'Civic San Diego' Provides City with Redevelopment Afterlife

Since the state's 400+ redevelopment agencies were killed in 2012, cities across California have struggled to manage unfinished projects and support development in distressed neighborhoods. Civic San Diego may provides a model for life after death.

Andrew Keatts describes Civic San Diego's responsibilities for winding up projects begun under the old redevelopment regime, and the role the organization could play in supporting the city's future redevelopment efforts. The entity was created last summer, he explains, "as a group that could carry the mantle of urban renewal even without its previous funding stream."

"Civic San Diego, like the Centre City Development Corp. before it, approves development permits in the downtown area. It prides itself on issuing approvals in a matter of months, whereas projects elsewhere can take years to win final permits. And it collects fees on the permits it issues."

"The group is proposing to take on that function in a specific area along the trolley line in a few neighborhoods in the southeastern portion of the city."

"If the plan works," says Keatts, "it would also serve as a template Civic San Diego can replicate throughout the city."

"That could go a long way to securing the organization's long-term livelihood, and — along with acting as a lender for federal tax credits — give the city a viable way to pursue neighborhood development even without redevelopment."

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