I’m going to start this blog by asking a few questions, I expect at my peril, to wit:

  • Why do we strive to develop “smart,” yet our local cities keep working from a decades-old playbook, called zoning ordinances and general plans? For example, why does the city of San Diego’s new general plan include an economic restriction ordinance on ‘co-locating’ jobs next to housing? Isn’t that the very definition of smart growth? And isn’t that part of the plan completely inconsistent with the smart growth philosophy of the rest of the plan?
  • Why is there no public art at Liberty Station, and why is landscaping so minimal? While impressive, the project seems boring and uninteresting. I know there are restrictions on revitalizing historic buildings, but there can be no restrictions on putting some pizzazz on the outside. Perhaps some of the alleged windfall profits can be redirected here, thus reducing some of the controversy?
  • Why are traffic impact fees, or TIFs, for commercial projects in the county of San Diego so high (and they just got higher), potentially rendering infeasible major commercial projects? The fees were designed to pay for new infrastructure, but we are finding that they are killing much needed projects that would actually reduce car trips in the unincorporated areas, particularly to go shopping.
  • Why hasn’t the county worked out a deal with the Native American Nations so that they can participate in financing for road expansion and other needed public improvements? There are billions being made and it feels to me that the two parties are acting more like Iran v. Iraq rather than two constituencies in need of a joint solution.
  • Why is the city of San Diego suing Landgrant Development over the Mercado project in Barrio Logan? It is generally acknowledged that this much needed redevelopment project will anchor the community, and any other developer will undoubtedly come up with a variation on the same mixed-use approach, only three to five years later.
  • What is taking so long for new and improved border crossing infrastructure? The economic dependence of San Diegans on Mexicans to fill jobs and spend money here is threatened by the bottleneck at the San Ysidro International Border crossing. Why doesn’t the regional Chamber of Commerce, the city and the county, not to mention our federal agencies and congressional delegation, commit to getting things resolved faster?
  • Why don’t we ask developers to pay for density in exchange for entitlement? We habitually delay and restrict permission to develop, yet give away the density downtown and in the urban communities. Why don’t they just cut a deal for the benefit of all — get more housing built, and revitalize the neighborhoods by using the added density ‘bonus’ money for needed infrastructure and services?

Answer the questions for me, or ask some additional ones. I will come up with some others throughout the day.


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