On Friday, September 6, 2013 I received a letter from the group, Maritime Industry of San Diego, requesting specific changes to the Barrio Logan Community Plan Update (Plan Update). A copy of their letter is attached. This memorandum responds to the requests detailed in the letter and recommends the Planning & Neighborhood Restoration Department consider a revision to the staff recommendation of Scenario 1.
As you are aware, the Barrio Logan Community Plan was adopted in 1978 and has not been updated since. Under your staff's leadership, the City formed a 33-member Barrio Logan Plan Update Stakeholder Committee in 2007 consisting of 25 voting members and 8 ex-officio non-voting members. The Committee met regularly from 2008-2012, ultimately voting 16 in favor of Scenario 1 and 6 in favor of Scenario 2.
Since assuming office my staff and I have held nearly 50 meetings with various stakehold_ers, and fielded many more phone calls and email responses on this topic. To say that the public was thoroughly consulted and involved in the Plan Update would be an understatement, given the amount of energy and work you and your department have put in to the process.
In addition to these efforts, I directed a staff member to meet with representatives of the Maritime Industry Group last week. As detailed in their September 6 letter, the group presents two changes to the Plan Update:
1. Prohibit the establishment of sensitive receptors, as defined in the City of San Diego General Plan, between Harbor Drive, Newton Avenue, Evans Street and 28th Street
2. Zone the area between Harbor Drive, Newton Avenue, Evans Street and 28th Street CO-2-2 and make Maritime Industry and Maritime Related Uses permitted by right
The group further asks for the designation of a specific parcel (3202 Main Street). To this point, I have received no information that would cause me to recommend any changes to the parcel. I have reviewed the Planning Commission meeting of July 11, 2013 and it appeared that the property owner reached some level of comfort with the designation of heavy commercial. In any event, I understand the property owner has requested a letter from your Department to clarify the current classification of the property, and I would be interested in seeing that classification. However, as of now I have no recommendations for any changes to that parcel from what is described in Scenario 1.
The Maritime Industry Group's first request is to remove 'sensitive receptors' from approximately five blocks that lie most directly between the medium-density residential area to the northeast of the community and the shipyards to the southwest on Port of San Diego tidelands. The Group has explained this request in letters, phone calls, and in 15 personal meetings, as a desire to prevent residential users from encroaching on the shipyards, separate incompatible uses, and provide a greater buffer between the shipyards and the closest residential area of the community.
I agree with the rationale for this type of approach. Removing residential uses from the Neighborhood Commercial area in Scenario 1 would protect both areas from encroachment. I understand that the environmental documents include analysis for the higher impacts of residential permitted in this area. Thus, removing the uses should lower the impacts discussed and not require any recirculation of the Environmental Impact Report or related documents. If you believe this reasoning to be in error, please inform my office.
The Barrio Logan Plan Update Stakeholder Committee worked for many years to develop a plan to benefit the community. I do not suggest this change lightly, but recommend it because I think the greater buffer area accomplishes the policy goals stated by the Committee and listed in your staff's documentation. I also understand the revision can be made without changing the underlying zoning agreed to by the Committee.
Unfortunately, I cannot recommend the Maritime Industry Group's second request. The very rationale supporting the larger buffer and removal of residential uses, militates against allowing Marine Related Uses or Marine Industry on those same parcels.
It is also important to consider the Stakeholder Committee's efforts in this area. Changing the zoning this drastically at this late date, and in strong contravention of the Committee's efforts, would seem to send an inappropriate message to the dozens of representatives that met dutifully for years to bring this Plan Update forward.
I support our strong maritime heritage and I am working hard for a bright future for our working waterfront, our military partners, and our bayfront communities. I look forward to your presentation of the Plan Update on September 17.
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