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College Area upzoning plan sparks debate

Residents say the plan would allow townhomes or apartment complexes in single-family home neighborhoods.

SAN DIEGO — Efforts to address the housing crisis through building hundreds of apartments and townhomes in the city has sparked debate. 

A local advocacy group, Neighbors for a Better San Diego, is saying "not in my backyard" in opposition of upzoning.

Resident Danna Givot said two plans are being considered for the College Area.

"One of them turns the single-family neighborhoods into predominantly townhomes and the other turns them into three, five, seven or nine story apartment buildings," she said.

She and others want to preserve the historic homes and don't feel the neighborhood's infrastructure could keep up with the planned growth.

"What will I do? Will I stay? Do I want to be next to a five-story apartment complex. There's parking issues, there's traffic that will be brought in here," said resident Michelle Rosco.

These concerns came to light Wednesday when the College Area Community Plan Update Committee revealed results of a neighborhood survey.

"Again when we dug into the comments, we found the majority were in opposition to those scenarios," said Nathen Causman, a community planner for San Diego.

Time and time again the charted survey showed opposition from residents.

"The pushback is huge and I'm very proud of our community. They have come together in a short period of time. They are defending their neighborhood and their way of life," Givot said. 

At the end of April, Mayor Todd Gloria released a statement explaining why more housing, and especially affordable housing, is needed to address homelessness and ensure people can continue to live in San Diego.

College Area residents said they aren't against creating more housing but don't believe it needs to be built in their neighborhood.

"We have blighted corridors especially El Cajon Blvd there's plenty of room for development," Givot said. "We don't need to upscale our single-family neighborhoods in order to accommodate more people."

A similar plan to allow townhomes in University City was proposed. Residents voiced such strong opposition that the plan was withdrawn. Many residents in the College Area are hoping for a similar situation.

The planning committee is holding a community open house June 29 on the proposed neighborhood plan for the College Area.

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