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North Park Plan

July 19, 1987

I thought the letter you published July 12 from M. Lawson MacKenzie of Normal Heights was somewhat misleading.

Mr. MacKenzie expressed concern about Councilwoman Gloria McColl's votes on the Greater North Park Community Plan, adopted last November, and the emergency ordinance the City Council subsequently enacted. According to Mr. MacKenzie, Councilwoman McColl's votes were evidence of support for further multifamily development in North Park.

While it's true the new community plan provides for continued construction of apartments and condominiums, Mr. MacKenzie may not be aware that overall densities were reduced significantly. Under the plan, higher-density development will be encouraged in central portions of North Park, while the single-family character of other areas is preserved.

Emergency action by the council to implement residential rezonings after adoption of the community plan was essential to protect North Park from continued development inconsistent with the new plan. The intent of the emergency ordinance was certainly not to give blanket approval to new development.

I share Mr. MacKenzie's frustration over the inadequate level of public facilities and services in North Park, Normal Heights and other communities, and I am amazed and appalled at the multitude of apartment and condominium projects built in peaceful, charming neighborhoods, without regard to appropriate scale or design and with minimal landscaping and too little parking. But the fact that the infrastructure is inadequate today doesn't mean it has to be inadequate tomorrow. And the fact that undesirable development has been permitted for years doesn't mean future projects can't be held to a higher standard.

If implementation of the Greater North Park Community Plan doesn't move North Park in the right direction far enough or fast enough, that will be cause for concern. Right now, however, I'm pretty happy that we have a new community plan that at least offers the opportunity to bring about improvements. I only wish the same were true for every community in San Diego.


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