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San Diego's Development Services Department wants to tear down some of the restrictions built into the City's Land Development Code. Among the bundle of changes included in the department's update are regulations dealing with “companion units” or “granny flats” — accessory units that provide “complete living facilities.”

In 2003, in an effort to prevent single-family neighborhoods from turning into giant apartment complexes, then-mayor Dick Murphy and city councilmembers placed restrictions on erecting granny flats on single-family lots after the California Legislature passed Assembly Bill 1866, which allowed a density bonus for accessory units.

Among the provisions implemented in 2003: property owners were to replace garages that were transformed into additional residences; companion units could be built only on lots twice the size of typical single-family homes; and there was to be no simultaneous construction of primary dwellings and granny flats.

Looking to raze the regulations, the Development Services Department submitted amendments to the Land Development Code on September 17 of this year. In the draft proposal, the code is decorated with slashes and new paragraphs.

The corrections and additions are found on Section 141.0302, and they propose reducing the lot-size requirement, increasing the number of companion units that can be built in multifamily zones, and allowing simultaneous construction of granny flats and primary dwellings.

The amendments have not gone unnoticed.

“My single-family, residential-zoned neighborhood would be opened up to further crowding without a more publicly noticed up-zone change,” wrote a concerned South Park denizen in an email to this correspondent.

“Many pre-2003 code companion units already exist in my neighborhood and create density and parking problems.... The proposed changes give developers and realtors what they want,” concludes the South Park homeowner, “removal of restrictions on building rental units on single-family-zoned parcels.”

Employees at the City's Development Services Department did not respond to requests for comment.

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nostalgic Oct. 28, 2010 @ 8:44 p.m.

Concerned citizen is right on! The mantra at the city is BUILD. Anything. Better to call it something nice, like granny-flats, than something evil, like redevelopment. Note that granny flats don't require parking; presumably granny doesn't drive. Granny probably doesn't require a setback either. It is coming. We call it revitalization in San Diego.


goodlead Oct. 29, 2010 @ 8:30 a.m.

As the late night, backroom deal to lift the cap on downtown redevelopment showed us, residents cannot trust the city to do anything that is in their best interests. everything is done for the benefit of the developers. AnytimeEyou hear smeone call San Diego "America's Finest City," the correct riposte is "America's Most Corrupt City."


BlueSouthPark Oct. 29, 2010 @ 10:01 a.m.

This will apply to the entire city, in all neighborhoods zoned single-family. For seven years, single-family zones have been protected from owners adding rental units on a single average-size lot. If Development Services and their top boss, Bill Anderson at City Planning, are determined to open up our single-family neighborhoods to infill, density, and development, can we stop it?

It is a major, major change to the Land Use regulations. Why haven't the changes to Section 141.0302 been discussed at the many community plan update meetings? Why? All of the consultants and city staff at these meetings have known about this all along. In all of the discussions about infill and development, why didn't they mention this?

If you want to have some input, contact your developer-friendly Councilperson, and good luck; also contact Amanda Lee, Senior Planner, at Development Services, [email protected]

The full set of documents showing the planned Land Use changes is available at the bottom of the page at http://www.sandiego.gov/development-services/industry/landdevcode.shtml#amend


BlueSouthPark Oct. 29, 2010 @ 10:42 a.m.

Also, thanks to The Reader for bringing this story to the public eye. Nothing has been written about this in any of the other news media, at least in the past few years. What do you bet that the U-T soon does a story, and gets interviews with DSD and Planning, the Association of Builders and Realtors, Friends of San Diego Architecture...who will all describe what a good thing this is.

With the real estate downturn (which included gross overbuilding over the past few years) we have a hungry group of investors, realtors, brokers, builders, architects, and developers. They have all got the city's ear and want free rein. Do the single-family property owners have the city's ear?

In July 2003, the U-T did report on the rental-unit restrictions imposed by the Dick Murphy city council (copy and paste this link: www.americanhomesource.us/files/San_d...

Then in 2007, Ann Jarmusch wrote a bit of fluff for the building industry: http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20050130/news_1h30granny.html Jarmusch promoted the idea that, as long as the rental units look swell, well, then no problem! The reality is, it's not about aesthetics. It IS about higher density of renters, more people, more cars, more noise, more traffic. A single-family neighborhood becomes multi-family, without even changing the zoning. Voila!

Note: increasing density increases something else: the price of homeowner insurance. The insurance companies will be all over it and will have another justification for raising your insurance rate. Is that OK?


nan shartel Oct. 29, 2010 @ 1:09 p.m.

i wonder if they'll get East Indians and Chinese to build them at pennies on the dollar that San Diegans would get paid???


Founder Oct. 29, 2010 @ 1:14 p.m.

Perhaps this is why the City is threatening to delay the Plan Updates...

I've been to many of the Plan Updates and I don't remember "Granny" even being mentioned...

I'm sure the City will say it's a Zoning issue not a Planning issue...

Just like CCDC was NOT going to use $500,000,00 to a Billion Dollars for a new stadium; oh and how about a roof, just add another $200,000,000.

Wake up San Diego, the joke is on US!

from: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/financial-crime-politics/2010/oct/29/september-lead-indicators-of-san-diego-economy-fal/#c75846

  • Rev'n Debt - 10-10-29

A reply to #7 Our CITY Debt is still rev'n

It's true and that is NO JOKE In a City that's now Broke

Now many of the folks that now live in $an Diego Will now have to figure out someplace new where they can go

They all will be wondering, "Why did this have to happen to me!" Getting our City $OLD OUT, is something I never thought I'd see

All this time folks have been worrying about the BIG earthquake When they should have been preparing for not being treated Jake

When voters ask, "What if anything they can now Do" Many of them are now thinking, of who we should $ue


Founder Oct. 29, 2010 @ 1:37 p.m.

  • Build and the Rich will COME -*

Reply to #6 They're up to their old tricks

Only if it will save them more money And I am not trying to be funny

Maybe this is why using non Union Labor is now up for Vote Saving a dime is something the Ultra Wealthy always do by rote

I bet the Unions will be cut from working on the Guacamole Bowl Reducing all those Union Workers wages, will be the Owners first goal

After getting the Unions to support Prop D They will now lose more jobs, just wait and you will see

Voters and all taxpayers are now getting stuck in the back That's why many are talking of giving our Leaders the $ACK

So voting No on Prop D Is the first BIG step for me


nostalgic Oct. 31, 2010 @ 9:46 a.m.

For most of the community plan updates, the solutions to parking and traffic are bicycles and pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods, so people will walk instead of drive. Of course, 99% of the people are too busy to go to the meetings, and are surprised when four lanes turn into two + a bicycle lane.


Founder Oct. 31, 2010 @ 3:05 p.m.

Reply #9 That is Total Boloney!

The problem is that the 90+% of the folks suggesting that everyone walk or ride a bike usually drive to these meeting and or almost never take mass transit! Their "time" is too valuable and they want the security of their own vehicle instead of setting across from some questionable stinky person that might get off the bus at the same time they do!

This is just more NIMBY talk by all the folks that want to change the way others live (More Density without more Quality of Life infrastructure) but not anywhere near where they live...

Ideas like reducing the parking requirement for Low and Low Mod housing only makes the Developers more money while BLIGHTING these linear Ghettos and the neighborhoods nearby. Business parking encroachment is now changing the Quality of Life in North Park and the Planning Dept. is "studying' it...

If you look at a map of SD and plot where "they" want to add Density, it is where it already exists. Liberty Station has built ZERO Low and Low Mod housing in its Redevelopment Area, choosing to "give" its money to a poorer part of SD; that's the kind of "fiscal segregation" that is responsible for SD's climbing crime rate and many other problems in our poorer neighborhoods.


HonestGovernment Nov. 1, 2010 @ 12:45 p.m.

The time spent on talking about "pedestrian friendly" and bike routes at the community plan updates relates to the imaginary world in which the city "reinvests" (with what?) and Urban Village infrastructure provides everything the urban villagers need (the provider is the Urban Land Institute, for the naive).

Yet we can't walk/bike to Target or Home Depot and get those pillows and dry wall to redo the bedroom, or to Costco for 25 pounds of dogfood, or to Nordies or Macy's for shoes and luggage, or to North Park Produce for anything much if we live in Golden Hill, or even to Miller's or Gala if we need more than an item or two. So what are the Village People supposed to do? Pay the high price for the limited goods that can be bought at teeny little local outfits, and walk or bike there rain or shine?

I remember a pathetic hardware store in South Park, before the first Home Depot came to Sports Arena. Overpriced and totally useless for anything bigger than hanging a picture. Forget it!!! Aint going back to those days.

South Park is the original suburb to downtown. In the 1920s, people bought houses in SP to escape the crammed together older houses and rentals in Little Italy and near downtown. The families wanted backyards where kids could play, in quiet, residential neighborhoods. Guess what? That is what people still want in South Park, and for the city to change the rules so that realtors, investors, and developer-architects can load up the hood with infill and sell it as an investment opportunity is outrageous. Yes, we want pocket parks. So do it, City. You got the dough to do it anytime soon?

Changing the code to allow density is what the city is really doing, and they have Planning Department staff working full-time doing it. The city has the dough to do that...where are the Planning Department staff cutbacks?

It's not gonna be granny crammed into in your neighbor's backyard cute-as-pie "craftsman-style" granny flat rental, it's more likely to be a self-professed "artist" - a 20-something who plays loud music, hangs out with tons of Facebook and local bar buds, and comes home from the 30th-street bar tour after 2 am and makes lots of noise.

That's what the city should be talking about at the plan updates, what YOU should be talking about, and I hope it IS the main subject on the November 6 charrette. It doesn't appear to be on the agenda of the city if you read this propaganda: http://sduptownnews.com/?p=5463 "residents will get a chance to make more decisions" ??? When did they get to make the previous ones of real consequence?


Founder Nov. 1, 2010 @ 1:54 p.m.

Reply I'm proud to say I HAVE BEEN AND WILL CONTINUE to talk about all the things that you are saying at least at NP's "Planning" Update!

Even the title of that story is misleading: ...will Gild Golden Hill should read ...will Geld of Golden Hill

BTW: Here is that link from #11 above: http://sduptownnews.com/?p=5463


HonestGovernment Nov. 1, 2010 @ 3:14 p.m.

12, I like that! And thanks for the active link.


Catherine Darragh Nov. 1, 2010 @ 3:16 p.m.

Granny Flats, companion units (accessory dwelling units) are a housing solution for one small segment of San Diego’s population. San Diego passed a 2003 ordinance that was poorly written but cleverly and purposely deceptive. It was passed to prevent the state law from taking effect in San Diego. San Diego was forced to create its own rules or accept the newly-passed state law (Bill AB 1866) which made companion units ministerial rather than discretionary. The state, in an attempt to answer housing needs and offer some affordable solutions, obviated the need for time-consuming, costly hearings on proposals that are in compliance with local zoning and development standards. Richard Murphy, San Diego Mayor at the time, and his Council opted to create their own rules for San Diego.

City planners and representatives from community planning groups had been working for months on companion unit regulations that settled on a 5000 sq. ft. minimum lot size. When the Council met, the discussion centered around the fear of turning residential neighborhoods into multi-family zones with over-crowding and parking problems. The Mayor suggested increasing the lot size to two times the lot size for the area. It was an obvious solution for eliminating any future granny flats from being built since the average lot size in San Diego averages 5000-7500 sq. ft. Concurrent building of two units, an effective cost-savings, was also prohibited.

Development Services are proposing amendments which have to go before Council. A draft written in 2007 was never brought to Council. Council Presidents control what is on the Agenda, so nothing will change the Companion Unit regulations until the issue is before Council, discussed and passed. The new amendments will allow ADU’s to be built with reasonable restrictions to allay community concerns. With the current economic climate and changing demographics, it is one viable solution for families struggling to make ends meet, young adults jobless and needing shelter, multi-family generations choosing to live together and seniors wanting to remain in their own homes.

We may get a different mix on the Council this go-around who are willing to make decisions in a responsible and timely manner. I can hope! …tradinlady


HonestGovernment Nov. 1, 2010 @ 3:52 p.m.

14 writes "The new amendments will allow ADU’s [another dwelling unit, available to rent out, on a single-family-zoned lot] to be built with reasonable restrictions to allay community concerns."

What are the reasonable restrictions that stop one-family-house-per-lot from turning into two houses per lot? If the unit is cute, or has grampa or a "jobless adult" in it, why would that allay anyone's concerns about crowding, noise, and increased crime and fire hazards?

A homeowner who is "struggling to make ends meet" in any single-family-zoned neighborhood isn't likely to have the money to build a brand new second rental housing unit in their backyard. "Economic climate," "changing demographics," ... this is all familiar language from many years ago...very much like what you can see written here: http://www.sandiegoissues.com/Grannyflats.htm and here: http://www.sandiegoissues.com/index.htm


No, I'm not a NIMBY, my backyard is safe and open and green, with birds and butterflies and kids playing: I'm a Not in YOUR Backyard, because I don't want a second house, and the extra people and traffic and crowding and fire danger that come with it, crammed on your lot or looking down on my lot in my single-family-zoned residential neighborhood.

But thanks.


HonestGovernment Nov. 1, 2010 @ 4 p.m.

Oh, #14, hope you show up at all of the community plan update meetings and bring a lot of attention to the current code changes made without public notice by the city and "Community Planners" (builders, real estate investors, business owners, architect-developers, realtors). Make a pitch for changing single-family zones into these multi-zones...


Founder Nov. 1, 2010 @ 4:17 p.m.

Reply #14 You sound much like a new Realtor but since you joined in Feb. of 2008 and this is your first post, I'm sorta suspecting that you are a Phobogger*: Phony Blogger, someone that is getting paid and or promoting Spin to disrupt a blog discussion.

If I'm wrong, just tell us what part of town you live in and how long you have been here. As for me, it's NP and I've been there for over 20 wonderful years!

I hope we don't have to wait 2 more years for your next reply!

*from: Urban Dictionary


Founder Nov. 1, 2010 @ 4:20 p.m.

Reply #15 & #16 I agree 100% with you!

I've learn to not to trust our Planning/Zoning/Council because they are only after one thing; getting long time residents to sell out and move hopefully outside of the City of SanDiego so that everyone will then have to pay much higher property taxes!

Another "Benefit" for them, is that all the new folks will not have any institutional memory so that all their old lies will "work" again; • We'll provide more Services • More Parks & Open-space • More amenities • Safer Neighborhoods • Less Crime • Higher Quality of Life • We need your input • Less traffic • More neighborhood Parking • We have learned so much from all of you!


HonestGovernment Nov. 1, 2010 @ 4:58 p.m.

18 The irony is that City's reason for the community plan updates is infill, ...and somewhere in there they say this is to provide convenient housing near downtown, to keep the gas-guzzling anti-green suburbanites from seeking homes ever further out and destroying the remaining open space.

But...but, but, but, ...destroying the very near-downtown single-family zones by allowing them to become de facto multi zones will do just what it always does, drive young and old families further away, out to quieter, safer, uncrowded areas. (Where most of the consultants for the CPUs live.)

You'd think the City could make sense some of time!

What makes sense to the City Planners is the influence of realtors and investors and businesses.

Struggling property owners lose their homes, investors jump in and buy them up ...and then investors want to increase the value of what will be an income-generating unit. Investors and realtors and builders are the ones who want Companion Units in single-family areas. It's pretty obvious.

There have been quite a few recent purchases by investors in Gelded Hill. Good action there. And they will all tell you, the money isn't in the rents: it's in the resale value. And the resale value is hyped up with every potential rent dollar they claim can be made...

What I say to the population-scaremongers: don't build it and they can't come. And the realtors, architects, and developers can go back to school and learn to be nurses or teachers. Simple!


Founder Nov. 1, 2010 @ 7:21 p.m.

Reply #19 Another bullseye Reply!

Here is another great question, "Show us on the map where you live and your kids go to school, why aren't you building & adding Density there?"

Another is Since MidCity (and NP in particular), has the highest Crime in SD, why are you suggesting adding more Density to make it worse?

Where do our City Councilmembers live and how much Low and Low/Mod housing is within walking distance to them?

As you said so well, this is nothing more than a Grand Plan to add more Crapola to "our" residential Neighborhoods, while protecting the neighborhoods like Burlingame where many of their $upporters live!

We need to add MORE Density in areas where is little to none to equalize the Density in all parts of San Diego before adding MORE Density to our most impacted parts of San Diego!

BTW: Forget about all the Commissions that have been selected by the Mayor, because he has stuffed them with folks that were chosen because they will support Density in Linear Corridors and reduced Parking requirements!


historymatters Nov. 2, 2010 @ 12:18 a.m.

I dont live in South Park but I have been QUITE concerned about for quite some time. It is one of the ONLY intact neighborhoods still left in SD that hasnt been hit by the hideous lackluster banal condos or even worse "redevelopment" projects which should just be called tenement slums.

I used to even put signs up around South Park warning people this was coming. The truth is the developers are salivating over South Park. It is hands down the cutest andf most authentic neighborhood we;ve got complete w/ shops and all.

I have been warning that it will be a HUGE target of redevelopment dollars. Developers are already buying up houses that are being foreclosed upon in anticipation of this.

we MUST STOP it and I for one would like to help. We need to have South Park officially designated as historic so it cant be touched. Lets brainstorm fast and keep their dirty little hands off this gem!!!!!


historymatters Nov. 2, 2010 @ 12:22 a.m.

I also used to put signs up around South Park prior to 2008 election warning people about Todd Gloria and his overwhelming developer money seen here....


He recently blocked me on both his facebook pages for joining in the discussions about "affordable housing" where Todd congratulates himself constantly because I was posting comments refuting and revealing the TRUTH about affordable housing and how it is nothing more than handing all property tax dollars to private developers to build slums and destroy neighborhoods and be WAY overpaid for it.


historymatters Nov. 2, 2010 @ 12:24 a.m.

Everyone concerned about this contact SOHO. This is SERIOUS and Council will try and sneak these votes in over the Holidays when you guys are not paying attention. Its not too late to take back your neighborhood but you have got to ACT!


Founder Nov. 2, 2010 @ 8:07 a.m.

Without direct action NOW South Park will become another North Park as Bars, Restaurant/Clubs open and squash the Quality of Life that now exists in South Park. I'm not talking about Neighborhood Friendly Business but New Business Owners that will try to attract the NP Bar Crawl Scene to South Park for MONEY.

Want a great example, drive up to Upas St. and 30th sometime (especially between Midnight and 2 A.M. Closing time) and see what Bluefoot has done to that part of North Park or if you want more "thrills" continue up to True North and U-31 (both near 30th & Univ. Ave) and then imagine a few of them opening in South Park! If that happens 30th St. will become the "new" Midway Blvd. or Grand/Garnet of MidCity!


greenisgood Nov. 2, 2010 @ 9:09 a.m.

As a member of the SP community and homeowner. I hope that granny flats are passed. If done in the right way, it can provide a great source of housing for those that don't have the really high incomes to live here. I don't want a neighborhood only for the middle aged and successful. I want my kids to grow up in a place with diversity. Artists and entrepreneurs need need places to live. Density is not the enemy, adding density without a good plan IS.

New bars and restaurants would be better in my opinion. How long are some of these buildings going to be an eyesore? I have been going to the charrettes and find them fairly productive. Improved non-car transportation and better parks are crucial. We can change for the better, without developers taking over everything. But to ignore that some of these buildings would be better served with some investment is narrow minded. Some of the homes could be improved and we would all be better off. Simply saying increased density is a bad thing misses the boat for potential good things in our neighborhood. We don't want strip malls, but do want something better. Is it too much to have discussion about how to achieve that?


Founder Nov. 2, 2010 @ 9:55 a.m.

Reply #25 Reread my #24 post and then cruise NP's Bars & Clubs after Midnight or better yet closer to 2 a.m. and I bet you will not want that happening to South Park, ANYWHERE NEAR WHERE YOU PERSONALLY LIVE!

BYW: Since you have posted for the first time, how long have you lived in South Park and what part of South Park do you reside; is it within walking distance to "some of these buildings would be better served with some investment is narrow minded" so that you yourself, would feel the impacts of these Bars & Clubs at night?

Here is a link for some more good discussion about this issue and how it is affecting NP: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/20...


BlueSouthPark Nov. 2, 2010 @ 11:45 a.m.

25 Your points are sort of incoherent, but feel free to tie them together and explain????

  1. You want more people "that don't have the really high incomes to live here." Among districts citywide, SP and GGH have a population consisting of those with almost the lowest, if not the lowest, median incomes, including owners who live in their properties, and renters.

  2. You "don't want a neighborhood only for the middle aged and successful." If you really do own a home here, you should be happy. There are young families, middle-agers, elderly, and plenty of absentee investor-owners of uncertain age, not to mention lots of renters from all walks of life and age groups. And not a few unsuccessful people who paid too much for a property and have lost it to foreclosure and short sale. Drive around SP and look for those properties. You'll find a good number of the unsuccessful, if that's what you want.

  3. You say "Artists and entrepreneurs need need places to live." If you live here, you should know that artists and entrepreneurs do live here. I'm betting you are one of the entrepreneurs.

  4. You say "New bars and restaurants would be better in my opinion." Better than what? Rental units added to everyone's backyard, or garage conversions? That's the subject here. And SP has new bars...Station Tavern, Alchemy, ...what? You don't like Hamilton's? You want more bars? I don't.

  5. You say "to ignore that some of these buildings would be better served with some investment is narrow minded. Some of the homes could be improved and we would all be better off." What? Invest all you want. You want to improve my house? Come on by and I'll put you to work.

Again, the subject here is the City changing the ordinances so that single-family-zoned neighborhoods are turned into multi-rental areas.

Oh yeah, I think green is good too. But the green I'm thinking of is probably not the green the City, the investors, the restaurant-bar owners, and the realtors are thinking of.


laplayaheritage Nov. 2, 2010 @ 1:31 p.m.

To be fair, everyone in San Diego should be down-zoned including all the rich people living in gated communities surrounded by golf courses and private trails which area zoned Agricultural instead of the Single-Family Residential (SFR) which they are.

The Agricultural Zoning allows for extremely low densities because the open space and golf courses are included in the development project towards the average density per acre.

The City of San Diego Development Services Department has made it clear in many public forums that the City’s Building Permit Department does not have to honor CC&R for privately funded Homeowners Associations, or between neighbors who have private agreements attached to their land on their deeds. If the City's Zoning is allowed, neighbors and HOA can go to small claims court to sue each other. Private agreements are not the City’s problem at least in Point Loma.

A great way to make a point that down-zoning and allowing single-family residential neighborhoods to be turned into mixed used multi-family neighborhoods, is to get the rich to take the first hit by changing their zoning from Agriculture to SFR, and seeing how fast the intimidation stops.

There are many areas which actually want density and new development.


laplayaheritage Nov. 2, 2010 @ 1:52 p.m.

Comments to the draft 7th Land Development Code update are required to be submitted in 3 days on Friday November 5, 2010.

"Please submit comments on the draft 7 th Update amendments via e-mail to [email protected] through November 5, 2010. Comments can also be mailed to the City of San Diego, Development Services Department, 1222 First Avenue, MS 501; San Diego, CA 92101-4155; Attention Amanda Lee, Senior Planner."

Also please not that the City's online Zoning Maps and Municipal Codes website do not work today, which is very unusual.


historymatters Nov. 2, 2010 @ 2:14 p.m.

25 is CLEARLY a developer!!!!!!!! calling any buildings in South Park an eyesore....are you kidding me even the delapidated buildings are amazing. SP has some of SDs oldest buildings. I cant believe they are still there and I hope to God someone acts fast to save them before 25 swoops in w/ his bulldozer to put in his giant eyesores!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


historymatters Nov. 2, 2010 @ 2:18 p.m.

Developers clearly have developed their buzzwords like "artists" and "diversity" and "rapid transit" and "density" and now................ta da....their new favorite word to get us on board "granny flats"!!!!!!....heck they even pretend to be preservationists because they are going to leave us 1 or 2 craftsmans, but their intentions are obvious.

The key there is that they can build a "primary dwelling" and granny flat at the same time....in other words.....condos.


historymatters Nov. 2, 2010 @ 2:26 p.m.

I am seeing a pattern here w/ some of these posters that are posting for the 1st time. I think we along w/ the Reader need to develop a way to identify people that are posing as concerned residents when they are really the special interests that are trying to get things approved by the City.

It seems 1 person can create multiple log-ins and post as a "concerned citizen" as #25 appears to be while really they are the developers.

Reader: can you guys find a way to address this so we can ensure that the discussions are legitimate? Im not saying the special interests dont have the right to comment but they are totally lying about who they are in many of these posting including the piece I wrote on Prop C.


BlueSouthPark Nov. 2, 2010 @ 2:32 p.m.

28 That's right, and thank you for a great point.

Also, what about in expensive SFR neighborhoods, where some large homes are built on two or more abutting parcels, with plenty of landscaping but also room to add buildings? Owners of those homes often apply for permits to build independent living units of more than 700 SF, supposedly for their maids, gardeners, nannies, etc.

But wouldn't the proposed ordinance change allow additional living units, potential rental income-generating units, in these same SFR neighborhoods on the average-parcel size? If so, you'd think that these wealthy SFR owners would fight the ordinance change.

When the City pushes this through with a compliant Council, I'm sure the wealthier SFR-area owners will have lawyers and a plan to exclude their SFR neighborhoods. Most owners in the poorer areas will never know what happened.

Actually, I believe that the City is not really worrying about suburban growth or green-ness or housing demands. I think they are more worried about investment demands. The ULI (our local ULI has a board consisting of friendly, supportive City Planning heads and staff) recently issued a report, "Emerging Trends in Real Estate."


It makes it clear that the downtown suburban neighborhoods targeted for infill are investment opportunities right now (after hotels, of course!):

"investors should “follow where educated, energetic, creative young people want to be.” Inevitably, that path leads to the same group of highly favored metropolitan areas with 24-hour attributes"

Put in the word "infill" in the search tab of the pdf, and click through. You'll get the idea, if this one sentence doesn't say it all. South Park is an investment opportunity for the City. For me, it's a quiet, single-family neighborhood with mainly only permanent residents. And they get pretty quiet around 10 or 11 pm, so they can get up at 6 am and go to work and get the kids to school. No 24-hour "attributes"! Love it that way!


Founder Nov. 2, 2010 @ 3:06 p.m.

Reply #27 - #33 Great posts, now if we can get about 200 folks to demand BETTER from our Planners, we may have a chance!

Mission Hills hired their own Arch. and then they came up with their own Plan*.

All our Mid City areas should work together to promote for each other because together we are much stronger instead of letting the City Planning Dept. separate us and feed US more Density crapola!


Catherine Darragh Nov. 2, 2010 @ 5:09 p.m.

To Founder, history matters, Honest Government and all you bloggers who cram a blog with your numerous posts: you are right! It is my first time to post on The Reader. I am not a Phoblogger. No one paid me to write my comments or to promote spin to disrupt a blog discussion. I wrote to express an opinion that was different from the ones I read. It was to encourage discussion for both views. I have been a homeowner in Ocean Beach for 28 years, so I am familiar with granny flats on single family lots. I wrote the granny flat article on San Diego Issues.I was the chair for the Accessory Dwelling Unit Competition given by Friends of San Diego Architecture in 2005. However, I am not speaking on behalf of FSDA--just for myself, because I have been frustrated with City Council's reluctance to make a workable ordinance. Since 1984 there have been 35 applications filed for companion units--most of them never built. I have never been able to get an answer on how many since 2003. That refutes the concern of overwhelming communities with rentals. ...tradinlady


SurfPuppy619 Nov. 2, 2010 @ 5:25 p.m.

It is my first time to post on The Reader. I am not a Phoblogger. No one paid me to write my comments or to promote spin to disrupt a blog discussion. I wrote to express an opinion that was different from the ones I read.

I LIKE you!


Founder Nov. 2, 2010 @ 6:32 p.m.

Reply #35 and DITTO #36 Welcome tradinlady and thanks for sharing your passion and experience!

I'm sorry for suggesting the "P" word be applied to you and like you, have been active in NP since the mid 80's.

NP got slammed by the allowed removal of single family homes so that a crappy 4 or 6 unit could be built with paved front tandem parking that removed 2 on street parking spaces and that in itself destroyed a large section of NP. OB is lucky that they dodged that bullet and I believe that if we allowed NO new tear downs ,except by special permit, that in 10 years our property values would be many times greater than today as Owners would then restore and repair the existing homes and the entire area would continue to be a charming place to live.

Our City Council has, for the most part, caved in to Developers that support their re-elections and that is the true cause for most of the BLIGHT that has been not only allowed but encouraged by our Decision Makers!


historymatters Nov. 2, 2010 @ 6:33 p.m.

@tradinlady, if granny flats are really the goal and I get what you are saying but the General Plan is being written in language to appeal to someone like you that is genuinely just interested in adding a "granny flat" but the language actually allows condos. That is my point.

We need to get to the heart of what it is we want. I am a Designer and a nearly licensed architect (Masters degree, 3 year internship and 5 of 9 exams successfully completed) so my money does come from "building" however I am extremely conscious of responsible development and development that really protects these neighborhoods.

Im saying, I would love to design a granny flat for someone in South Park however I would only want to do it if the neighborhood was totally protected and the code was written in a way that would give you your granny flat but would not promote or encourage the demolition of these homes because now they are zoned for 2 or more dwelling units.

We MUST be very very conscious of how the city is writing these codes to make sure it really accomplishes the stated goals.


Founder Nov. 3, 2010 @ 8:32 a.m.

Reply #38 Great Post! Now if we could only get about 500 folks to support what you are saying!

As things are now everyone and every neighborhood is so fragmented that the City $MILE$ as we few urge improvements while they bend words and do what they want, ADD Density and reduce our Quality of Life!


HonestGovernment Nov. 3, 2010 @ 1:45 p.m.

35, Thanks for being honest and open. You are appreciated for that. But as far as me or others "cramming" a "blog" (the Reader is a newspaper that allows comments on articles), please think of this:

The Reader is the only paper in town that will report things that the city doesn't want the public to freely weigh in on. The Reader reported this story in a straightforward way, but the city wouldn't talk to the reporter. The Reader comments section allows residents to present data in support of or against an issue. In our comments we may argue for and against issues, issues concerning what we know the city doesn't give a damn what residents want or think, if it isn't in line with the city's goal.

This is the only open forum residents have. After years of writing sincere letters to our councilpersons and being ignored or politely and slickly dismissed, we get it. After taking off work and waiting all day to speak for 3 minutes in council meetings, then being told we only get one minute, we get it. After learning that the city has decided things behind closed doors and after realizing that council votes are decided long before the councilmembers sit down and cast a vote, we get it.

It's great that you are part of very organized and well-established advocacy groups and that you and they have the power to put more pressure on the mayor and the council than small groups of citizens do. But that is your job. You earn a living by being an organization professional. Our jobs are to go to work in labs or offices or schools or whatever.

This is our free chance to report ideas and findings. We don't have the ear of Ann Jarmusch or Roger Showley, or the money to make major enough campaign contributions to mayors and council candidates to get their ears.

Back to the subject of changing the single-family residential code to allow rental units on single parcels: it hasn't been allowed since 2003, thank goodness and thanks to the Dick Murphy city council. (Maybe that's why Murphy wasn't popular with the Republicans and developers!) Anyway, it's likely there haven't been any applications since 2003, right? Because the 2003 code for single parcels in single-family zones didn't allow construction of extra rental units. If it had been allowed, in the huge real estate mess that blew through between 2003 and now, my neighborhood would probably now be quite a bit more crowded with rentals.

You'll probably get what you want, now that you'll have Zapf plus a new council president who will put it on the agenda. Ben Hueso frustrated you, because he didn't want the fight before going to the Assembly. I'm sure you'll now get what you want. It's pretty clear it's open season on the old neighborhoods, and the moving parts are all working in your favor.


Founder Nov. 3, 2010 @ 3:21 p.m.

Reply #40 Another High Quality Post.

Prop D was killed by all the Density will continue to be Dumped...


a2zresource Nov. 3, 2010 @ 5:45 p.m.

I am appreciative that the Reader, as the prime alternative print and other media source of news in San Diego, allows me to mouth off here without pointing a shotgun loaded with rock salt at me. When I try to make a point either in an UNPAID blog post or in a comment to someone else's article or blog post, I also try to include some document or other source so that others can freely decide what kind of damn-fool idiot I am.

I value my reputation at the Reader as somebody who looks for facts and presents them to others. I believe that information serves that part of the public who isn't taken in by snappy one-liners from paid political operatives.

Apparently, the majority of people who paid attention to facts and not just one-liners was able to register their votes for or against Proposition D.

All I want to do is comfort the afflicted by afflicting the comfortable: a prophet once asked us to do that for his sake, and for the sake of the One who sent him.

I've purposely stayed off this thread until now, but as somebody who has placa'd this website often enough in the last two years, I feel the need... the need to screed.


Founder Nov. 3, 2010 @ 6:05 p.m.

Reply #43 As many have told me before, "I'm all ears"...

The On-Line Reader should give "badges" or some other Identification to those like you that post quality info instead of $PIN and hopefully some additional edit and font "tools" would also be great additions...

Hopefully the online Reader will get many additional readers so that they can add to the important discussions that affect us all.

This will be the model for the future of "Local News"...


BlueSouthPark Nov. 4, 2010 @ 9:12 a.m.

25 greenisgood, I don't think you have any immediate worry about artists or anyone finding a place to rent. Although these articles emphasize many things, including my fear, that investors want somewhere to invest right now, and inner city community apartments/multirentals are said to be where the money is, still, there's a pretty stable rental vacancy rate in San Diego and rents aren't rising. No need to throw the small enclaves of near-downtown single-family neighborhoods under the train yet.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/oct/27/vacancies-rates-down-construction-minimal/ "San Diego isn’t the only place that’s suffering a prolonged construction hangover from the go-go years at the beginning of the century. Unlike past slumps, real estate is not poised to drag the economy out of a recessionary funk.

“We really don’t need much new of anything,” said one interviewee in the annual Emerging Trends report, issued by the Urban Land Institute, a Washington think tank."

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/nov/02/apartments-leading-real-estate-recovery/ "In San Diego the local apartment association survey showed a 4.9 percent vacancy rate, compared with 5 percent in January and 5.4 percent in July 2009 Rental rates over the same period have remained relatively unchanged -- $1,192 in July 2009, $1,189 in January, $1,183 in July. ... Robert Pinnegar, executive director of the San Diego County Apartment Association, said even if prospects look better nationally, he is not hearing the same from local owners.

"Where San Diego was the bright spot [in the state] at the beginning of the year, I'm hearing some operators offering rent concessions, giving away rent when leases are due," Pinnegar said."


BlueSouthPark Nov. 4, 2010 @ 9:37 a.m.

25 one more thing: check out these demographics. D3 (which includes South Park) and D8 (which includes Golden Hill) have lower median incomes than D4 (Tony Young's area) and any other districts!

http://profilewarehouse.sandag.org/profiles/est/council3est.pdf D3 median household income: $48.2K

http://profilewarehouse.sandag.org/profiles/est/council8est.pdf D8 median household income: $51.7K

http://profilewarehouse.sandag.org/profiles/est/council4est.pdf D4 median household income: $59.2K

Copy and paste the url and change the district number in the url, to see the other districts. D1, $108.5K D2, $64.7K D5, $99.8K D6, $68.9K D7, $68.8K


greenisgood Nov. 4, 2010 @ 12:47 p.m.

It seems that when someone has a different opinion than some of you, then we are a developer or outsider. I live in SP near Beech and Dale, and have been in SP-NP area for 12 years.

I too do not think that simply allowing multi-units is a good thing. That would be bad. But allowing granny flats is not necessarily a bad thing. If the code is not written correctly, and not enough thought is put into it, then it would be terrible for OUR community (not just yours). We are discussing that other communities have had bad experiences with granny flats. Does that mean we have to make the same mistakes? Is it always a bad idea to increase density? If it is as some of you think "always bad", then there won't be much good productive discussion. I don't think it is always bad. It might be, but I just don't think so.

I think if the granny flat (not garage converstions, or additional units, a true granny flat above a garage (garage must remain garage) could be a great addition to our community. There are ways to make sure developers do not run over us. For expample: no permits for granny flats issued unless the owner lives in the house, and has for a period of time (how much time?). I don't know all the answers. I don't even know if we have the power to stop poorly thought out increased density. But I hope that we try to make sure that investment/development/preservation are balanced.

As far as new bars and restaurants, I like it. I love Hamiltons, Alchemy, Station. So that's it? No more? 1 more? Should we tell the crepe place and wine bar that you think we are saturated? Pack up and tear down your improvements? I live a stones throw from these places. I take the bad with the good! I like knowing people at these places. I guess Im just confused by the anti-locally-owned-business if it happens to be a bar. Help me understand better.

I am a local business owner, not an artist or someone looking for cheap rent. I'm not a developer, and this is my second post. I don't normally post things as there are enough opinions out there. This is important to me as i expect my family to live here for a long time. Hope to see you on Saturday at the Charrette! You can at least get free food while you judge those with different views for the future.


Founder Nov. 4, 2010 @ 5:08 p.m.

Reply #45 & #46 Good facts to add to the conversation!

Be sure to add them to the dialogue and get them in the official Update Record. Also ask why all the "great" comments have not (yet) be posted on the Web for all SP/GH folks to view!


Founder Nov. 4, 2010 @ 5:19 p.m.

Reply #47 I salute your Quality "Growth" ideas but many of US also know that we tend to get flooded by the other end of the building spectrum...

As far as alcohol licenses goes, I suggest that everyone protest all new licenses in order to get enough restrictions to insure that the current and all future Owners will respect the Residents living nearby. NP is now being hammered by those "Late Night" places that close at 2 A.M. because of the rowdy patrons staggering back to their cars afterward. If SP is not careful, 30th street will become the biggest Bar & Club Late Night CRAWL in all of San Diego and that will increase Crime in the entire area! NP is now #1 in violent Crime because and more places only increase "our" stats! I'm not into taking MORE BAD to get some more GOOD, anymore!


a2zresource Nov. 4, 2010 @ 5:26 p.m.

RE "Hopefully the online Reader will get many additional readers so that they can add to the important discussions that affect us all. This will be the model for the future of 'Local News'...":

I hope!

I have no interest in seeing the U-T fail. Instead, it provides me with at least some sense of what's going on, and it is a good day when I find an article in the U-T then do my own Reader blog on the same subject matter a few hours later... except I've added information and links to sources that weren't part of what the U-T section editor saw fit to print. I've never been an intelligence analyst for the government, but the Journalism classes I had under Andrew Makarushka at City College were illuminating... I try to tie facts together, and sometimes I feel some heat for how I've put them together, but I only recall making one correction in the entire time I've blogged here, about exactly how much electricity was being generated by new solar systems being installed at USD. I never heard back after making the correction, so I assume the party was satisfied!

San Diego outside downtown is a patchwork of annexes, Encanto Heights being perhaps the oldest, dating back to the first decade of the twentieth century. Looking east from downtown, things early on pretty much died out past 12th, where one can still find such things as a Chinese laundry in what appears to be a wooden commercial building (haven't gone looking for it lately, so wouldn't be surprised it's not there anymore across the street from City College). By the time one reached 30th and Commercial, all there was beyond that was cemeteries. For a long time, Encanto even further east was referred to as Encanto Station (some cattle grazing here) along the rail line that heads east to Arizona.

If lots in South Park are large enough for granny flats, then that's probably due to the age of initial development there. Here in what I so adoringly refer to Encantostan, we have lots large enough for three additional homes in some cases. Developers looking for a big chunk of undeveloped land are what caused the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA V. SDG&E criminal guilty verdicts in 2007 for sloppy asbestos removal, where the 16-acre Encanto Gas Holder site just inside Lemon Grove became a proposed site for 77 upscale homes that would have immediately caused all existing homes surrounding the development to be considered "blight". The lot is still empty today.

SEDC has already pushed through a plan to oust just about every business along Imperial Avenue in favor of developer-sponsored high-density apartment buildings. Having no jobs except those in the underground economy here in Encantostan between Marketcreek Plaza and Lemon Grove seems to be the goal.

Here in Encantostan, we'd be very, very happy if all we had to worry about was granny flats.


a2zresource Nov. 5, 2010 @ 12:13 a.m.

Here is an alternative view. IF adding one more housing unit will lower all of our water and power utility rates, THEN let it be!

On the other hand, we all know this isn't going to happen, as what has really been happening is that while we use less and less water and power, the rates go up because we did what we were told to do and conserved. This may have more to do with what happened to Proposition D than most high-level politicos ever thought.

I admit there isn't a whole lot we can do about the water bill (especially since Lemon Grove started putting up asphalt diversion berms to restrict storm runoff flowing into Chollas Creek), but I'm going totally off-grid solar, and I hope to be generating enough on my own that I can just give it away to my ENCANTO GAS HOLDER VICTIMS V. SDG&E plaintiff neighbors, invoking the electrical cooperative sections of the California Public Utilities Code. If I can continue to add another solar panel from Harbor Freight every month or so, I'll be in the 1.5-3 kilowatt range in two years or so, right around the time all of the rest of you start seeing SDG&E "PeakShift at Home" rate hikes on your electric bills.

The other advantage is that when the grid goes down, my refrigerator will still work. Gotta have my ice cream sandwiches, or it's just not living in civilization.


Founder Nov. 5, 2010 @ 7:33 a.m.

Reply #51 Our County and Local Leaders should be investing in Local Power (and I don't mean their's) like salt water desalinization, additional water storage and shifting as many of our lights to energy saving and or Solar as possible! The NP-LLMD ( now NP-MAD) installed the first Solar powered Streetlights in CA and some of them can be seen just N. of El Cajon Blvd. on the W. side of I-805...


Your quote about ice cream sandwiches made me think of a similar quote someone wrote a long time ago in the wet concrete of a sidewalk in Wash. DC:

Without Ice Cream Life Is Meaningless


BlueSouthPark Nov. 5, 2010 @ 12:24 p.m.

Yaay for ice cream! Right on a2z. And yaay Founder: right-o boo for more bars. We have enough. I love crepes, too, and the wine bar is ok by me because it closes at 10 or 11. Bars in the middle of residential areas should all close at 10 or 11.

I do support my local businesses as much as possible, IF they sell what I need at a price I can pay.

I'm not quite getting greenisgood: seems to be suggesting that if a business located in a quiet, mostly single family zone can't make it without more customers, then the business owner should hop on the bandwagon with the city in promoting a change to the land use code to create a bigger customer base.

Good way to get your business on a boycott list.


Founder Nov. 5, 2010 @ 1:38 p.m.

Reply #53 All your points are "food for thought"

A number of folks in North Park are starting to promote "Neighborhood Friendly Businesses" ones that validate for their customers and encourage their employees to respect their Residential Neighbor parking and Quality of Life!

In short those that believe in the Golden Rule and treat others like they would like to be treated, instead of just going for their own Gold!


a2zresource Nov. 5, 2010 @ 1:40 p.m.

Yes, their investment in city-wide programs that will reduce our need for imported water is good... but cautious people may see a need to purify their own water as an emergency necessity, just as some of us living where the winds blow hot and dry are now aware that it's good to have alternate sources of electrical power, hopefully ones that won't kill the family budget by needing to fill up the generator.


Founder Nov. 5, 2010 @ 6:42 p.m.

Reply #55 Great comments all!

Those that can function on their own will become the "NEW" PROFESSIONALS...

Advanced Jerry-rigging etc...


nostalgic Nov. 7, 2010 @ 5:18 a.m.

To get back to the topic, granny flats are rental units with no parking spaces to go with them. There may be other code requirements that disappear from the granny flat equation? If you think there isn't enough on-street parking now, wait until 4 people with cars move into that rental granny flat.


Founder Nov. 7, 2010 @ 8:59 a.m.

Reply #57 I'm with you 100%! Even if they require the Owner still live in the "original" house to build the "Granny" flat (sounds so cozy), what happens a year down the road when the Owners decides to sell and move out or just move out?

Bet you a donut that the new owner will apply for separate condo type deeds so that each can now be sold independently!

I'd raise the minimum lot size to 10,000 sq. Ft. and that would stop the infill Density in it's tracts! I'd also never allow "in-lieu" parking fees where developers that cannot provide parking pay a fee to the City to avoid providing any parking; this is another Urban Myth, that these funds will help provide additional parking (location unknown) sometime in the future but they do nothing to cure the parking problems these developers create! The Mayor is stuffing the Parking Advisory Board (PAD) with folks that believe that we all need less on street parking because we will all use mass transit but these same folks all have their own off street parking or garages and live in non impacted neighborhoods, so this is just more NIMBY talking by our decision makers!

Next time you are at a Public meeting stand up and ask for a show of hands of all the folks that did not drive to the meeting...


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