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Stories by Sheila Pell

Granny flat subsidies may not work – look at Encinitas

Gaspar says work on middle-income housing instead

San Diego isn't waiting around for proof that granny flats can fly. The state requires the county to add 171,688 housing units over the next decade, and small cottages can quickly tap infill in idle ...

No new North County sprawl has its consequences

Now you will have to drive down from Riverside

Where are the high paying jobs cropping up in San Diego? North County. And where are many of the big sprawl housing projects proposed? North County. The "two simple numbers" that really count in that ...

La Mesa approves 5G amid dissent

Radio frequency and the back-alley look

It's La Mesa's turn to tackle 5G, which might as well be the I-5 coming down their street, as some residents see it. To build the network, AT&T, Verizon and Crown Castle want quick and ...

Del Mar puts off sea rise plan

Not ready to move 600 homes inland

As Del Mar sees it, they've worked tirelessly to amend their local coastal plan to account for sea rise. Flooding, beach loss, and coastal bluff erosion were all considered, and the adaptation plan put into ...

Angelo's Towing contract to be tested by El Cajon

Michigan history looms in San Diego

Tow companies covet a spot on a city's police tow rotation list. The customers are always there. When a car is in an accident, a driver arrested, or registration has lapsed, it's often the police ...

Del Mar, Solana Beach fret over San Onofre

How long will those cannisters be here?

San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station may be retired, but to many area residents, it's a sleeping giant. In July, it stirred. That's when its operator, Southern California Edison, was allowed to resume loading spent nuclear ...

What's keeping Barrio Logan awake at night?

45 trolley trains, for one

In Barrio Logan, it's hard to know who to call when loud noises disrupt sleep. "Enforcement is always difficult but the first line of defense would be code enforcement at the City of San Diego," ...

Imperial Beach passes complete public sleeping ban

Paved and unpaved surfaces off limits

Imperial Beach has banned camping or sleeping in public with an ordinance that reaches into every last corner, from pavement to median, "including but not limited to dirt or landscaped areas." The new law prohibits ...

National City passes toughest law on selling pets

Leverage "to go after Santee and Escondido"

National City passed an ordinance on September 3 to tighten a state law that requires pet stores to obtain all dogs, cats, and rabbits they sell from shelters or rescues. The ordinance will be the ...

Maybe Coronado will become a beacon of tiny houses

How they will add 1000 homes without high-rises

Coronado, one of the county's smallest cities, can't see how it will ever meet its share of the region's housing goals. Home to two large Navy bases, the land-locked, built-out, high-priced city was allocated 1,000 ...

Siesta RV Park in Imperial Beach shuts down

Condos in the future?

One of the last affordable housing niches along Palm Avenue in Imperial Beach is closing. Those living at Siesta RV, Trailer and Mobile Home Park are mostly low income, elderly, living on fixed incomes. Where ...

County supervisors face heat on 5G rules

They claim FCC ties their hands

On August 7, after months of meetings and tinkering with different plans for 5G regulations, county supervisors chose a path. The new rules will guide the placement of next generation technology in the unincorporated areas, ...

San Diego steams ahead with 5G installation

Trees may have to be removed

Last Tuesday, July 23, the San Diego City Council heard from critics, loud and clear, before voting to approve 5G guidelines. While the city touts its stealth designs, techno-blight isn't the only thing opponents care ...

Don't say retreat when talking about sea rise in California

Imperial Beach and Del Mar have taken that word off the table

Who knew back in 1977, when the Coastal Act was passed, that the sea would rise so quickly? Now, cities and the agency formed to protect the coastline, must deal with it - and with ...

Do Del Mar fair and racetrack workers count in state housing mandates?

The Scream Zone Scare actors are gone

Time is ticking, deadlines loom. Del Mar needed affordable housing yesterday, and they will need it tomorrow. The city has until 2021 to fulfill their low-income housing allocation for the current housing element. That's 12 ...

How China's National Sword policy affects San Diego recycling

Styrofoam cups included but not foam packing peanuts

The city of San Diego has approved two new curbside recycling contracts, and they come with a twist. In 2017, recycling brought in four million dollars. The following year, three million. This year it's down ...

Leucadia – funky no more

La Costa Ave. time capsule, changing Hwy. 101, insults to hippies, battle over stairway, a eucalyptus logger

La Costa Ave. missing time capsule found In the 1970s, Encinitas sheriff’s deputies would make the Leucadia rest area one of their first stops in their morning patrols, to kick out squatting hippies and camping ...

In time for summer, Imperial Beach sets rules for sidewalk vendors

Is anywhere off limits?

Summer means sidewalk sales. And now, starting this summer, even more sidewalk sales. In January, a state law took effect that makes it easier for street vendors, whether stationary or roaming, to hawk everything from ...

Will San Diego aquaculture bring back abalone?

Coastkeeper and local fishermen cast a wary eye

Port officials looking to expand local aquaculture heard some good news this month. A two-year project by federal scientists that mapped the potential for aquaculture in the U.S. found ample promise in San Diego. And ...

Seawall policy outdated says Coastal Commission

Encinitas and Solana Beach homes challenge rules

Even where public safety may be at risk, seawall applicants are in for a fight. Armoring the coast has become the equivalent of overprescribing antibiotics. "It's gonna get ugly," said Maricela Morales of the California ...

Dockless bikes and scooters in San Diego get new rules in June

3 mph on Embarcadero, geofencing on Mission Beach boardwalk, and the 4X40 rule

It's not all coasting as San Diego works out new rules for dockless rides. The city has to balance climate action goals with the needs of citizens who feel they've been pushed off the sidewalk ...

San Diego pot producers challenged by rivals

Urbn Leaf goes after Golden State Greens

As cannabis facilities grow, so does the traffic around them. Emissions increase, air quality degrades. Yet the San Diego City Council is ignoring those environmental impacts. That’s what several appeals of permits for three new ...

Border dirty water suits inch forward

Tijuana deficiencies laid at feet of agencies

What happens when toxic wastewater escapes cleansing, crosses an international border, picks up more pollutants, dodges treatment again, and finds its way onto beaches? Lawsuits. After decades of spills, of human and environmental health threats, ...

San Diego builds itself into danger

254,400 housing units in brushy, steep, and hard to reach places

According to a new report, San Diego is among the five California counties that have the most homes in high fire risk zones. The county has 254,400 housing units in brushy, steep, and hard to ...

San Diego charter backers lose

City staff mistake stands

On June 19, the San Diego City Council took on a staff error made in 2015 that limited the growth of schools, assembly, entertainment, and religious uses. That code change has been hard on charter ...

IB wavers on pot

Only one dispensary? 600 or 900 feet from schools?

Smoking lounges, neighborhood grows, and pot dispensaries won't go on the ballot in Imperial Beach, but where exactly will they go? Anywhere? On April 27, a judge upheld the city's decision to deny a petition ...

10 bedrooms with their own bathrooms and closets — in National City

Don't need picket fence

The lot is irregular, and so is the proposed housing model; developers see it as lemons to lemonade. Neighbors and some National City planning commissioners, however, see the four-unit communal living style project as a ...

Escondido's elderly deal with San Francisco's slick

Alarm-permit fee collectors raise ire of son

In 2004 Escondido passed an ordinance to charge an annual fee to register burglar alarms. When the program rolled out, affecting both homes and businesses, alarm owners were confused and frustrated by questions about their ...

Rec pot grapple in Del Mar

"It's time for us to get with the 21st Century."

On January 1, when recreational pot became legal in California, so did its sale and consumption at county fairgrounds, where businesses can host events such as festivals. But first come the permits, and that's not ...

Composters emerge from the shadows

Longtime trash-haulers say they’re concerned about city revenues declining

It's a rule that small composters love, trash haulers dread, and the city can live with. On December 7, the City of San Diego’s Environment Committee voted in favor of a code change that will ...

Mobile-home owner sees water bill jump

Carefree Rancher's quixotic quest to find out what's with the doubled cost

It's one of those fuzzy numbers on a utility bill; in this case, a water-sevice fee charged by Carefree Ranch Mobile Home Park in Escondido, where 77 of its 185 spaces fall under the city's ...

Escondido library to be run by Maryland company

Critic notes contract increases annually; council votes to save money

On October 18th, dozens of Escondido residents rallied one last time to keep their public library from being outsourced to an East Coast company. The library belongs to the community, they told the city council; ...

No granny flats over garages, Coronado

City introduces prohibitive rules to renting out carriage houses

Under state laws meant to boost the housing supply, cities are revamping their codes to make way for accessory dwelling units: granny flats. They're also finding ways to restrict them, as some Coronado residents argued ...

Imperial Beach welcomes LimeBike tentatively

"Who takes care of that situation, if they're blocking sidewalks?"

As other beach areas shed their bikesharing stations, with 15 to be removed this week, Imperial Beach is paving ground for the new wave; dockless. On September 6, the Imperial Beach City Council passed a ...

National City puts Perry Ford under "green" spotlight

Push is on for dealership's chemical-use details in toxic territory

Over the next two weeks, the National City Council will make a list. A green list. It will include, among other conditions, the "certified biodegradable" products Perry Ford can use at its auto shop across ...

Lemon Grove pot shops stymied by small family daycares

You can't just Google them

Last November, Lemon Grove voters passed a measure that repeals a ban on medical marijuana dispensaries. Supporters saw it as a big step forward, but now some say there's a flaw in the rules. On ...

Escondido mobile home owners push back against $7 rent increase

The dreaded long form

The rent hikes are small but steady. Escondido's mobilehome rent control ordinance protects seniors and disabled residents from steep monthly increases; not the $10 kind. However small, a routine bump in space rent can be ...

National City — in reversal — moves closer to sanctuary city

Opens services to all immigrants and restricts police

On Jun. 19, the National City Council voted unanimously to adopt a Compassionate City resolution in support of its immigrants. While no one opposed the designation, the special meeting was a re-hearing on the issue ...

Lawsuit targets Del Mar's short-term rental ban

Environmental review needed.

Everything is special in the coastal zone: surf, views, and land-use rules. Among the rules are ones that protect everyone's access to the beach. Those rules are being violated by the city of Del Mar's ...

Escondido says no cell towers in your front yard — unless you live on a street like Citracado

Ben Hueso carries water for wireless guys

Like other cities, Escondido is planning for the mass deployment of fifth generation technology. As both officials and carriers see it, it's time to make the permit process for the "small cells" that can accommodate ...

Coronado to reduce bike fines, give more tickets

Right now running a red costs nearly $500

Coronado wants to make bicycling safer by issuing more affordable tickets, and more of them. An ordinance introduced by the City Council on May 16 would reduce fines for 38 minor violations of state and ...