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Land Use Review of Measure C Opposition Letter

September 28, 2016

Mayor Kevin Faulconer & City Council
Planning Commission
CivicSD Board

Re: Land Use Review of Measure C
Chargers’ San Diego Integrated Convention Center Expansion/Stadium and Tourism Measure C

Dear Honored Leaders and Representatives:

On behalf of the Downtown Community Planning Council (DCPC), I write today to express our opposition to the proposed Measure.

  • Measure C would void, modify and exempt the new district from the highly valued Downtown Community Plan (DCP), the Planned Design Ordinance (PDO) and the Downtown Design Guidelines (collectively, the Governing Documents).
  • Measure C would allow and encourage development of a large critical area in a manner directly contrary to nearly all of the relevant goals, policies, regulations and standards of the Governing Documents and would be extremely disruptive to the long-term and appropriate development of the area and surrounding neighborhoods.
  • Measure C was created independent of any public involvement or coordination with the City and eliminates all meaningful public and professional review in the creation and implementation of one of the most significant land use decisions facing Downtown.

As elected representatives of the Downtown San Diego community, it is our responsibility to evaluate all significant land use issues within our jurisdiction. Pursuant to our charter, we have conducted a thorough review of Measure C. This letter summarizes our process, findings, and recommendations.

These Governing Documents are the essential tools relied on by residents, businesses, developers,
community groups, agencies and organizations to guide, protect and enhance our collective investments, property values and quality of life. The Governing Documents are the result of years of thoughtful, professional and community based effort. They are the roadmap for our community’s future. Their faithful implementation has been essential to the dramatic positive transformation of Downtown San Diego. They articulate the collective vision for the future of the area, remain relevant and are arguably among the best examples in the City of San Diego. They should be supported and respected.

Process

The DCPC came to these findings and recommendations through a thorough and deliberative process. We established a subcommittee to initiate the review Measure C which:

  • Conducted a full review of Measure C for consistency and compliance with the Downtown Community Plan (DCP), the Planned District Ordinance (PDO), and the Design Guidelines.
  • Identified the principles, goals and policies, and standards that are directly relevant to the
    neighborhood, property and land-use implications of Measure C.
  • Created working documents comparing the relevant principles, goals, and policies with relevant provisions from Measure C.
  • Summarized key issues by topic.
  • Discussed the working documents and this letter in an open forum of the Subcommittee and the full DCPC.

Findings

The Governing Documents are excellent, valid, relevant, and should be respected. Measure C is inconsistent with, violates, voids and directly contradicts the vision and most of the relevant goals, policies, regulations and standards of the Governing Documents. The following are a sample of the significant problems with Measure C:

  • Exempts the proposed stadium site from compliance with and establishes new policies, regulations and processes directly contrary to the valid and valued Governing Documents.
  • Eliminates all meaningful public and professional review in the creation and implementation of the most significant land use decision facing Downtown.
  • Allows a single, disproportionately and disruptively large building:
    a. 400-foot tall covering 10 city blocks, streets and adjacent sidewalks.
    b. 30 times the maximum 20,000 square foot tower massing.
    c. Eliminates, blocks and disrupts the vital street grid, neighborhood connections, and views.
    d. Divides, blocks and excessively dominates the land use and function of the community.
  • Allows virtually unlimited and unregulated signage:
    a. The entire building exterior can be brightly lighted video signage.
    b. Two 60-foot wide by 125-foot tall electronic message signs lighted from 6am to 2am.
    c. 65,000 square feet (1.5 acres) of sign copy (text area only) for non-exempt signs.
  • Converts 15 prime acres planned for a diverse and balanced mix of full-time employment and housing to a single facility limited to periodic and temporary uses
  • Removes 15 prime acres from the tax rolls and developer impact fees.
  • Exempts itself from all meaningful regulation and requirements of:
    a. Noise.
    b. Historic resource protection.
    c. Parking
    d. Urban Design

    • Unlimited street wall; no setbacks or stepbacks.
    • Allows the building to overhang the property line and public sidewalks to the street curb.
  • Exempts itself from environmental review and fair share of mitigation costs and improvements.

The DCPC is normally supportive of large transformative projects. We are not necessarily opposed to the concept of a stadium or convention center expansion in East Village. But we are strongly opposed to this measure which virtually eliminates the voice of the community from the land use process in this large and significant part of Downtown.

Please take the neighborhood and community position into consideration as you contemplate this matter and oppose Measure C.

Respectfully,
Pat Stark
Chair, Downtown Community Planning Council

Dan Wery
Chair, Ad Hoc Land Use and Consistency Review Subcommittee

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