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Gary London’s been a prolific contributor to some of our Survival conversation threads, and true to form, he passed along a response to Murtaza Baxamusa’s thoughts I shared yesterday. (The conversation started after I wrote this story about Mick Pattinson, Barratt American president and CEO, protesting his bank’s freeze of funding that sent him into bankruptcy.)

Here’s why this conversation is important. There’s a significant battle in San Diego between opponents of extensive development — in some cases NIMBYs, in other cases environmentalists, in other cases people who want to make sure development is planned more smartly — and the developers who want to build.

What better time to be talking about the region’s approach to development? There’s a major pause in the industry right now. Builders and the development community are going to be trying to change the entitlement process so that they can get rolling as soon as people want to buy new homes again — and they say that will forestall a run-up in prices like the one San Diego saw for the first several years of this decade. What are local governments and residents going to have to say about the age-old development impacts of traffic, environmental impacts and neighborhood character?

Here’s London:

I am not sure how Mr. Baxamusa’s remarks serve his constituency, who I gather include many persons who make a living in the construction industry, as well as persons in need of less expensive housing. I also do not think that this is a matter of criticizing “sworn enemies of government intervention”.  The ‘enemy’ has not been intervention, it has been inappropriate regulation and ineptitude. It has also been people using the entitlement process to prevent development, stop change in their community or to exact something from the developer.

Rather than post ideological nonsense, Mr. Baxamusa might want to direct his energies to the transformational moment that we live in: we are going to grow and develop again (at some point) in this community. Just not now. Why not take this moment and right the zoning regulations, land use policies and public policy structure which combine to make it so difficult, long and expensive to redevelop our existing communities? All participants need to figure out how to grow, provide for services and infrastructure and assist the very persons whom Mr. Baxamusa purports to represent.

You can share your thoughts by sending me an e-mail at kelly.bennett@voiceofsandiego.org.

KELLY BENNETT

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