Two weeks ago, when Voice of San Diego CEO Scott Lewis announced I was leaving the Daily Transcript and joining VOSD to cover land use, he described the beat in his typical understated nature.

“The story of next decade,” he called it.

In subsequent conversations, he’s predicted the region’s pending land-use decisions will shape conversations about San Diego’s future the way pensions have dominated our recent past.

No pressure.

But the reason Scott’s had such grand ideas about land use, and the reason I was so excited to come cover it, is because the ways we decide to use the region’s most basic finite resource reach into so many aspects of daily life.

San Diego’s population is growing, and the way we’ve typically accommodated such growth — putting new buildings on undeveloped land — is no longer possible. How well the community adjusts and adapts will determine the future of housing costs, transportation, employment opportunities and the region’s quality of life.

In certain circles, those consisting of advocates and committed partisans, these issues are a primary concern. But it’s not a story that’s typically on the minds of many citizens.

The goal with the new coverage is not only to explain why land-use decisions are so important, and why San Diego’s facing an immediate future during which many will be made, but also to clearly establish what previous decisions have encouraged, and how they’ve contributed to our current arrangement of neighborhoods, employment centers, transportation nodes and lifestyles.

Just before coming to VOSD, I covered for the San Diego Daily Transcript the city’s mayoral race and other high-profile political issues like the Convention Center expansion financing plan, the Balboa Park renovation and Proposition B.

Prior to that, I covered housing and economics for a little more than a year for the same publication. The combination of covering real estate and economic news along with the city’s political workings by happenstance makes for an ideal precursor to covering land-use policy.

As we establish the focus area more specifically in the coming months, please alert me to problems in your neighborhood, issues you have with the city’s community development plans or anything else you think fits into a larger land-use related story that’s worth telling.

I’m Andrew Keatts, a reporter for Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you’d like at or 619.325.0529 and follow me on Twitter

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Disclosure: Voice of San Diego members and supporters may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories we cover. For a complete list of our contributors, click here.

Andrew Keatts is a former managing editor for projects and investigations at Voice of San Diego.

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