Community council to vote on vision for development in the College Area

Plan calls for more density, development of a ‘campus town’ and preservation of single-family areas.

SAN DIEGO — A community group will decide Wednesday whether to approve a report that proposes a vision for growth and development in the College Area.


The report calls for mixed-use development that allows for the creation of a “campus town” while preserving the integrity of the residential areas.


Members of the College Area Community Council, an organization that discusses community issues, will vote whether to approve the 40-page report and forward it to the city’s Planning Department.


The “College Area Community Plan Update Report” proposes several visions for the area, which includes single-family homes and San Diego State University. The council’s community plan update steering committee was tasked with the project.


The College Area’s current community plan was adopted in 1989.


The growth of San Diego State University over the years has led some residents to raise concerns about mini-dorms, parties, trash and scarce parking.


Julie Hamilton, a resident and member of the committee, said the report is reflective of the community and recognizes the need for additional housing in the area.


Hamilton, a land use and real estate attorney, said she does not know if the community plan update report will be controversial but anytime anyone suggests increasing density, there is potential for controversy.


“We have worked hard to accommodate the concerns of people in the neighborhood,” Hamilton said. “We want this to be a plan for everybody, not just for a few who decided they would get together to work on this.”


Last year, the committee hosted a community meeting with more than 90 people in attendance to present ideas for the community plan update and receive community feedback.


The community update report calls for the development of three “nodes” that would cater to the needs of residents, business owners and students. These so-called “nodes” would potentially offer different opportunities to all members of the community.


“With San Diego State University as an economic and cultural anchor, the College Area has the potential to redevelop around several nodes to enhance the quality of life for both residents and students,” the report reads.


One node is identified in the report on the intersection of El Cajon Boulevard and Montezuma Road. The proposal for this area is for mixed-use buildings, restaurants and green areas to encourage foot traffic.


South of that, the second node proposes family-centric development at the intersection of College Avenue and El Cajon Boulevard. That includes encouraging housing for middle-income families, seniors and faculty from SDSU.


“The large businesses already there are geared to serve family needs,” the report reads.


“With careful design, the area could fit a one-acre park with children’s play areas.”


The third, at the intersection of College Avenue and Montezuma Road, identifies the opportunity for development of mixed-use buildings with coffee shops, bars, restaurants and other commercial uses, which would encourage the development of a “campus town.”


The community update report was completed by in part by students enrolled in a SDSU master’s in city planning studio class taught by professor Bruce Appleyard and interns hired by the community council Daniell Shirazi and Richard Xie.


Article by: The San Diego Union Tribune | 11/12/2019



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