Transit Oriented Upzoning Can't Win Local Support in San Diego

Residents are shooting down plans that propose increased density and height in San Diego. The city had planned to cut its carbon footprint by encouraging transit oriented development.
September 23, 2018, 11am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Sean Pavone

"San Diego city planners are walking back plans to let developers build taller buildings near new stations along the $2.1 billion Mid-Coast Trolley line," reports Andrew Keatts.

"Planning Director Mike Hansen issued a memo [pdf] Monday, obtained by Voice of San Diego, announcing city staff won’t propose increasing the height limit near the new transit station at Tecolote Drive," adds Keatts. "The city had planned to increase the height limit from 45 feet to 100 feet, as part of the Morena Boulevard Specific Plan the City Council is expected to vote on early next year."

According to Keatts, density and height are hot buttons in San Diego. The ongoing effort to plan new land use regulations around the planned Mid-Coast Trolley, expected to open in 2021, has inspired protests and "strident" town halls. Keatts also contrasts the political environment with the city's intentions to cut its carbon footprint in half by 2035, "in part by getting more people to live in dense housing near jobs and transit." Community opposition is winning over best intentions.

This is the second time planners have backed off plans to increase height limits around transit stations, according to Keatts. Four years ago, the city also pulled plans to increase the height limit and housing density near a station planned for Clairemont Drive.

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Published on Wednesday, September 19, 2018 in Voice of San Diego
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