LAND USE AND PLANNING

LWVSD supports planning policies that will produce well-planned communities.
Position In Brief: 

LWVSD supports planning policies that will produce well-planned communities. Local governmental bodies should promote citizen participation in the formulation and implementation of these plans. (1991) 

Urban Development 

Urban Renewal: City governments have the responsibility for planning, influencing and implementing sound community development on a comprehensive, long-range and flexible basis. In order to prevent and cure urban deterioration, local government should become involved in local programs, provide adequate funds to enforce the municipal housing code, encourage private participation in projects, and support activities to promote public understanding of rehabilitation and renewal. 

Development should be based on criteria considering community’s needs, financial soundness, and aesthetic and social needs. 

Flexible land use controls should be used to meet specific planning problems and to encourage variety in land uses and in the types and prices of housing in all city neighborhoods. (1971) 

Government should support measures to prevent and cure urban deterioration. Measures should include the development and/or renovation of the existing urban area before new areas are opened for development and encouraging the involvement of both government and private interests. (1972) Long-term leases should be favored over the sale of city-owned land. (1979) 

Citizen Participation: Committees representative of the entire city should participate in planning for newly developing communities. 

Laws: All laws relating to planning and zoning should be compiled into a single reference source. The application of state law to local planning and zoning should be clarified by city charter revision and adoption of regulations by local ordinance. 

Community Development: Sound community development should first meet a community need and then be evaluated with the following criteria: 

 

  • allow for needed change; 
  • consider the unique population for the community; 
  • contribute to an aesthetically pleasing environment; 
  • be financially feasible; 
  • contribute to pride in the community; 
  • promote the opportunity for the inclusion throughout the community of various ethnic, minority and economic groups; 
  • take into consideration the physical nature of the community. 

 

Center City Development 

The League of Women Voters of San Diego supports the revitalization of the downtown area of San Diego. Development of the center city should be pursued with an emphasis on human concerns. The goal should be a 24 hour community including: 

 

  • a variety of housing for all income levels; 
  • office and government buildings; 
  • commercial services for downtown residents and workers; 
  • unique commercial opportunities such as a farmer’s market, shops in historic buildings, restaurants, cultural facilities; 
  • aesthetically planned open space offering opportunities both for recreation and for passive pursuits, such as mini-parks, and a well landscaped waterfront; 
  • provision of services appropriate to the needs of the residents. 

 

A transportation system for center city should be planned in conjunction with a regional system. Mini-buses are a desirable means of transportation within center city. (1978) LWVSD Positions 2017 18 

Parking: Parking requirements for commercial and office buildings should be established to coordinate with a regional transportation system, in order to ease transportation problems within center city. (1984) 

Master Plan: Development of the center city should follow a master plan in order to provide cohesion among projects. The master plan should be formulated with community and citizen involvement, using realistic cost estimates and employing sound fiscal planning. Design criteria consistent with the urban plan and a size adequate to accommodate the desired function are crucial for a public facility. Development may be encouraged through speeding the permit process and through tax incentives. Large-scale demolition and land clearance are not desirable. Preservation of old buildings could be encouraged through tax incentives and selective code relaxation. Present residents should not be displaced from center city. Relocating individuals within the center city who have been displaced by urban renewal is ultimately the responsibility of city government. (1984) 

County Land Use 

LWV of San Diego County Position on Land Use (1975 ) Support of a regional growth policy for the county which: 

1. recognizes the difference in community needs for life-support systems; 

2. assures the provision of comprehensively planned and managed capital facilities and general services, including schools and transportation, accessibility to jobs, and which minimizes urban sprawl and maintains established patterns of growth and community identity within an area; 

3. implements community planning as defined by State law and allows maximum citizen participation and self-determination in community planning and decision making; 

4. promotes conservation of critical natural resources, including valuable agricultural lands and open space, and protects or improves air and water quality; 

5. reaffirms the provision of adequate parks and recreational needs, including land acquisition; 

6. enforces the provision of fair, decent, balanced housing by choice, type and costs for all residents of San Diego County. 

Parks 

LWVSD Position on Parks 

Local government has the responsibility to provide a public park system for its citizens. Planning should include evaluation of all available methods of acquiring and retaining parklands. There should be improved procedures for citizen participation in decisions regarding the park system. (before 1971) City government should employ a qualified individual, whose sole responsibility is to promote and coordinate the various facets of parklands, excluding recreation. (1983) LWVSD Positions 2017 19 

 

Parkland Acquisition: In evaluating methods of financing parkland acquisition, additional bonding should be considered; assessment districts should be used as a last resort. (before 1971) 

Parklands should be acquired early and city governments should implement the ordinance requiring a builder to contribute money or land appropriate for parks. (before 1971). 

Adequate parks and recreation programs should provide for current needs, with long-range planning and acquisition for population growth, and with improved coordination and cooperation between governmental agencies. (1968 and 1984) The League supports the continuation of development of local park and recreational facilities with emphasis on providing services to those areas that currently are deficient. (1991) In order to prevent loss of parklands, local government should provide for dedication of parks at the time of acquisition or designation. (1976) 

City charters should not give the city council authority to place through roads in parks, retaining the need for a vote by 2/3 of the electorate to use parklands for a non-park purpose such as through roads or mass transit. Similarly, open space owned by a city and acquired for park purposes should also be dedicated and protected from use for through roads or mass transit. (1976) Streets should be vacated as a means of adding to parkland. (1976) Parkland, including open space acquired for park purposes, should not be used for long-term leasing to non-profit recreational organizations or to commercial enterprises. (1983) 

Citizens should participate in the formation of park policy with improved procedures for making their needs and recommendations known to those responsible for making final recommendations and policy. (1983) 

Sweetwater Marsh (1991) 

LWVSD supports the restoration, enhancement, preservation, and the protection of the wetlands within the Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge. Maximum public access to the area that is consistent with the preservation of the wetlands should be available. 

Balboa Park (2011) 

LWVSD supports the preservation and enhancement of the cultural, recreational and passive resources of Balboa Park to meet the needs of the surrounding community and region while respecting its physical, cultural and historical environment. The pueblo lands set aside as a permanent preserve should be held in trust forever for the purpose of a free and public park and not for other purposes. 

League supports: 

 

  • the expansion of parking facilities outside the core of the park in order to enhance the pedestrian experience within the park. A comprehensive tram system should ensure accessibility for people with disabilities, seniors and families with small children. 
  • fiscal decisions that will preserve Balboa Park as an affordable experience for all citizens of San Diego. 
  • preservation of the historic aspect of the architecture, landscape and culture of Balboa Park including plant preservation, maintenance and replacement with no net loss of landscape and open space. 
  • public access to meetings and to information regarding the operations and activities of the Balboa Park Conservancy and/or any other public/private park management and funding organization acting for the City with the goal of meeting the highest standard in transparency and accountability. 
  • inclusion of a sunset provision in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which would require regular review and renewal of a conservancy. 

LWV of San Diego County Position on Parks (1973) 

  • Support of the provision of regional and local parks and recreation facilities for all the residents of San Diego County whether they live in an incorporated or unincorporated community. 
  • Support of an equitable, broadly based method of financing for parks and recreation. All methods of acquisition should be considered. 
  • Support of the acquisition of park and recreation lands before or concurrent with development. 
  • Facilities should be provided according to need, with reasonable accessibility. 
  • Support of efficiency of administration. 

Port of San Diego 

LWVSD Position on the San Diego Unified Port District (1991, 2015) 

  • The San Diego Unified Port District should include protection of the natural environment as a primary responsibility, emphasize recreation for the general public, maintain a balance of maritime commerce and other business, and be accountable and responsive to the member cities and to the public. 
  •  The Port District Act of 1962 should be amended to include protection of the natural environment as a primary responsibility. 
  •  Recreation for the general public, free or at minimal cost, should have high priority in decisions about the use of the port and waterways. 
  • Member cities should share in surplus funds of the District. 
  • Commissioners should be appointed by the city councils of member cities. The optimal number of commissioners is seven, with three commissioners representing San Diego and one commissioner each for the cities of Chula Vista, Coronado, Imperial Beach and National City. 

Transportation 

The LWVSD supports a transportation system that meets the following standards: 

 an expanded public transit system, although priority should be given to the maintenance of streets and freeways with new construction only where essential; 

 

transit innovations with the possibility of additional fares for special (such as door-to door) services; and 

  • the encouragement of vehicle pooling. 

The increased costs of an expanded public transit system should continue to be shared between governmental subsidies and the fare box. Local revenue is preferred in the following order: increased gasoline tax, general fund, payroll tax, and sales tax. A decrease in service should only be considered when necessary for overall efficiency. 

Decisions on local public transit service should be made locally and decisions on regional public transit services should be made on a regional basis with coordination and cooperation among the decisions-making bodies. 

Social Service Transit: The public transit system should bear the major responsibility for providing social service transit for the elderly and handicapped in the most cost-effective manner. LWVSD supports the cooperation of all agencies (public and private) that provide social service transit and the integration of their planning functions. (1980) 

LWV of San Diego County Position on Transportation 

Support of a transportation system that meets the following standards: 

  • safety; 
  • favorable environmental qualities; 
  • convenience; 
  • availability to all; 
  • adequate funding from fees, assessments and taxes at all levels of government. 

Support of transportation plans as an integral part of land use plans. 

Support of transportation planning and decision making as the responsibility of a regional planning organization, structured to be responsive and responsible to the public. 

Objectives: 

1. Public and private educational transit systems that meet safety standards with regular inspections. 

2. Transportation plans that consider the environment including air quality and sensitive lands. 

3. Convenient access to transportation systems. 

4. Transportation systems supported largely from general funds, with consideration given to all appropriate funding alternatives. 

5. Land use planning by all local governments that considers transportation and circulation with the goal of minimizing motor vehicle traffic. 

6. Transportation standards that are set at the regional level and that consider all modes of transportation. 

7. Local transportation planning that considers the larger region in which it is situated. 

Sewerage 

LWVSD Position on Sewerage (1992) Support for the formation of a special district for the collection treatment, storage, disposal, and reuse systems. 

Support for the use of sewage as a factor in determining growth management strategy by city, county and regional governments. 

International Border 

LWVSD Position on San Diego/Tijuana Inter-Relations (1982) 

The LWVSD strongly favors efforts to foster greater communication, understanding, and cooperation between San Diego and Tijuana; all levels of government should be involved. The areas in which there is the most urgent need for cooperation are sewage and water quality. 

Agriculture 

LWV of San Diego County Position on Agriculture in San Diego (2016) The League of Women Voters of San Diego County believes that the county agricultural industry is of historical, environmental and economic importance to our region. The county possesses unique and separate properties and challenges that differ from the rest of California and the United States. The arid nature of its climate, lack of water sources and high land costs present a special challenge to agriculture in our region. Support the preservation and expansion of land used for agricultural purposes through (a) adopted General and Specific Plans; b) zoning, and c) permanent dedication programs in order to encourage the long-term presence and viability of the agricultural industry in an environmentally sound manner. 

Challenges to Agriculture in San Diego County 

Water Encourage farmers to improve water conservation, selection of crops appropriate for our climate and end all runoff of pesticides, insecticides and fertilizers from their fields and groves, as currently recommended by the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Division (UC ANR). In addition, local governments and water districts, as well as the San Diego County Water Authority (/SDCWA) should be encouraged to facilitate ever evolving best agricultural water practices recommended by UC ANR, or similar organizations, through incentives and innovative programs. 

Support the availability and use of recycled water for a dependable, sustainable source of agricultural water. 

Monitor the implementation of the 2013 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act goals 

because groundwater, which may represent 9% of our regional water source, needs to be 

preserved and protected from contaminants. 

Continue support of the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) programs and pricing that facilitate the provision of regional agricultural water, when appropriate. 

Climate Change 

Support efforts of the county agricultural industry to adapt to climate change through 

promotion of research, development of new resources and implementation of environmentally sensitive technologies and conservation strategies. 

Pests and Diseases 

Support government and privately funded efforts to protect the agricultural industry and the environment from pests and diseases. Such programs include the University of California integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program and the California Detector Dog Teams. 

Pollinator Protection 

Support Efforts to protect, maintain and foster a sustainable, healthy population of bees and other pollinators to support county agriculture. 

Labor 

Support immigration policies at the local, state and federal levels which allow for a legal labor force to work in local agriculture. 

Opportunities 

  • Support new alternative water use farming practices and technologies which result in long term, sustainable, efficient water use. 
  • Support research on, and implementation of, sustainable agricultural practices at all levels including production, processing, distribution, consumption and waste management 
  • Support an understanding and awareness of the concept and value of sustainable agriculture both within the agricultural community and among the public. 
Issues: 
League to which this content belongs: 
San Diego