Midway planners share frustration over illegal vehicle encampments
Published - 03/26/14 - 03:45 PM | 12694 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The newly rechristened Midway Community Planning Group in March heard about illegal vehicle encampments and an ambitious “urban trail” proposal.

Previously called the North Bay Community Planning Group, the advisory group was told by the city it has gotten the necessary approvals to operate once again under its original name of the Midway Community Planning Group.

The planners told San Diego police Lt. Natalie Stone about the vexing and growing problem of illegal and often makeshift encampments throughout the neighborhood.

“On Hancock Street and Channel Way, there are a lot of campers and even people living in their cars with motorhomes on both sides of the street,” said board member Cathy Kenton. “I have compassion for these people but they’re really blighting the area.”

Chairwoman Melanie Nickel said there are existing “no parking” signs in the area and that it’s illegal to park there between 2 and 5 a.m., suggesting the need for better enforcement.

Stone urged planners and residents to report illegal encampments or problems with the homeless, noting officers will respond, but they need documentation to know how best to respond.

“We have a strong working relationship with code-compliance officers,” said Stone, noting that specific city department is required to notice and post illegal encampments, giving people 24-plus-hour notice before police are allowed to come in and “remove their stuff.”

Stone can be reached at nstone@pd.sandiego.gov.

Andy Hamilton, vice-chairman at Circulate San Diego, a nonprofit organization that advocates making walking, bicycling and public transit more available to San Diegans, gave a slideshow. His presentation included conceptual lines drawn on a neighborhood map to show where a prospective bicycling/walking urban trail might thread its way through the community.

The motivating factor behind the urban trail is to link Mission and San Diego bays, Hamilton said.

“The reason is to give certain neighborhoods more of an identity, open up economic opportunities and offer a healthy recreational activity while reducing crime and increasing safety for bicycle users,” he said.

Hamilton’s proposal drew an initial adverse reaction from Midway planners.

“That’s a really bad idea. It’s an industrial area with trucks coming and going and there’s no place to go even with sidewalks there,” said Denton.

Nickel agreed.

“You have people backing out into the street constantly and it’s very dangerous,” she said.

Board member Victor Ravago was of similar mind.

“We have a long list of priorities for our community and that is not amongst the top five,” he said.

Vice chairman Kurt Sullivan suggesting time might be better spent finding ways to reconfigure Sports Arena Boulevard and Pacific Highway for creation of a non-motorized trail rather than meandering through industrial side streets.


• District 2 City Council spokeswoman Tracy Cambre said 19 candidates have filed to temporarily fill the seat vacated by now-Mayor Kevin Faulconer and that a council appointment is expected April 15. A new, full-term District 2 councilmember will be seated this December. “The candidates will be vetted and a replacement chosen April 14-15,” said Cambre, noting candidates’ credentials are being vetted by the City Clerk’s Office.

• Cambre said a new city ordinance allowing medical marijuana dispensaries in industrial zones is expected to take effect in April. Two audience members announced their intent to apply for medical marijuana dispensaries in the Midway area once new city regulations are in place.

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