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Uptown Briefs – March 27

Posted: March 27th, 2015 | Communities, News, Opinion & News, Uptown Briefs | No Comments

Care About North Park moves towards appeal

The battle against the Jack in the Box drive-thru at the intersection of 30th and Upas streets in North Park may not be over yet. For those unfamiliar, the legal battle stems from a May 2013 remodel of a North Park Jack in the Box at the corner of Upas and 30th Streets.

Nonprofit group Care About North Park (CANP) alleged the “remodel” was actually an illegal rebuild used to allow the building to maintain its drive-thru window, which are now prohibited in the area.

CANP since hired environmental attorney Cory Briggs to sue the city of San Diego and Jack in the Box, although the judge dismissed the suit after the group missed a filing deadline.

CANP is now running a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign through April 1 with a goal of $2,000 to finance another appeal. According to the funding page they have a “supportive donor” who will match the funds raised. At press time they had raised $1,000. Visit gofundme.com/supportourappeal for more information.

City Council to approves plan to support homeless

Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Councilmember Todd Gloria earned the City Council’s unanimous approval this week for a plan to create a year-round indoor interim housing shelter in lieu of temporary tents erected during the winter each year.

The plan was based on a recommendation by the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) to re-purpose 350 beds at Father Joe’s Villages’ St. Vincent de Paul campus Downtown for use in the year-round shelter. The program is slated to begin July 1 and will cost $1.9 million annually.

According to SDHC’s recommendation, the shelter will provide at least 350 beds each night and also calls for 40 percent to be set aside for homeless veterans, as well as 24-hour residential and security services and 45-day lengths of stay for residents. The plan also proposes to create better connection between the new interim shelter and the Neil Good Day Center program, eventually bringing both operations to the St. Vincent de Paul campus, according to a press release by Father Joe’s.

TASTE OF HILLCREST RETURNS

The annual “Taste of Hillcrest,” sponsored by the Hillcrest Business Association (HBA), will bring the neighborhood’s top chefs and their cuisine together for the 15th year on April 18.

“We are very excited about the 2015 Taste of Hillcrest,” HBA Executive Director Benjamin Nicholls stated in a press release. “It’s the perfect place to experience a unique culinary adventure and enjoy an afternoon here in San Diego’s finest neighborhood.”

The self-guided tasting tour will span approximately 12 blocks and include more than 40 cafes, bistros and dining establishments. Check in will be at the corner of Fifth and Robinson avenues. Tickets are $30 and available at fabuloushillcrest.com under “events.”

Updates to Undergrounding Program process approved

One of the utility boxes in Kensington causing residents concern. (Photo by Monica Garske)

One of the utility boxes in Kensington causing residents concern.
(Photo by Monica Garske)

Recommendations to the city’s Undergrounding Program were considered and approved by the City Council this week. The recommendations were developed by the Utility Undergrounding Advisory Committee — comprised of community members and representatives from AT&T, Cox Communications, SDG&E, Time Warner Cable and the city. The group was created over a year ago to advise the City Council on undergrounding utility boxes, which many residents say they view as an eyesore in their communities.

A press release from Councilmember Todd Gloria’s office outlined the approved updates to the program:

  • Improve coordination between the mayor’s office, City Council offices, Utility Undergrounding Program (UUP) staff, utility companies, and the community through a formalized process to establish local preferences prior to the start of engineering design in each affected neighborhood.
  • Revise UUP documents to ensure consistent language.
  • Expand UUP website with current program and project information, illustration of utility company above ground equipment and city owned equipment, graphic depiction of where above ground equipment may be located, design options, and a flow chart of community participation in the design process.
  • Provide public information support from the city’s Communications Department and UUP staff.
  • Revise and simplify public notice mailers.
  • Create design options.
  • Examine innovative equipment design and sizing.
  • Implement quality control.
  • Implement Council training.

City Council unanimously approved $120m infrastructure bond

The City Council approved a bond-financing plan March 24 that will budget $120 million toward street repairs, fire stations and libraries throughout the city. More than 40 percent of the funds will pave the way for new streets.

Conceptual renderings of the Mission Hills-Hillcrest Library (Courtesy Architects Mosher Drew)

Conceptual renderings of the Mission Hills-Hillcrest Library (Courtesy Architects Mosher Drew)

“San Diegans who want their streets repaired will find a lot to like in this package,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer stated in a press release. “We’re moving full steam ahead with improvements to neighborhoods throughout San Diego. This plan will fund critical projects — from street repair to fire stations to libraries — in the communities that need them the most.”

Faulconer, who unveiled the plan following his “State of the City” address earlier this year, said street repairs are the top priority for San Diego’s infrastructure needs.

In addition to street repairs, $22 million will go toward improving storm drains and $43 million will help with design work and construction for facilities. This includes the Mission Hills/ Hillcrest Branch Library, Fire Station 05 in Hillcrest and Fire Station 17 in Mid-City.

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