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SAN DIEGO —
San Diego approved a long-awaited new growth blueprint for Barrio Logan Tuesday that aims to make the community healthier by separating residents from the shipping industry, adding several parks and allowing many new projects.
The plan, which the City Council approved unanimously, comes seven years after local business groups overturned a similar effort with a successful citywide referendum. It’s the first update to the community’s growth plan since 1978.
“The city has desperately needed to update Barrio Logan’s land use and zoning for decades because of the incompatible uses that existed right next to each other,” said Councilmember Vivian Moreno, who represents the area. “It protects our residents from exposure to pollution, plans for future increases in density and ensures that amenities like parks and transportation infrastructure will be built.”
In addition to calling for eight new parks and stronger connections to Chollas Creek Regional Park and the Bayshore Bikeway, the 142-page plan calls for greenspace “freeway lids” over Interstate 5 that would connect to Logan Heights.
The plan also calls for more community gardens to boost access to healthy food, which is often a challenge in San Diego’s low-income neighborhoods.
Such efforts will help reverse some of the impacts of what City Council President Sean Elo-Rivera calls “environmental racism” that Barrio Logan has suffered, including decisions to allow polluting industrial businesses to locate near residents.
The plan creates a 65-acre buffer zone between housing areas and the nearby shipping industry where any new or expanded industrial uses are prohibited.
The zone is bounded by Harbor Drive and Main Street to the south, Newton Avenue and Boston Avenue to north, Chollas Creek to the east and Evans Street to the west.
One of San Diego’s most culturally rich neighborhoods, Barrio Logan is just south of downtown and just east of San Diego Bay. The new plan aims to guide development in the area over the next 20 to 30 years.
Elo-Rivera said words like equity and environmental racism sometimes get used too often or too loosely, but they apply to Barrio Logan because different decisions would have been made if the nearby residents were White.
Mark Steele, chair of the local community planning group, said the plan is a remarkable compromise between residents, the shipping industry and environmental advocates.
“It ensures a stable and healthy future for Barrio Logan for the first time and puts an end to environmental degradation while continuing to support the working waterfront,” he said.
Moreno credited her predecessor, former Councilmember David Alvarez, with helping the neighborhood boost its political clout seven years ago by establishing its first community planning group.
The shipping industry also praised the new plan.
Derry Pence, president of the Port of San Diego Ship Repair Association, said it will create certainty for residents and businesses by setting a firm path for growth and development. The Port Commission also endorsed the plan.
The new growth blueprint, formally called a community plan update, would triple the number of housing units, triple the number of residents and increase the number of jobs by 30 percent.
The proposal increases the number of housing units in Barrio Logan from 1,300 to 4,000, the number of residents from 4,000 to more than 12,000, and the number of jobs from 11,200 to about 15,000.
The plan also aims to help existing residents stay in Barrio Logan with some of the strongest anti-gentrification and affordable housing policies ever proposed in San Diego.
To help current residents stay in Barrio Logan, the proposal would require developers of housing projects to make 15 percent of the units subsidized for low-income people.
To help prevent gentrification, the proposal steps up protections for existing tenants when their building would be demolished to make way for new projects. It also includes stronger hurdles to discourage converting apartments into condominiums.
Resident Marisa Garcia told the council such protections are crucial to avoiding a mass exodus of existing Barrio Logan residents.
“I’m tired of seeing my community taken over by greedy property owners who buy units only to kick out the current tenants, remodel the place and raise the rent to ridiculous prices we can’t afford,” Garcia said.
Rents and incomes are relatively low in Barrio Logan. Market rents average $778 per month compared to $2,003 citywide, while the household median income is $37,408 a year, or $3,117 a month — compared to $86,101 a year or $7,175 a month citywide.
The plan also steps up restrictions on trucks traveling through the community by extending the rules to more streets. Efforts to enforce those rules also would get a boost.
When a less ambitious version of the plan was approved by the City Council seven years ago, business groups expressed concerns it would prevent them from operating effectively or expanding. After they gathered enough signatures to place the plan on the ballot, it was overturned by a citywide referendum.
Source: This post first appeared on sandiegouniontribune.com