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Stories by Sheila Pell

The right mountain in East San Diego County to plant that wind turbine

Where's the best place for renewable energy? Many backcountry locals think San Diego rooftops would be ideal. The county, however, is eyeing the wide open spaces of the desert. Out where bighorn sheep roam, the ...

The pepper tree fight of Kensington

A battle to save 35 stately old pepper trees, the last to frame the streets of Kensington, is far from over. It's already too late for Karla, a centurion located at 4190 Monroe Street - ...

January 26, 2021
San Diego parks open for business

City parks will temporarily make room for certain brick and mortar businesses to carry on outdoors - against Gov. Gavin Newsom’s regional stay-at-home order. The San Diego City Council passed an emergency ordinance last week ...

January 19, 2021
The danger of those quiet train engines on the Del Mar rails

The North County Transit District held off on plans to install the Del Mar portion of its rail corridor fencing last fall due to intense opposition, but as the year begins, the waiting is over. ...

January 12, 2021
El Cajon considers, then rejects free air purifiers

How to fight the virus in the year ahead? A post-holiday surge of cases is expected, and getting most people vaccinated will take more than a few months. Any tool that might help slow the ...

December 29, 2020
Last gasp for Famosa Slough

A favorite splash of open space in Point Loma is still being fought over. Every step towards creating affordable rental housing on the five-acre lot on the southeast corner of Nimitz and Famosa Boulevards has ...

The Cohn Restaurant ferris wheel

A petition opposing a temporary ferris wheel in Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama has more than 2,600 signatures and counting. The city still has to approve the installation, which the Balboa Park committee voted 7-1 ...

December 15, 2020
Mission Beach to get 30% short-term rentals

It's finally the homestretch for vacation rentals. After years of a Wild West that pits neighbors against neighbors and the remote investors they say are turning homes into hotels, rules have taken shape. The San ...

December 8, 2020
Can Mitsubishi get enough electric trucks for cement warehouse?

A plan to build a massive new warehouse on the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal has reignited the fight over truck pollution in Barrio Logan. If approved by port commissioners on December 8, the Mitsubishi Cement ...

December 1, 2020
How the lockdown has changed National City crime

A mid-year crime report for National City includes a new type of service call. Since March, about 225 calls to police were made under the new code for things like neighbors not wearing face masks ...

November 24, 2020
Bike paths in North Park full speed ahead

In July, as the pandemic raged, the city waived fees and made it a lot easier for restaurants to obtain a permit for outdoor dining. Many in North Park quickly set up tables on sidewalks ...

November 17, 2020
So much for San Diego streamlined granny flats

San Diego's plans to boost affordable housing include an abundance of granny flats. To that end the city has been overhauling the rules, most recently by dropping all parking requirements for granny flats and allowing ...

November 10, 2020
San Diego County supervisors agree on conservation plan for North County

A draft plan to preserve thousands of acres of natural habitat in North County was unanimously approved by supervisors last week, but changes were called for. The San Diego Multi-Species Conservation Plan aims to balance ...

Paxton adobe house in Escondido threatened

A decision to tear down the historic adobe Paxton house in Escondido has no plan B. And the city needs the 42 condo units that will take its place. But the house, most recently known ...

October 27, 2020
State density rules squeezing Del Mar into a corner

The city of Del Mar passed a key zoning amendment on October 19 that helps it comply with state housing laws, but it's too little, too late for the developer of the lots, who will ...

October 20, 2020
Some granny flats in San Diego can rent short-term, others can't

Regulations proposed for vacation rentals makes scant mention of accessory dwelling units, even though their numbers have surged under new state and local laws meant to boost housing. So how will they figure in? It ...

October 13, 2020
The 101 Ash Street morass

The city has stopped paying rent on 101 Ash St., but the asbestos-riddled building has sat empty for months, posing a new problem. Vacant buildings are at high risk of vandalism, fire and theft. And ...

Good-bye, easy walking to Del Mar beach

There's only one place to cross the railway legally to get to the beach in Del Mar. But instead of adding more safe crossings, transit officials want to add 1.4 miles of fencing along the ...

September 28, 2020
Cisterra to build 241 units on G Street, downtown San Diego

A mixed-use project approved by the planning commission on Thursday will fill some gaps in downtown's East Village. But in some ways, the modern 9G tower resembles an earlier era. 241 new dwelling units in ...

Port District has no obligation to downtown San Diego

If there's one thing communities around San Diego Bay agree on, it's hotels. They are view-killers, pedestrian blockers, tourist malls. Yet the Port wants more. When the San Diego Unified Port District, which oversees the ...

San Diego County to public pool visitors: not yet

A casual dip at a city pool now takes planning, a reservation, and willingness to arrive in a bathing suit. When it comes to re-opening pools, San Diego has its toes in the water, but ...

Bay Park resists infilling

If developers want to build small urban infill projects to patch housing gaps, great. But there's no guarantee it will fly. And it may take longer than the "expedite" program for such housing suggests. On ...

El Cajon zones for tiny houses

To some, tiny houses are impractical. But when it comes to a quick way to put roofs over heads in a pandemic, small is beautiful. As zoning codes catch up with reality, tiny houses are ...

August 18, 2020
National City – still up and coming

National City – a Mayor Daley-type political machine To the south of San Diego, within range of the shadows cast by the Coronado Bridge, lies National City. Frequently described as the “backlot" of San Diego, ...

Imagine a pedestrian-friendly Kearny Mesa

The updated community plan for Kearny Mesa includes more than 40 miles of bikeways and numerous paths for pedestrians – but rezoning for the sake of selling cars? Not this time around. As a 30-year ...

August 11, 2020
Olive Street pocket park weathers appeal by adjacent home owner

An appeal of the environmental determination for the Olive Street park in the uptown area was defeated by a unanimous vote of the San Diego City Council last Tuesday. City staff had determined that the ...

August 4, 2020
La Costa 48 survives appeal

A 48-lot housing project perched over an impaired lagoon has survived an appeal to the Coastal Commission. The "La Costa 48," to be built just west of I-5 along La Costa Ave in Encinitas, would ...

July 28, 2020
Stop the selfies at La Jolla Cove

It's sea lion pupping season at La Jolla Cove, right alongside beach re-openings and the human haul out – and social distancing isn't working too well. At least not between humans and pinnipeds. Ellen Shively, ...

July 21, 2020
Essential views in Del Mar

To keep Del Mar's essential services going amid the pandemic, the city proposed a pause on tree and view complaints through June 30, 2021. It didn't go well. To many residents, defending a scenic view ...

July 14, 2020
Spotty internet makes it hard to stay at home in Descanso

In Descanso, 40 miles east of San Diego in the foothills of the Cuyamaca Mountains, internet service is iffy, patchy - and pricey. Residents don't see that changing any time soon. The 5G battles being ...

Imperial Beach, town without pretense

Complete public sleeping ban 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." ...

Forget bike lanes or sidewalks in rural San Diego County

Tomorrow, July 1, a new state law aimed at curbing vehicle emissions takes effect, and the county must change the way it reviews development impacts. Nowhere does it matter more than in the rural areas. ...

June 30, 2020
Will lower fines encourage fare skipping on buses and trolley?

Almost 66 percent of San Diego transit riders are low income. And living on the edge can mean a $75 ticket for a missed fare will go unpaid, sending a simple violation to a criminal ...

June 23, 2020
Del Mar pioneers drone rules

A new ordinance regulating the use of drones in Del Mar will take effect on June 17. The rules will "add to guidelines set by the FAA," a city report says. While the Federal Aviation ...

June 16, 2020
How to fill empty space between Chula Vista and Jamul

As developers see it, Adara is a transitional village, filling empty space between urban Chula Vista and rural Jamul with badly needed housing. The county board of supervisors approved the project a year ago, but ...

Will California let home owners save the beach?

All along the coast, cliffs are eroding more rapidly due to sea rise. Last August, a sunny day and crowded beach made for the worst outcome when a 30-foot-wide slab of sandstone bluff collapsed onto ...

It's back – Lilac Hills near Valley Center

It wasn't on the county planning commission's May 15 agenda, but Lilac Hills Ranch, a proposed subdivision near rural Valley Center, came up - just like it keeps coming back. The county had given the ...

A train tunnel to L.A. under UTC

Instead of widening I-5, widen the options for transit. That was the idea behind a lawsuit in 2013 that claimed the proposed freeway expansion between La Jolla and Oceanside would lead to “an enormous surge ...

Rednecks of East County, welcome back to Coronado

Coronavirus has taken a huge bite out of Coronado's tourism income. Hotel stays have plummeted. Restaurants and spas sit empty. Employees are out of work. Now, the town that hasn't always welcomed leisure visitors needs ...

No summer classroom teaching at city colleges, fall is online

In late March when Mesa college shut down under the statewide stay-at-home order, there was only one way to close. "We all left campus like the place was on fire," said president Pamela Luster in ...

Encinitas and San Diego grapple with styrofoam

As restaurants shift from dining in to takeout and delivery, coastal cities face a more insidious sea change: plastic. Encinitas is moving ahead with the last phase of its plastics initiative, this one banning the ...

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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