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Tuesday, June 12, 2007 | I disagree with part of the city of San Diego’s proposed settlement with Citizens for Responsible Equitable Environmental Development (CREED) and attorney Corey Briggs. CREED is pushing for a legal settlement with the city that would limit the number of apartment conversions to condominiums to 1,000 a year. The settlement would also impose a mandatory environmental impact process on future developments. Finally, the group is demanding a cash payment of $75,000 from the city.

I recently purchased a condo conversion. Like many middle class citizens in San Diego, a condo conversion was my only entree to home ownership in our very expensive real estate market. Without the choice of purchasing a condo conversion, I simply would not be a homeowner today.

I cannot agree with CREED and its supporters that capping the number of condo conversions each year to 1,000 is a fair or reasonable demand. Why not 999 per year, or 1,001 per year? Anyone can pick any number. To my way of thinking, trying to come up with any number of allowable conversions per year is entirely arbitrary.

I don’t believe the free market should always go entirely unregulated by the government, but I honestly cannot think of a rational or compelling reason to limit the market in this particular case. For the government to tell a private property owner how they can use their expensive real estate investment smacks of socialism, or worse.

However, I do not oppose requiring a limited, non-onerous environmental impact statement for each condo conversion proposal. But if you think about it, a multi-family apartment complex, which is what a condo conversion starts from, already had traffic and environmental impacts. How does a condo conversion property really add more traffic or other impacts than the original apartment complex did?

Finally, I am very suspect of CREED’s demand for a $75,000 financial settlement. What is that all about? That aspect of the proposed settlement doesn’t pass the smell test.

I urge the City Council not to place an arbitrary cap on annual condo conversions. And the $75,000? I think the unreasonableness of that demand speaks for itself.

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