In November 2020 and on Jan. 13, 2021, Anthony White, Director of Community & Government Relations for Family Health Centers of San Diego (FHC), David Whisenhunt, Vice President of Physical Facilities, Family Health Centers of San Diego and Matthew Winter AIA, LEED AP, Director of Mixed-Use Architecture LPA introduced plans FHC has for a mixed-use project on El Cajon Boulevard, between Dayton Street and 55th Street.
The plan is for a 10-story building with two floors below ground and eight floors above, about 100 feet tall from ground level. The building will have medical offices, some retail space on the main floor, 246 parking places and 142 units of residential housing; 42 units will be for FHC resident doctors, about half of the units will be studios, the other half will be one-bedrooms with a handful of two-bedroom units.
We were told the housing would be in the affordable income ranges, but not what that range is or who the target tenant would be – though we did ask. The responses from residents at the meeting varied from liking the new development to concerns about the use of the building and that the building is too tall for the surrounding single family housing community. For perspective, the student housing near SDSU on College Avenue is six stories tall. You can look at the heights at sgpa.com/projects/sdsusouth-campus-plaza.
Family Health Centers of San Diego is one of the nation’s 10 largest Federally Qualified Health Centers. It operates 49 sites across San Diego County, providing care to over 200,000 patients each year, of whom 91% are low income and 29% are uninsured. You can read more about FHCSD at fhcsd.org.
OVERVIEW OF REVIEW PROCESS
Family Health Center Housing project:
• Project Location: 5482 El Cajon Blvd.
• East of 54th Street and north of El Cajon Blvd
• In the parking lot east of the Family Health Center Building
• College Community Planning Committee
• Project is subject to the College Area Community Plan; ECCC North is a sub-set to the CACPC
• ECCC North Covers Properties north of El Cajon Blvd up to Baja Street, East of 54th Street to College Avenue.
• Community Plan was approved in 1989 (32 yrs.) Community plan update is currently underway
Community Plan and Zoning
• Existing Community Plan encourages multi-family growth along El Cajon Blvd.
• Zoning for this project is CUPD-CU-2-4.
• Central Urbanized Planning District: Commercial Uses & MF.
• Zoning: CUPD-CU-2-4
• CUPD means Central Urbanized Planning District.
• CU 2-4 allows Commercial Uses & Multiple Family Housing.
• First 30 feet of structure must contain a commercial element.
• Density is 1 unit for every 600 square feet of lot space.
• No maximum height limitation; but Floor Area Ratio is 2.0.
• CPGs and Community Groups can form feedback for staff.
• Community Plan allows mixed use project.
• FHC project is consistent with land use designation and zoning.
• Where Community Plan and Municipal Code are in conflict, the Municipal Code takes precedence.
• Project complies with community plan and use designation; but community plan also says:
• Projects must provide a harmonious transition between the proposed use and the existing land uses.
• When a proposed project conforms to the community plan and zoning it is allowed “By Right.”
• Approval will be ministerial; that is, done by City of San Diego Planning Staff .
• Community Planning Groups do not have a codified role to offer input.
Ministerial Staff Review
• Development Services Division will provide in-house review.
• CEQA planners (from City of SD) will also have opportunity to review proposed project and comment.
• Entirely appropriate for ECCC to provide comments.
• Emphasis should be on community character, traffic impacts, transition between existing land uses.
• You can also review the City of San Diego Municipal Code for College Area and MidCity at docs.sandiego.gov/municode/MuniCodeChapte r15/Ch15Art05Division02.pdf.
—Laura Riebau writes on behalf of the El Cerrito Community Council.