luxury towers around our transit stations that will price out all but the top 30% of income earners.  High income earners will gentrify our neighborhoods and clog our freeways and streets, unless we can convince them to sell their automobiles and walk, bike, or ride the bus to work. Good luck!

Read the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy latest report on “Maintaining Diversity in America’s Transit Rich Neighborhoods,” if in doubt.

Worse yet, the plans do nothing much for making sure the new units are affordable to those most likely to use the new trolley stations, with the exception of one small morsel of concession that I begged from the Council: removal of the in-lieu fee option.  In-lieu fees are the predominant choice of developers, especially in coastal areas with view potential, when deciding whether to include affordable units in their projects.

Unless city government can find a way to make plans’ units affordable to San Diegans who need the new housing, the Morena Corridor will become the poster-child of bad planning.


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