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The Raise the Balloon March on Sept 27th was a huge success! New registrants to our website are filtering in daily. More residents are becoming aware of what the City of San Diego is proposing in land use, density, and building heights. We want a voice in the development in our neighborhoods and that voice is growing daily!

Development will bring both good and bad. The majority of our residents welcome new development. But if residents don’t become part of the public input process that amending our Community Plans guarantees, it can turn out badly. We will inform the public when the City begins to solicit our input for their final amendments.  In the meantime, we are not waiting for the City Planners to finalize what they want! Instead, we are initiating two of our own Community Plan amendments in a preemptive strike! Read More…       

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SAN DIEGO- Upset residents who live near and in Linda Vista are vowing to fight plans they say would completely change their neighborhood.

It started with plans to extend the trolley line, but the possibility of more than 4000 condominiums is what really has residents like James LaMattery fired up.

LaMattery pointed out an empty lot on Morena Boulevard and Ingulf Street, which could be the spot of a future condo complex.

“This is the gateway to our community here in Bay Park.  Literally, the gateway. We want something nicely done here,” he said.

LaMattery said condos are not the answer.  He would prefer more services, such as a grocery store.

If a new planning department proposal is approved, thousands of new condos could pop up along Morena Boulevard.   It would coincide with the proposed trolley line.

LaMattery worries about the traffic.  He said thousands of extra vehicles would crowd the roadways.

“With all of the cars coming down to park and the riders for the trolleys and the folks trying to get out in the morning to go to work, we will have a 15- to 20-minute wait for a two block distance,” LaMattery said.

Increasing the height limits from 30 to 60 feet for buildings in the area is also of concern to LaMattery.  He said increasing the limits would block beautiful views.

However, some business owners like Mary Campbell welcome new development.

“It brings people to the area, so of course ti’s a boon to the area,” said Campbell, who owns World Art on Morena Boulevard.

Team 10 spoke to Bill Fulton of the planning department. He said the city has listened  to concerns from the residents and backed off a plan to raise height limits for development north of Tecolote Road.

“They complained about the height and we responded to that complaint,” Fulton said.

He also added that their traffic studies found condominiums would bring less traffic than retail and office development.

Next month, LaMattery’s group, “Raise the Balloon” will raise a 10 foot diameter balloon in the air to show what proposed height changes could mean for the community.

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Monday, May 5, 2014- They contacted KUSI’s Michael Turko when the city put out a plan for high density development along a new trolley line.  City Planning officials now claim they’ve changed their minds on that but Turko says most of the neighbors just don’t believe it.



Chris O’Connell interviews James LaMattery on Raise the Balloon efforts, the coming city plan changes and what residents can do about getting involved and heard. Listen to the two 10-minute segments.



By Andrew Keatts  August 1, 2014

This probably wasn’t what Bill Fulton had in mind when he took the job as the city’s top planner.  He brought his national reputation to town when he started as the city’s panning director last July.

Mayor Bob Filner, the man who hired him, was wrapped up in a sexual harassment scandal within a month and resigned soon after.  “It wasn’t exactly a straight line, ” Fulton said, of how his first year played out.

Then Fulton rung up his first victory: He stood behind his departments’s new development plan for Barrio Logan, opposed by the neighborhood’s lucrative shipbuilding industry, and watched it win City Council approval on a party-line vote.

The shipbuilding industry quickly announced it would try to overturn the plan.  Then-mayoral candidate Kevin Faulconer, who had just voted against the plan, lined up beside them.

By February, Faulconer was mayor, Fulton’s new boss, and by June the shipbuilders had successfully killed the Barrio Logan plan.

This spring, Fulton’s department rolled out the early stages of a plan it was pursing to change development regulations along Morena Boulevard to create dense urban areas surrounding stations on the new light-rail line connection Old Town and La Jolla.

Residents revolted. This was in the midst of an election to represent that Council district- Faulconer’s old district-and Democratic challenger Sarah Boot seized on the issue against Councilwoman Lorie Zaph, who Faulconer had endorsed.

Quickly, Zaph requested-with Faulconer’s support-that Fulton walk back the most controversial elements of the plan. He did. (Fulton had come under personal attacks by Bay Park residents who hated the plan.

Mayor Faulconer named David Graham, then Republican Councilman Mark Kersey’s chief of staff and former land-use and redevelopment guru to Mayor Jerry Sanders, as the deputy COO of neighborhood services, He’d be Fulton’s boss.

Faulconer also shook up the city’s organizational chart, diminishing Fulton’s influence by having the economic development department, which Fulton had been in charge of under interim mayor Todd Gloria, answer to Graham instead.

And in his first budget, Faulconer killed the funding for the Civic Innovation Lab, a four-staffer mini-department that also answered to Fulton.

And…your could say the message was pretty clear that Fulton wasn’t a Faulconer guy, or that the political winds had shifted.

But Fulton said that’s not a fair way to view it.  The position he’s leaving to take, as director of an urban planning institute at Rice University, was just too good to pass up, he said. He hopes to influence local policy while also conducting research of national and international influence.

“Every mayor has a different approach, and I was upfor this,” he said. “Graham and I are close, and one of my biggest regrets is that I won’t get to work with him on a daily basis. Faulconer has been totally supportive of community plan updates, and we currently have nine or 10 vacancies in the department to fill due to the biggest increase in the planning budget that anyone can remember.

Faulconer’s office released a statement Friday saying Fulton would be missed, and praised him for bringing a creative perspective to neighborhood development.

So after a year, Fulton’s moving on to Houston. He says he’ll miss the daily fray of working with the public, and hopes he’ll get to experience it some at Rice.

I was in the fray here, and it’s been both exhausting and refreshing, ” he said.

Most of the plans he spent the last year ushering through the city’s bureaucracy–the now-killed plan in Barrio Logan, adopted plans in Otay Mesa and Ocean Beach, a new economic development plan passed when he still ran that department, and others,-had been initiated and shaped long before he arrived.

And given the turmoil and change throughout his time here, there’s little that will last beyond him that will have his fingerprints on it. Even the initiatives that became news stories recently and under his direction-Morena Boulevard, Grantville- began before he came to town.

Graham said Friday he will launch a national search for Fulton’s replacement, posting a job listing sometime in the next couple weeks. The planning department will not be folded into development services, as had happened under Mayor Jerry Sanders.

“The mayor has made it clear there are three separate departments, with three directors, and three clear directives, ” Graham said, referring to planning, development services, and economic development.  “I tried to convince Fulton to stay, but its’s hard to convince a guy not to take twice as much money to go be in the national and international spotlight remaking a think tank.



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