Eva Knott 6:29 a.m., May 23
It's safe to say that in the past, residents of Barrio Logan haven't had much say as far as land use decisions go. The community is an assemblage of residential housing and industrial warehouses. Semi-trucks leaving the port rattle the walls in apartment buildings, and auto body-shops spray coats of paint next door to houses.
But the neighborhood is in the midst of a makeover. An update of the Community Plan is underway. Developers have moved in and are set to build large-scale development projects.
If developers and stakeholders drafting the community plan update get their way, residents will have something else besides new retail and apartment buildings; they will have a new charge on their property tax bills to pay for maintenance assessment districts.
In November, New City America, a firm owned by Marco Li Mandri that specializes in administering the districts, sent a survey to some residents asking for feedback into assessment districts.
The survey was funded by Shea Properties, the Orange County developer that is currently building Mercado Del Barrio, a mixed use development project featuring retail and affordable housing along two city blocks, from Cesar Chavez south to Chicano Park.
"With the dynamic growth of the Barrio Logan neighborhood, all types of property owners - industrial, office, retail, manufacturing and residential - understand that there will be an ongoing need to clean and beautify the community. The system that works very well for the Little Italy community is called a 'Community Benefit District'," reads the survey from New City America.
The deadline to return the surveys was December. Members of the Barrio Logan [Community Benefit District] Steering Committee are reviewing the results. And, if enough support is shown, the steering committee will work with the city council to draw the boundaries and decide what amount of assessment property owners will pay for enhanced city services. Ballots would then be sent out sometime in May-- New City America did not respond to questions about the survey and how it was distributed.
But Shea Properties and New City America aren't the only groups lobbying for enhanced city services by way of assessment districts. Stakeholders that drafted the community plan update for Barrio Logan identified Community Benefit Districts as one of the funding mechanisms for public improvements in Barrio Logan.
On Wednesday, the Barrio Logan Project Area Committee will discuss the survey from New City America. The committee meets at 6pm at Barrio Station, located at 2175 Newton Avenue, San Diego, CA 92113.
Image of Mercado Del Barrio from the City's website