By Ashley Mackin | SDUN Editor
On March 20, the North Park Planning Committee (NPPC) elected a new board of directors. Elected to the board were of Robert Barry, Cheryl Dye, Brandon Hilpert, Lucky Morrison, Omar Passons, Rene Vidales, Vicki Granowitz and Steven Williamson.
The NPPC deals with land use and development issues and is an advisory body to the Planning Commission and San Diego City Council on issues of urban design, public facilities and transportation.
Many of the board members said they hope this term will be an opportunity to complete the North Park Community Plan Update, get the community more involved in North Park development issues and promote their community outreach through social media.
Vice Chair Vidales said he was glad to be reelected to another term. “I am very proud of North Park and the many accomplishments of the last few years that have turned around a once blighted commercial corridor into what is now attracting lots of people to live, work and entertain.”
Vidales has been on the North Park Planning Committee for the past six years and this will be his last two-year term. In that time, he said, “I would like to see the North Park Community Plan Update to its conclusion, where once adopted, the document will become the blueprint to shape the community in years to come.”
Passons, an attorney with a land use and real estate background, also said his hope for this term is the completion of the Community Plan Update, “…so that businesses and residents have a consistent, reliable understanding of development priorities [and] guidelines for [a] greater North Park.”
Passons also said he wants to develop policies to enhance the historic elements of North Park west of University Avenue and El Cajon Boulevard.
Dye, of Dye and Associates, an economic and community development consulting firm, is on the North Park Community Plan Update Advisory Committee. “I am committed to helping ensure a balanced community with a vibrant business and arts sector, and safe, attractive and historically protected neighborhoods,” she said. “I am looking forward to continuing to work with the Advisory Committee, the public, [Councilmember] Gloria’s office and the City to bring the much-needed North Park Community Plan Update to completion.”
Vidales also said increasing community involvement will be a focus during his term, and invites the community to participate in sub-committee meetings, where much decision-making is made. “Then from the sub-committee the work gets forwarded to the full board where the ultimate advisory recommendations are made.”
Hilpert said he was excited to be reelected to the Committee and reiterated Vidales’s statement, saying, “One of my goals is to work on getting greater community involvement from North Park residents into what happens in regards to the development and growth of North Park. I’ve found that many people do not even realize that our group exists as a resource for the people of North Park.”
Hilpert discussed the group’s community outreach efforts through Facebook and Twitter, and said he thought the NPPC is the only community planning group utilizing the social media.
Granowitz, the reelected NPPC Chair, said with the launch of their Facebook and Twitter accounts, this coming term will be a productive one. “I continue to be very excited by the work [Hilpert] has been doing to give us a presence on social media [and] he will also be managing our website this year.”
Vidales said, “Now that the North Park Redevelopment Project Area Committee is no longer in existence, the North Park Planning Committee is more likely to take a bigger role than ever before in the future of North Park.”