Councilwoman Lorie Zapf Meeting Notes From Feb 16th

James LaMattery Meeting Notes:

Date: Feb 16th, 2pm

Location:City Administration Building
202 “C” Street, 10th Floor
San Diego, CA 92101

Attendees: Councilwoman Lorie Zapf (District 2)

Michael Prinz- Senior Planner/  Clairemont Community Planner

Jeff Murphy- Planning Director

Ryan Purdy, Ardian Sevilla, James McQuirk, Kelly Batten (Assistants to Councilwoman Lorie Zapf)

Keith Hartz- Chairperson of the CCPG (Clairemont Community Planning Group)

Margie Schmidt- Chairperson of Morena Specific Plan Ad Hoc Subcommittee & member of CCPG

James LaMattery- Sitting member of the Morena Specific Plan Ad Hoc Subcommittee


****Background Email Sent to Lorie Zapf requesting Meeting on January 19th****

Before reading the below Meeting Notes, I encourage everyone to help find a way to enlist Councilwoman Lorie Zapf’s help with the 30Ft Height Limit.  I have been asked by many of you “who should we vote for?”  My answer today is the same from the beginning;  RTB Committee Members, and, I, believe we haven’t done our job if we need to instruct community members on who to vote for.  We will, however, work to get information and statements out to the public regarding specific issues that city officials and elected Councilmembers have stated on the record.

It is imperative that we not throw in the towel and shrug off our responsibilities as individual citizens and merely blame politicians for their lack of help to their constituents.  A “Town Hall” meeting is a more appropriate setting for Councilwoman Zapf to meet her community face-to-face instead of merely encouraging folks to attend the Community Planning Group meetings (which RTB has encouraged everyone to do from the beginning of the release of the Morena Blvd Station Area Planning Study).


Unfortunately, Councilwoman Lorie Zapf sided with the Planning Department, at our meeting on February 16th, and chose not to return Land Use and Zoning back to the purview of the Ad Hoc Subcommittee established for this purpose.  It was a choice to not protect the 30ft limit now that she has won the election.

She merely had to instruct the Planning Director at the meeting to “put the Land Use and Zoning back into the Subcommittee’s hands,” despite any claims to the contrary.

It is important to those of you who have not had the time to follow all that has gone on, that Councilwoman Zapf had the power to instruct the City Planning Dept to immediately return Land Use and Zoning back to the Ad Hoc Subcommittee that was set up for this purpose, just as she required them to maintain it in the Morena Blvd Station Planning Area Study (see below Zapf’s campaign flyer she distributed prior to the vote for her seat for Council District 2 in 2014).

RTB will work with the community to petition Councilwoman Zapf to meet directly with the community (such as Protea was willing to do) in a “Community Town Hall” at the Bay Park Elementary School Auditorium where she can speak for herself about why she had the chance to protect this community and chose not to.  She will be invited to listen to those of us whom she was elected to represent.  She needs to climb down from her ivory tower and face her constituents eye-to-eye.

The City Planning Dept has made a mockery of the public participation process by removing Land Use and Zoning from the Subcommittee, particularly because it instructs the Community Plan on maximum building height limits and density.

The Planning department was well aware that the Subcommittee was going to make a recommendation to maintain the 30FT height limit. Their only option to stop the recommendation from Public Record was to remove the Subcommittee’s power to make it.

In February of 2014, after community outrage of the proposal to bust our hard-fought for 30Ft limit, and after being instructed by Councilwoman Zapf to remove it from the Study, the City Planners cut and pasted over Map Fig. 5.1 the following verbiage, promising that they would “Maintain the existing Clairemont Mesa Height Limit Overlay Zone as outlined in the community plan and in Municipal Code Chapter 13, Article 2, Division 13.”

Having not gotten what the City PD wanted from the Subcommittee, they sabotaged the process by now demanding that it be delayed and removed from the Draft Plan of the Morena Specific Plan, so that no decision can be made until the finalization of the larger Clairemont Community Plan Update, which they predict will happen in 2020.

The Planning Dept will not admit it, but the push to 2020 may be in hopes that the larger Clairemont Community Plan process will encourage all of Clairemont Mesa residents to remove the 30Ft protection from those fortunate enough to have purchased homes in the impacted area-Bay Park.

This, in my opinion, is a shameless attempt to pit neighbor against neighbor by involving  those that don’t live in Bay Park to regulate what happens to the 30ft height limit.  I personally think our community is better than that.

Pitting the larger community against the lessor, I for one, think would be highly unsuccessful as everyone whom I’ve sold homes to in Clairemont Mesa, would have much-preferred qualifying for homes in beautiful Bay Park with its views to the Pacific Ocean.  But Clairemont Mesa is fast becoming less affordable as news gets out that we may be successful in redesigning Morena Blvd with amenities that all can enjoy.  Owners can state proudly that they live in Clairemont.

The other, and frankly, more dangerous attempt to push the final decision to 2020, in my opinion, is a move by Councilwoman Zapf and City Planning to kick the can down the road far enough in order to give Governor Brown time to enact legislation that will remove any community participation regarding zoning and building heights from local Community Planning Groups for TOD designated areas ( 1/2 mile radius around transit hubs).  This means around the three trolley stations under construction at Balboa Ave, Clairemont Drive, and Tecolote Road, which by the way, are slated to be completed by 2020.  Read Governor Brown’s ‘By Right’ Housing Fast-Track Proposal.”  Note that Brown will continue to try to pass the legislation, but that active communities may be able to stop him if we band together.

I will write more about the details of the meeting and Zapf’s flippant response when I asked her if she knew of Governor Brown’s attempt at the legislation and, after acknowledging she was aware of it, then blurted out, “take that up with your state legislator!.”

Below is the flyer Councilwoman Zapf circulated during her campaign in 2014 for the District 2 Council seat:

I informed Zapf’s office that I would be publishing my meeting notes at 5pm today, and in the effort of fairness, gave her the opportunity to respond. She didn’t, but instead sent this message,
“Thank you for contacting the office of District 2 with the City of San Diego. Due to the high volume of emails
received, I ask for your patience in receiving a reply. If your matter is urgent, please feel free to call our office at 619-236-6622.”

Yet, another community member emailed her minutes before mine about the meeting results and she responded ”

February 17, 2017

Dear Clairemont Resident:

On Thursday, February 16th, I had the pleasure of meeting with Margie Schmidt, Morena Specific Plan Sub-Committee Chair and Keith Hartz, Clairemont Community Planning Group Chair, regarding the Morena Specific Plan.  I appreciate the hard work the volunteers have done on the land use component of the Morena Specific Plan.  The Planning Director, Jeff Murphy and Michael Prinz, Senior Planner, were able to clarify how the planning process for theMorena Specific Plan will be incorporated into the Clairemont Community Plan.

Initially, height limit concerns were raised and addressed.  Please, rest assured, I stand with the residents of Clairemont to adhere to the current 30 foot height limit unless specified by the Clairemont Community Planning Group and approved by at least 5 votes of the San Diego City Council.

Clairemont has hard-working, elected, planning board members that will help guide the Community Plan Update process.  However, I encourage all Clairemont residents to get involved in the planning for the future of Clairemont and ensure you have a say in the Community Plan Update.

Have your voice be heard by attending a Community Planning Group meeting, they meet on the 3rd Tuesday of the month at Cadman Elementary (4370 Kamloop Ave) at 6:30 pm.  If you can’t attend a meeting, you can also share your vision directly through the Planning Department’s Community Plan Update’s website at As always, feel free to contact my office directly at 619-236-6622 or email


Councilmember, District Two

Thank you.


Councilmember Lorie Zapf
District 2 | City of San Diego

So, I have Zapf’s response, and it is important to note the fine print:
“unless specified by the Clairemont Community Planning Group and approved by at least 5 votes of the San Diego City Council.”

The translation of this means that Zapf is not protecting the limit, and has sided with the Planning Department to push it into the Clairemont Community Planning Group Update (2020)- and then IF approved by the remaining City Council members.  Nothing has been stated by Councilwoman Zapf about how she will represent our concerns to the other members of the City Council when it comes to the final vote.

Much more happened at the meeting that I will take time to write about in the next few days. One of which was Zapf’s claim that she “really had to fight hard’ to get the Protea Project approved, but because it was a closed door session, she couldn’t elaborate.  Not one mention was made by Lorie about our community’s outstanding effort to use the Email Petition Campaign to secure the unanimous SANDAG Board of Directors vote to drop the eminent domain lawsuit. You won’t believe how that went down in the meeting!  But I will elucidate when time permits.

4 thoughts on “Councilwoman Lorie Zapf Meeting Notes From Feb 16th

  • Trying to circumvent the public comments by the sub-committee and keep it out of the record demonstrates a lack of democratic value and a set up for backroom deals. San Diego is better than this. SaNDAG once was very respected. Given their recent behaviors to misrepresent funding and obvious efforts to get around public comment they don’t like, it might be time to make this agencies defunct and find a newer, less entrenched agency that will listen to the public. If Zapf, doesn’t listen to the citizens that her actions effect, than we should vote her out.

  • The best way to go after the burgeoning private vacation rental market in Pacific Beach is to try to collect hotel occupancy taxes, city councilwoman Lorie Zapf told about 120 people at the Pacific Beach Town Council meeting on February 18.

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