June 7, 2004
CITY OF SAN DIEGO REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY
C/0, Mr. Robert Kennedy, Project Manager,
City of San Diego, Redevelopment Agency,
Community & Economic Development Department,
600 B Street, Suite 400, MS 904
San Diego, CA 92101-4506
RE: Redevelopment Agency's Executive Director's Report RA-04-17
(Regarding an exclusive negotiating agreement with AFFIRMED HOUSING GROUP for a proposed Multi-family Housing Development -- City Heights Redevelopment Project Area).
Distinguished Members of the Redevelopment Agency,
MAYOR and CITY COUNCIL:
The People of Fox Canyon [residents and the neighborhood association members] rise in strong support of AUBURN PARK Apartments, Affirmed Housing Group's [52nd and University Avenue] project.
In addition, on behalf of Affirmed Housing Group, we petition, to this Honorable Body, for the Exclusive Negotiating Agreement [ENA] to make our dreams and hard work, a reality, at this location.
As staff report will indicate, this project proposes to build seventy-three (73) units of "Work Force" housing, restore the northernmost entrance to the Auburn Creek and showcase such by building a passive [½ acre] neighborhood park, with an observation kiosk. Needless, to say, this is the first time in the history of City Heights that a developer proposes such win-win project, with such long lasting public benefits. With waterways cleaning, nature rebuilding, a restored creek, our impoverished, park-starved residents will enjoy superb accommodations and amenities for long years to come.
1. There is NO need to hammer-in the fact that the City of San Diego has a declared "Housing Crisis". Therefore, we need to find locations in which to build quality homes without contributing to build future neighborhood-wide slums. In addition, in our quest to build 'Work Force" housing, we strongly need to emphasized the sacrosanct nature, characteristics, and the need to preserve the particular scale of our long established residential neighborhoods. This proposal respects such facts. It proposes to build fronting a transit corridor with a bus top just few feet away, on vacant land, and NOT in the middle of a residential neighborhood! So there's no residents displacement and relocation cost. In addition, near-by communities will NOT be choked-off by increase traffic on residential streets. Moreover, 73 new residential units in the middle of a deteriorating but strong commercial will bring a much need infusion of new customers to a struggling business district.
2. Present land description zones these vacant parcels "Industrial". A Community Plan amendment to RESIDENTIAL will better serve the most attractive purpose for this land use, all along this section of University Avenue. With housing to the west, this proposed project would tie up the entire block, contributing to a better mix of developments. The benefit of seventy-three new housing units is more beneficial and attractive and up-weights an industrial complex next to a natural resource, Auburn Creek.
3. City Heights in general and Fox Canyon in particular are park deficient and infrastructure poor. This proposed project takes this into account and tries to incorporate public amenities as a prime committed addition to the original presentation, as staff will brief you in their report.
4. The Fox Canyon Park Committee Report (report) identified parcel # 6 as a strongly desirable park parcel to anchor the beech-head northernmost entrance to a restored Auburn Creek, a tributary to the greater Chollas Creek. A petition with 150 + signatures were delivered to Councilmember JIM MADAFFER's Office [DC7], when Ellen was his Council Rep to Fox Canyon.
*** Please, see top of attached map, right-side corner ***
4. The report also calls for an Information/ Community Center at this location (parcel 6) to appreciate and observed the restored creek, the feel and views of the open space and the fabulous vistas afforded from this vintage point, a treasure worth preserving. A worthwhile redevelopment for tourist to come and see, and observe an urban treasure salvaged from the mist of abandonment, shopping carts, trash, pollution, urban decay and gone crazy sprawl.
5. In minor scale, all these mentioned amenities are incorporated into this project to accommodate the housing units. In addition, the project seats just below the Buddhist Temple, the greatest architectural and artistic treasure on this part of Chollas Creek [City Heights]. If done, as this preliminary report calls for, this project will also be a treasure for City Heights, and the jump-start for the Fox Canyon Park System on this side of the map.
It is our deepest and stronger prayer that Affirmed Housing Group be-given the ENA to help accomplish this visionary, far-reaching and unique proposal at 52nd Street and University Avenue. Land Acquisition and plan amendments are very difficult to get. However, they are not impossible, to accomplish, when we have an entire neighborhood, Community and local Leaders coming together with pure public benefit in mind, with courageous and visionary leadership and the hearken spirit of compromise.
Fox Canyon has done its part, so far, by greatly compromising the size of a wanted and badly needed park, to accommodate and accept the housing units.
The Developer compromised by including in the project a smaller park, by agreeing to restore the Auburn Creek, at this location and by enlarging the community room (center), as petitioned by the community. In addition, the Developer repositioned the housing units to respect the view corridor of Fox Canyon as Auburn creek meanders through it. This is a treasure in the making.
I can only hope that you will see why we so strongly support this project. We strongly need your compromising support to accomplish our vision and our dreams.
Jose Lopez, President