Peninsula Planning Board supports park and firehouse proposals
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 09/30/15 - 07:10 PM | 2938 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Peninsula Community Planning Board got a pitch in September from City Councilmember Marti Emerald, who’s lobbying to put a $280 million city firehouse bond on the November 2016 ballot, as well as getting an update on a proposed pocket park on Canon Street.

“This is such a priority for our city that I really felt we needed to step up and start this (ballot) process,” Emerald told planners, adding, “We don’t want to miss an opportunity to put this issue before voters for a (required) two-thirds majority vote to build fire stations.”

The prospective citywide bond measure would fund 19 new recommended fire stations. A 2011 consultant’s report determined that population growth, as well as travel over the city’s many canyons that lengthens firefighters’ response times, places the region at risk for emergency fire coverage.

Emerald exhorted citizens and her council colleagues to “identify the (firefighting) infrastructure needs and start planning today for those needs.”

Emerald added that “30, 40 years of not prioritizing” has forced the region to have to address inadequacies in its firefighting-response system.

Emerald added she’s lobbying in favor of a bond because “this is too important for me to sit around and wait.”

The board voted unanimously to send a letter to the city endorsing a firefighting bond measure for the November 2016 ballot.

Pocket park

Also on Sept. 17, the board voted 13-0 for an advisory letter supporting creation of a park using developer impact fees already collected by the city to be put toward creation of a new pocket park on Canon Street. The site is two-thirds of an acre of city-owned land along Canon Street in Point Loma’s Roseville neighborhood at the upper end of Avenida de Portugal.

Park proponents have noted that Roseville does not have its own park despite being more densely populated than much of the rest of San Diego.

After the meeting, park proponents Don Sevrens and Jon Linney, board members speaking on their own behalves, discussed their vision for the pocket park.

“It would have winding trails, colorful and drought-tolerant plants, benches and picnic tables, monuments and placards celebrating the community’s culture and history,” Sevrens said.

“There will be a children’s area, just not one in the typical tot-lot mode. Mulch instead of grass, quiet conversations instead of team playing fields. No concrete, no restroom.”

Sevrens added that board member Nicole Burgess, also on the San Diego Bicycle Coalition, said the park is also being studied as a waypoint on an expanding bicycle network.

Conrad Wear, aide to District 2 Councilmember Lorie Zapf, told the meeting that Zapf fully supported the park and that there was money in the developer fees account available for it, with no competition from other conceivable projects.

Linney concurred with Sevrens in noting, “’We need a park instead of condos. This will be a park that we can all be proud of and all can enjoy, from toddlers to older folks.”

Board member Bruce Coons introduced the motion to support using $830,000 in developer fees for the park.

But not everyone has been all in on the proposed Canon Street Park concept.

Some neighbors on Canon Street have expressed concern that the park, as well-intentioned as it might be, could draw undesirables and become problematic. They’ve also questioned where funds to maintain the park will come from.

Board member David Dick has also expressed caution in using all available funds for this one proposed project. He suggested it might be wise to do an assessment of other conceivable community needs before committing all available funding to this one proposed project.

In other matters:

• PCPB planners also heard from a roomful of Peninsulans upset about the SoCal Metroplex Study, a regional airport document seeking to improve efficiency and cut fuel costs of airports. Some believe the study, if enacted, could compromise the Peninsula, adding noise, visual and other alleged “pollutants.”

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