The EcoDistrict/Livability Workshop — hosted by a community-based think tank — was the next step in a planning process that began last year.
In 2013, several members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) visited the beach areas to collaborate with local residents to develop some concepts for making their communities more economically viable and environmentally sustainable.
“Some of (the experts’) recommendations didn’t have a whole lot of relevance,” said architect Danielle Buttacavoli in opening remarks. “But many did. That’s why we’re here, to get the public’s input and to share some of the projects we’re working on, different things we might do to positively change the community and improve the quality of life here.”
The workshop was supported by numerous Pacific Beach civic and political organizations, including Pacific Beach Planning Group (PBPG) and beautifulPB.
Architect and PB resident Ambrose Wong defined infrastructure as water, sewer, electrical and gas lines, storm drains, streets, alleys, sidewalks and crosswalks.
“We want to make all the infrastructure that’s above and below the ground more sustainable,” said Wong, adding that can be accomplished by employing water conservation and recycling, using solar and wind power and green technology.
“We can improve our streetscapes, sidewalks and medians,” said Wong, adding those changes will “positively increase business, raise property values and help us move toward a more beautiful PB.”
After opening presentations, audience members gravitated to four work stations covering such topics as community identity, urban design and sustainable infrastructure, economy and land use, and transportation. The discussion stations were chaired by community leaders, including PBPG chairman Brian Curry, Discover PB president Elvin Lai, PBPG planner Scott Chipman and PB Parking Committee member Paula Ferraco.
Community leaders discussed ideas for making PB greener, while answering questions from residents, including views on financial strategies. Such strategies might involve the creation of a Maintenance Assessment District that would require simple-majority voter approval to fund infrastructure improvements.