Planning Group

VISION FOR CLAIREMONT

For the last couple of years a taskforce under the direction of the Clairemont Community Planning Group (CCPG) has been developing a vision for Clairemont. The City of San Diego has recently adopted an updated General Plan and begun the process of revising the community plans across the City. The latter of which address the elements that are unique to an individual community and support its community character. Clairemont’s Community Plan is decades old and does not address the changing environment in which we live. There is no schedule for updating the Community Plan for Clairemont at this time. Thus, the CCPG thought that it would be important to have some common interest guidelines to follow in the interim. Understand that this is a grass roots effort and has no official standing. However, it will reflect the community’s desires and will assist the City when the Community Plan is revised.

This is a draft of that Vision. The CCPG is requesting input from the community at large. We are posting it online so anyone interested may review it. The CCPG is specifically requesting public input at its monthly meeting on the 21st of July. The Committee meets at the Senior Center, North Clairemont Recreation Center off Genesee Ave located at 4421 Bannock Avenue.

Please review the Vision and come to the meeting with your thoughts.

DRAFT VISION FOR CLAIREMONT

Approved April 21, 2009

Clairemont Community Planning Committee, Vision Task Force

The following is a summary of comments and suggestions developed by the members of the Vision Task Force of the Clairemont Community Planning Committee. The Task Force is composed of several Committee members who met several times in open meetings to develop a strategy that the CCPC could consider for adoption as guidelines in the absence of a badly needed updated Clairemont Community Plan. The ideas are strictly suggestions to the CCPC and are not intended to be adopted without thorough discussion, input from the community, and CCPG vote. Further, any ideas should be reviewed by our representatives from the City Planning and Community Investment Department before they are implemented.

Transportation/Mobility

Major transportation corridors including Clairemont Drive, Clairemont Mesa Blvd., Balboa Avenue and Mt. Acadia Blvd. were not intended to receive the high volume of traffic they are experiencing. Clairemont Drive passes in front of housing duplexes and single-family residences. This creates a safety hazard for the children associated with those homes. Balboa Avenue doubles as an artillery highway and a high traffic-shopping street. Mt Acadia Blvd., a two-lane street is a major collector that passes several pedestrian sensitive activities including churches, schools, ball fields, retail and single-family residences. Several stop signs have been added to this street to act as a “band-aid” to the traffic problem. Alternate routes to collector streets have been used to avoid congestion. An example is Cowley Way, which parallels the, rush hour, congested Clairemont Drive. Several of these alternative routes have added speed bumps and stop signs. This was a desperate means to control the intrusion of increased traffic. The collectors within the community were intended to be located in the canyons. Fortunately the canyons have been protected but this has impacted many of the major streets. Public transportation has been crippled since the frequency and destinations do not efficiently serve the community. Jobs have moved away from the City’s concentrated old industrial/commercial core close to Clairemont. The new centers of employment are scattered across the North City/County with very fragmented bus service. Most existing routes run North and South intending to serve the major employment/education centers. Traffic along Balboa Avenue is both community and non-community based. Through traffic was intended to be diverted to Highway 52 for non-community vehicles. This has not happened. The associated strip commercial development further erodes the ability to promote and enhance neighborhood and community identity. Please refer to the Balboa Avenue Revitalization Action Plan (RAP) for a detailed description of the neededchanges. We recommend that the CCPC consider an inner community shuttle loop using the major collector streets to provide access to neighborhood resources for community members including students and the elderly. This could also serve as a collector for the future Trolley station at the foot of Balboa Avenue. Further this would allow for the relocation of housing along those shuttle routes to accommodate the residents that are dependent on public transportation and promote future high frequency public transportation. Please refer to the housing portion of the RAP for details on recommended restrictions on multifamily housing.

Pedestrian/Bicycle Access and Circulation

With the need to reduce traffic congestion and energy costs, and to improve the health and well-being of our communities’ citizens, greater emphasis needs to be placed on viable pedestrian and bicycle access and routes. The Balboa Avenue RAP is a great start to that end. Looking at Clairemont as a whole, we need better connectivity of pathway systems including direct access to public transportation and community shopping. Weneed to balance the use of our canyon system to allow safe bicycle and pedestrianaccess without damaging the environment. This will require better-defined trails that avoid sensitive habitat. Proper separation from vehicle traffic is also important, as is the need for well-lit pathways for pedestrian and bicycle safety and security. Every new project should be evaluated for its support of public pedestrian access.

Urban Design

There needs to be better community identity. We need a better “sense of place”. Participation in the City’s Fine Arts Master Plan should be encouraged. Walkable neighborhoods as defined in the current Community Plan should continue to be a priority.

Public Facilities

The community’s infrastructure needs significant repair and improvements. Aging fire stations and libraries are a case in point. Some improvements could be tied to future development. One example was the potential of trading an on-site library at Clairemont Village for the residential developable land at the current adjacent library site. Future growth must be tied to adequate utility infrastructure. Better coordination needs to be encouraged between the City and the San Diego City Schools District.

Recreation/Open Space

Clairemont’s system of canyons including Rose Canyon, Marian Bear Canyon and Tecolote Canyon are important community assets that must continue to be protected. While the potential to relocate the utilities out of the canyon may be far in the future due to the attended cost, we need to minimize impacts to the canyons from continuing repairs. We should defer our comments regarding Tecolote Canyon to the Canyon’s PlanningCommittee. Nonetheless they should be encouraged to review and incorporate the award winning Canyon Lands proposal.

Conservation

Not discussed except as identified above

Noise

Street noise generated by vehicles with non-compliant mufflers should be corrected by more strenuous enforcement of existing ordinances. Aircraft noise associated with two nearby airports is also a problem. Aircraft elevation standards should also be more rigorously enforced.

Historic Preservation

Clairemont needs to celebrate its past as part of defining and promoting community identity. This includes the historic churches such as Pioneer, St. Marks, and others, as well as the Old Dairy and the Revenuer’s Station in Bay Park. Monuments and descriptions help to build pride in our community.

Housing

The City’s goal of community growth over the next twenty years appears to be easily accommodated by the current Community Plan, specifically along Morena Boulevard and

adjacent to Clairemont Village. The City of Villages concept outlined in the Strategic Framework Element is a worthy goal but without adequate infrastructure, it is impractical for Clairemont for the foreseeable future. Specific areas of concern are the lack of effective public transportation, poor collector streets, and inadequate public utilities. Higher density housing could be accommodated closer to freeways and major arteries where access to public transportation and utilities are more available. If the sites at such locations were large enough, the “Village” concept could be accommodated. One example of a potential small viable village is the shopping area along Morena Boulevard in Bay Park. Senior housing, particularly along transportation corridors, should be encouraged. Special regulations regarding reduced area per unit and parking are only feasible if the City maintains and enforces the senior-only occupancy. Tandem parking should not be allowed until such time as public transportation is adequate enough to avoid occupants, out of frustration, parking one car on the street further exacerbating street parking congestion. Higher density mixed-use conversion of existing shopping centers should be discouraged unless adequate pedestrian access as described above and problems of immediate neighbor shading impacts are addressed as well. Companion Units (“Granny Flats”), if structured and sited properly, could be a great asset to Clairemont. It would allow seniors to remain in their homes by subletting the primary or secondary residence. It would allow seniors or children to live with their families in a semi independent environment. It could be a simple way to create affordable housing and help to relieve pressure on demand for increased density. However, restrictions on the size of units and provision of onsite parking would be needed. The current City requirements are too restrictive, requiring oversized lots to consider a companion unit. In general, Clairemont should maintain its single-family, low density character but allow growth along major corridors where seniors, the disabled, and youth could access public facilities via improved public transportation. By allowing controlled growth along these corridors, we can preempt external pressure for growth in unsuitable areas by accommodating the needs of our citizens.

Land Use

Both commercial office and industrial uses should be encouraged in Clairemont. The more people who live and work in our community, the lower the impact on our

infrastructure, particularly roadways. Industrial Development: There are considerable industrial areas in the north and northeast portions of our community. Light industry and in particularly research and development-(R and D) related industry should be encouraged. Several corridors are suitable for office and or research. Of particular note is the Morena Boulevard corridor adjacent to Interstate 5. Any major office or research facility should be located near freeways to preclude out of community employees from having to traverse our community’s already congested streets. Heavy industry however, is unlikely and should be discouraged as the citizenry wishes to protect its bedroom community environment. Retail Development: Several retail centers in Clairemont are undergoing change. Many of the large “Big Box” stores are going out of business. This leaves the existing “Power Centers” weakened and vulnerable to crime. An overstock of retail space in the area worsens the situation as well as more people shopping on the internet. This should be considered an opportunity to develop new employment, housing, transportation and neighborhood retail at these sites. That change needs to be directed and incentivized to encourage, well planned, mixed-use development. Public/Institutional Development: As Clairemont becomes more diverse, the neighborhood school concept should be reinforced. As the City strives to meet its integration mandates, magnet schools should return to neighborhood schools to reduce transportation costs and to reinforce the children’s sense of community.