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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

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nostalgic Jan. 17, 2012 @ 12:45 p.m.

A lot of the money from these special assessments stays in an office somewhere - not much gets out there trimming trees and none can be used for private property (or should be). The house that has never been painted sits behind $1,000 worth of flower pots that contain straggly flowers watered at your expense. Be careful.


Dennis Jan. 18, 2012 @ 12:46 p.m.

"But the neighborhood is in the midst of a makeover." Sounds more like a "takeover" by the developers.


InOmbra Jan. 18, 2012 @ 7:07 p.m.

Probably most of the people who would like to exploit Barrio Logan are at the Urban Land Institute's mayoral forum tonight. Follow the money.


Fred Williams Jan. 18, 2012 @ 10:52 p.m.

Some very familiar names...the same ones who are connected with previous notorious frauds in San Diego.

Now they're preying on Barrio Logan.

How much do you want to bet that the "stakeholders" soon will both out-number and out-influence the residents, who will lose their homes as yet another "redevelopment" scam is aided and abetted by the corrupt cabal downtown.

My only hope is Councilman David Alvarez, who seems to have a firm grasp of how this will turn out for his constituents. Can he fight this swarm of parasites who want to chew up and defecate on yet another part of San Diego?


InOmbra Jan. 19, 2012 @ 10:27 a.m.

Fred, it'll be hard for Alvarez to stand up to the people who look to profit in the next decade from real estate and development. They've got money, lobbyists, and connections to the ruling downtown developer class, inside and outside City Hall.

Some of the long-time family-business-land owners in Barrio Logan have genuine concerns about keeping their businesses in place, and may oppose rezoning to stricter residential specs. But to a more powerful, newer group, the historical identity and roots of Barrio Logan mean nothing more than a concept to exploit (and gentrify) and market. They'll resist restrictions on commercial zoning in the CPU, until they sell their commercial properties at jacked-up prices to high-end condo developers.

One recently formed 501c, Barrio Logan Smart Growth Coalition, is where to start studying the takeover group: dynamodata.fdncenter.org/990_pdf_archive/263/263773376/263773376_200912_990EO.pdf Note the money listed as contributions, gifts, grants... (by whom?) and how it was spent.

Unnamed entities tied to those named on the 990 form include Mitchell Investments and R&H properties. R&H owns and has a current listing for 1841 National (0.3 acres, 5500 sq ft warehouse)for $1.4 mill. You can get a better deal in Point Loma. At that price, a developer-buyer would want to build higher end condos, ya think?


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