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Council OKs Downtown Blueprint

Following a marathon session, the San Diego City Council on Feb. 28 approved the updated Downtown Community Plan, establishing a framework for development over the next 25 years.

Last revised in 1992, the plan is designed to guide future land-use decisions, while being able to adapt to changing market demands, according to the Centre City Development Corp., which oversees Downtown redevelopment for the city.

Hal Sadler, former chairman of the CCDC board, has played a leading role in the plan update process.

“It will be our bible for the next 25 years, and give us direction and leadership with a whole goody bag needed to accomplish what needs to be done,” he said in a recent interview.

But Councilwoman Donna Frye, who with Councilman Jim Madaffer cast the dissenting votes Tuesday, said that she had wanted more time to consider the voluminous document.

“This was a lot of reading to do,” said Frye in an interview March 1. “I did it, and I feel like I just scratched the surface. It takes a little bit of time for the brain to assimilate.”

But, she said, more time was not an option.

“This is the one and only City Council meeting we have had on this,” said Frye. “It would have been reasonable to allow for at least one workshop, or two or three, before the final vote. I didn’t get any support for that notion. The feeling was that, after almost four years, it was time to do it. But I don’t think another week would have crippled anybody.”

Frye also said that some people are concerned about possible encroachment to their property, development next to industrial sites, and that water quality could be degraded.

“The stage is now set,” said Frye. “I don’t know how willing people will be to work through any of this. I expect lawsuits to be filed.”

Madaffer, in an interview, said that he had been concerned about the last-minute tweaking being done to a plan that has been almost four years in the making.

“This city has found itself in far too many difficulties with the pension crisis and budget crisis, because decisions are made when elected officials are told by staff to ‘trust me,'” he said. “I am not going to just sit up there on the council dais and take ‘just trust me.’ If there is no backup or facts, don’t expect my vote.”

Councilman Kevin Faulconer, whose district includes Downtown San Diego, and who voted for the plan, was not immediately available for comment.

, Pat Broderick


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