Community Plan Update will gild Golden Hill

Posted: October 29th, 2010 | Communities, Golden Hill |

By Catherine Spearnak | SDUN Reporter

How would you like more small parks in Golden Hill? What about bike lanes and preserved historic homes?

These are just some of the improvements residents of Greater Golden Hill want, said Bernie Turgeon, senior planner for the City of San Diego.

On Saturday, Nov. 6, Golden Hill residents will get a chance to make more decisions on the future of their community when the last of a series of meetings to create the Greater Golden Hill Community Plan Update is discussed. The meeting is from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Golden Hill Elementary School Auditorium, 1240 33rd St.

The meeting will close a three-day “charrette” for the community plan. A charrette is an interactive meeting open to residents so they can work closely with a team of city staff and consultants to develop concepts for the community plan update and review those concepts at the end of the process, Turgeon said. The next step after the charrette is to evaluate the concepts and begin drafting the community plan, he added.

At the first charrette, held Oct. 9, residents expressed a great interest in “passive parks” that are two to three acres and can be used as gathering places or for some sports. Residents also wanted designated bike lanes and bike paths. They discussed turning Russ Boulevard, which borders Balboa Park, into a bikeway with improvements such as landscaping, Tuergeon said.

Finally, there was discussion of more historic preservation in the community, which includes Golden Hill and South Park, he said. Historic preservation sets aside certain areas with requirements to keep them in historic character. For example, a resident who owns a home in a historic preservation area might not be able to change wooden windows to vinyl windows.

Greater Golden Hill residents who attend the Nov. 6 meeting can expect to hear a presentation on historic preservation, as well as one on “neighborhood character,” which includes architectural features such as the look of garages, porches, signage and awnings.

At the final charrette, there will also be a presentation of public opinion and information collected at the first two charrettes, Turgeon said.

A community plan establishes how land will be used into the future in a particular area of the City of San Diego. Currently, community plans are being updated not only in Golden Hill, but North Park and Uptown as well. These plans provide the community-level detail, specific policies, and implementation strategies necessary to fulfill the goals of the citywide General Plan. The recent update to the General Plan shifts focus from how to develop vacant land to how to design infill development and reinvest in existing communities. Community plans set policies on a wide array of topics, including mobility, open space and parks, provision of public facilities, sustainable development, urban design and historic preservation.

According to a handout from the city, a community plan is important because it expresses each community’s vision and establishes priorities on the direction and form of future development and growth. Community plan policies guide the look and feel of future public and private development projects and identify much of the infrastructure needed to serve the community.

Greater Golden Hill is one of the oldest communities in the city. Community plan updates are being developed for communities like Greater Golden Hill partly as a result of the recent update to the City’s General Plan, which focuses on reinvesting in existing communities.

Public opinion is being sought by the city to make each community’s community plan update specific to each community it addresses.

Once the third charrette is completed, city staff and its consultants will create a draft to present to the Greater Golden Hill Planning Committee in January 2011, Turgeon said. And following that input, a more cohesive draft will be unveiled in spring 2011. The final plan that will go to the City Council for approval will be in spring, 2012, he said.

Charrette content will be posted prior to the Nov. 6 meeting at Under “Your Community Profile,” select “Greater Golden Hill” on the community profile drop-down menu.

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