Rescue Hillcrest - Community Organization in San Diego, California

Rescue Hillcrest Goals

1. Maintain height limits of 50' without review and 65' pending review or lower for all of Hillcrest. [read more]
2. Preserve existing densities and reject any density allowance above 44 dwelling units per acre. [read more]
3. Reject "density bonuses" or "incentive zoning" or other ways to cut loopholes in the final Community Plan. [read more]
4. Establish a Hillcrest historic district and keep historic preservation oversight with the City. [read more]
5. Request the City alone develop the Normal Street Linear Park as open public park land. [read more]

 

Maintain height limits
Image: City of San Diego

1. Maintain height limits of 50' without review and 65' pending review or lower for all of Hillcrest.

More than any other consideration, limits on height are what can best protect the quality of life in Hillcrest, both for maintaining scale and affordability. Anyone walking through our neighborhood can see that the existing structures are all, with a handful of exceptions, between one and three stories. So contrary to critics who claim these limits are "zero growth," they in fact permit buildings five and six stories tall--double what is on the ground now. Also, height limits of 50' and 65' mean that wood frame construction, the least expensive, can still be used. This helps ensure affordable housing. Higher buildings structurally require concrete and steel, which automatically prices them out of range.
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Preserve existing densities
Image: City of San Diego

2. Preserve existing densities and reject any density allowance above 44 dwelling units per acre.

Density is more complex to define that height. Residential density is different than commercial and mixed use. There can be a productive discussion about what works best in which situation (mixed use versus residential, traffic corridor versus quiet street). But rejecting any density allowance above 44 dwelling units per acre will best prevent buildings with jail-sized work or unlivable spaces in any situation.
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Reject density bonuses or incentive zoning
Image: City of San Diego

3. Reject "density bonuses" or "incentive zoning" or other ways to cut loopholes in the final Community Plan.

The Community Plan is supposed to be the definite and clear-cut resource for what can and cannot be done with land use, mobility, urban design, public safety, recreation, conservation, noise, and historic preservation. Among other reasons, this is so everyone is working from the same playbook without worrying about costly surprises. Schemes such as density bonuses and incentive zoning allow big developers to "pay for play" to get out of restrictions others have to follow, and leaves the decision whether to allow exceptions up to the whim of the City planners.
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Establish a Hillcrest historic district
Image: City of San Diego

4. Establish a Hillcrest historic district and keep historic designation and preservation oversight with the City.

The creation of a historic district for Hillcrest was originally proposed in 1981, and was outlined with great clarity in the new draft Community Plan. Further, the City completed a 918-page draft Uptown Historic Resources Survey last November which made commendable and specific suggestions for preservation. However, there are private groups that want historic preservation, including a historic district, taken out of the Community Plan entirely. Instead, they want the City hand over the authority to decide by themselves alone whether anything is historical. This would be an unacceptable surrender of public oversight.
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Request the City alone develop the Normal Street Linear Park
Image: Hillquest.com

5. Request the City alone develop the Normal Street Linear Park as open public park land.

Since at least 1988, the City has recommended the 1.60 acres of paved medians and right-of-way the length of Normal Street be developed into a public park. There is no other potential park land available for residents of Hillcrest, as the only other area identified as a possibility in the draft Community Plan is for a "pocket park" on the old Pernicanos site. This majestic space has the potential to be the envy of the region--which is why it needs to be developed by the City and kept out of private hands interested in its commercial value.
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Rescue Hillcrest - Community Organization in San Diego, California