AFFORDABLE HOUSING PLAN IN MOTION
On March 6, the City Council unanimously approved Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s affordable housing plan, “Housing SD,” to address the statewide housing crisis at the local level.
The mayor’s plan promotes adopting new strategies to increase housing and lower development costs. These actions require expanding the Affordable Housing Density Program and making development code changes to streamline the process, remove barriers and increase production.
Proposed amendments include offering density bonuses for projects not exceeding the maximum permitted building footprint and authorizing developers to be eligible for incentives or waivers.
“We need more housing that people can actually afford and the changes we’re pushing for are aimed at making that a reality,” Mayor Faulconer said in a press release. “We want to put the dream of homeownership back within reach for San Diego’s working families and the way to do that is by increasing supply and lowering costs as much as we can.”
District 4 Councilmember Georgette Gomez, chair of the Smart Growth and Land Use Commission, supports the mayor’s proposed housing plan and looks forward to working with him to address the issue.
“It is important for us to use every tool available to increase the housing stock in our city,” Councilmember Gomez said in a press release. “Easing regulations for development and finding creative solutions to encourage the production of more affordable housing is crucial.”
Currently, San Diego is one of the least affordable U.S. markets, with a county median home cost of more than $500,000.
“The changes we’re making today are going to speed the development process, cut burdensome regulations and make it easier for developers to build units people can actually afford,” Mayor Faulconer continued.
For more information on the Housing SD plan, visit bit.ly/2Hbl5Bx.
HILLCREST ARTIST FEATURED IN ‘50 TO WATCH’
Fifty San Diego-based artists will be highlighted at the biennial “50 To Watch” program, featured in a March exhibit at North Park’s Studio Door.
One of these artists — 35-year-old Brandon Jameson — has lived in Hillcrest since 2011 and started painting in 2008. Though he does lean toward pop-art and acrylics, Jameson said that he doesn’t specialize in any particular art style.
“I’m constantly doing something different; if I’m inspired by something, I try it out and put my own twist on it,” Jameson told Uptown News. “I’ve never taken an art class, so everything is trial and error.
“My favorite thing about art is the freedom to express whatever you want to express. You’ve got a blank canvas and you can turn it into whatever you want,” he continued. “The San Diego art scene is eclectic — there’s a bunch of different styles out there. It can be inspiring to go out and see what other people are up to.”
Patric Stillman, the owner of The Studio Door, noted that the exhibit brings together artists from all over the county and promotes collaboration.
“50 To Watch is about opportunity and making connections for artists and galleries. The past two editions have been successful in raising the visibility of San Diego’s creative community,” Stillman said in a press release.
The exhibit will run through Sunday, March 25, at The Studio Door in North Park, 3750 30th St. For more information about the 50 To Watch program, visit 50towatch.com/now.
OLD TOWN CHARITY FUNDS READING PROGRAM
The Old Town-based David C. Copley Foundation has granted $12,000 to the San Diego Center for Children to support their Academy, a nonprofit, public school.
According to Copley Foundation website, the charity’s mission is “funding nonprofit organizations making a difference in the areas of human services, military and military veterans, youth development, medical and medical research, education, arts and culture and animal welfare,” with a focus on local, underserved communities.
This funding for the Center will benefit the Academy’s Intensive Reading Program, which provides one-on-one or small group instruction for kids who are a grade or more behind in their reading skills. Program expenses — including staff, materials and curriculum — will be covered by the grant.
This will support the Center’s efforts to secure existing programs and accommodate future enrollment growth.
“In the spring of 2018, the Center will complete a significant four-year capital project, adding four new classrooms and other needed upgrades to the Academy’s campus, including the addition of dedicated multi-sensory and art rooms,” Moisés Barón, president and CEO of the San Diego Center for Children, said in a press release.
For more information about the organizations, visit copleyfoundation.org and centerforchildren.org.
PROPOSAL TO ELIMINATE LIBRARY OVERDUE FEES
Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer has proposed stopping late fees for the San Diego Public Library system. According to Mayor Faulconer, these fines often discourage individuals from using the library. The new model is intended to motivate these people to check out books and utilize library resources.
“Libraries are hubs for inspiration, discovery and opportunity that can change lives,” Faulconer said in a press release. “This new model encourages patrons to renew, return or replace materials they borrow and allow continued access to library services for San Diegans who need them the most.”
Instead of late fines, patrons would only be required to pay for a book replacement if they do not return it within 30 days after the first overdue notice. This notice is given after the fifth, and final, renewal period. Aside from replacement costs, the patron would not accrue additional fees.
Though the city currently collects $700,000 in overdue fees, over $1 million is spent for staff and materials to handle these fines. Most of the individuals billed with these late fees live in low-income communities, according to a library analysis by local ZIP code.
“Overdue fines are creating unnecessary barriers to many of the people we’re trying to serve,” said Misty Jones, San Diego Public Library director, in the release. “Too often I have heard librarians tell me stories about children who want to check out books to take home, but whose parents are unable to pay overdue fines to make this possible.”
Mayor Faulconer’s proposal is a component of the city’s annual review of user fees, which will be in April. For more information about the library, visit sandiegolibrary.org.
‘STEP BY STEP 5K’ RETURNS APRIL 8
The Parkinson’s Association of San Diego will hold its annual “Step by Step 5K” fundraiser on Sunday, April 8, at Liberty Station.
The dog-friendly, walking event will feature live music, a beer garden and an expo. Check in starts at 7:30 a.m. and the walk begins at 9 a.m.
Registration fee is $50 and includes a T-shirt. Sponsorship and vendor opportunities are also available. RideFACT will provide free transportation for individuals needing assistance.
All proceeds will benefit the Parkinson’s Association of San Diego, a group that helps connect resources to local individuals with Parkinson’s disease. For more information and event registration, visit bit.ly/2t0udXq or call 858-200-7277.
BARONS MARKET EVENT FEATURES BRAZILIAN BREWS
Grocer Barons Market will team up with Chula Vista-based brewery Novo Brazil for the region’s first annual Backroom Beer Pairing on Wednesday, March 14.
The Backroom Beer Pairing event – which will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. – will take place at all seven Barons Market locations in Southern California, including North Park’s store at 3231 University Ave.
For the event, loading docks and stock rooms will be converted to food and beer speakeasies. The day will pair various food dishes, made with ingredients from Baron Market’s store, with Brazilian-inspired craft beer from Novo Brazil.
Dishes will include Dubliner Cheddar Artichoke Dip, Yang’s Teriyaki Chicken, Pizza Romano and Prosciutto Pizza, and Spicy Key Lime Shrimp Tacos. Novo Brazil will feature four of their beers: Ipanema IPA, Belo Blonde, The Mango and Chula Pils.
Rachel Shemirani, vice president of marketing for Barons Market, explained why the Chula Vista brewery was chosen.
“For this year’s Backroom Beer Pairing series, we wanted to spotlight up-and-coming breweries that bring creativity and innovation to Southern California’s beer scene,” Shemirani said in a press release. “Novo Brazil was the perfect fit to kick off our 2018 pairings as key players in the growth of South Bay beer.”
Tickets are $15. All proceeds from the event will be donated to Feeding San Diego. For more information, visit bit.ly/2oYV4Oq.