Leo Wilson discusses Community Plan, concern with SANDAG statistics
By Ashley Mackin | SDUN Editor
At the recent University Heights Forum, Uptown Planners Chair Leo Wilson discussed revisions of the Uptown Community Plan (UCP). Held on Feb. 9, the meeting addressed plan elements and Wilson’s concerns with San Diego Association of Government’s (SANDAG) statistics, on which certain elements of the plan are based.
The Forum focused on San Diego’s General Plan, which serves as a guide for the draft UCP, as well as gathering community input from University Heights residents.
The UCP provides specific guidelines for the rezoning of property and for reviewing projects that require discretionary action by the City.
Wilson said the San Diego General Plan, adopted in 2008, “is a document that directs the plan of the City so when you’re doing the update, the [Uptown Community] plan, you can pull from this. It’s kind of like a Bible for all sorts of things and each chapter concerns a different subject,” he added. Wilson referenced it in his presentation.
Wilson also expressed concern over the population statistics SANDAG cites, and because decisions regarding the housing element of the UCP will be based on those statistics.
“SANDAG numbers and population projections were not accurate, so we had concerns about the process they were using,” Wilson said.
“[SANDAG is] claiming a massive population growth in University Heights of 28 percent by 2050,” Wilson said.
“If they say we’re going to grow at  percent,” Wilson said, “then you have to up-zone neighborhoods,” meaning buildings would have to be built taller to accommodate the increase in population in the same space.
According to a SANDAG demographer, which Wilson did not name, attributed the population statistics as being in “a boom/bust cycle;” meaning a bust is usually followed by a boom.
Wilson then cited U.S. Census statistics that indicated population numbers in University Heights have declined recently.
“We’ve watched the population in [University Heights] for ten years…. They’re still going down,” Wilson said.
“Ten years ago, [SANDAG] thought ‘if you build San Diego, they will come…’ [but] once you start… building these undistinguished buildings, you start making San Diego to look more like Los Angeles, and people stop coming,” Wilson said.
At the close of the Forum, Wilson said, “There’s a lot wrong with San Diego right now, so go online, check this out [and] look at the elements” he said. “Talking about this early will give you a head start.” A copy of the General Plan is available at sandiego.gov/planning/genplan
The next meeting will be held March 17 at the Grace Lutheran Church, located at 3993 Park Blvd. at 1 p.m. Called the University Heights Community Visioning Workshop, this meeting is intended to gather community input on land use, mobility, parks and open space, and offer an opportunity for community feedback from the Feb. 9 meeting.