Only Councilwomen Campbell and Bry Had Our Backs

Only Councilwomen Campbell and Bry Had Our Backs

Attempt To Amend Plan With Reasonable Compromise Rejected


Despite 5 long years of community input which opted for the low-density option,  retention of existing height limits and requirements that higher thresholds of affordable housing in the Morena Corridor Specific Plan (MCSP) be provided, seven members of the City Council rejected Councilmember Jennifer Campbell’s amendment (seconded by Councilmember Barbara Bry) to limit the density and retain the 45 ft limit in the Morena District while lowering the planning department’s demand of 100 ft in the Tecolote District to 65 ft.

Bay Park’s 30ft height limit is maintained in the MCSP but is about to be lifted by the actions of the Clairemont Community Planning Group Subcommittee recommendations in the update of the Clairemont Community Plan.

The councilwomen’s amendment would have stricken a reasonable compromise between the community and the Council.  But it was roundly rejected by the remaining seven councilmembers who are hell-bent on implementing the Mayor’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) and clarion call to remove all of San Diego’s height limits, sans the coastal 30ft overlay, which our communities aren’t protected under.

In my presentation, I petitioned for removing the builder’s alternative, the in-lieu fee option, which they planned to use to escape building the badly needed high-end of the affordable housing chain, the middle market work-force housing, that is sorely needed in order to build housing people can afford around transit that we hope they’ll use.

Howard Wayne, Chair of the Linda Vista Planning Group Subcommittee, petitioned the Council for a higher threshold of required affordable units from the current 10% level to 15%.

Affordability is the Achilles Heel of the MCSP and the Mayor’s Cap.  Without it, the TOD (Transit Oriented Development) planning model fails miserably and the approved plan is doomed to fail.

After years of residents lobbying  councilmembers for a more reasonable density and required higher thresholds of affordable housing, we knew hadn’t secured the necessary votes to postpone or reject the approval of the plan on August 1st.

But how to use the two votes of Campbell and Bry effectively?

Since I was adamant that we at least try to get affordable units built in the projects, and Howard Wayne was intent on raising the affordable housing threshold of new projects from 10% to 15%, we focused on the same in our presentations to the Council.

Councilmember Bry, working with Campbell, picked up the ball and ran with it!  Bry made sure that the deputy City Attorney removed the in-lieu fee option as an alternative to building the affordable units on-site and confirmed that raising the current threshold of 10% to 15% was written into the amendment.  She headed off any dissension of whether these changes to current inclusionary housing rules was permissible by reflecting on another Plan Area that had made similar changes.

After Campbell’s first version of the plan amendment failed, she quickly amended it, with a quick second from Bry, to move the MCSP forward with the inclusion of the amendment regarding the affordable housing inlusionary rule changes that Howard and I fought for.

Sometimes, you have to take what you can get.

As far as the Balboa and Morena Corridor Plan approvals go, I will be publishing instructional videos on what community members can do to mitigate the adverse effects of new projects that come up for permit approval.  Our Community Planning Group system is broken, but there is much we can do to fix it.  The first fix is to make sure that the state doesn’t take over local control.  More on this later.




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