Projects

“Living Under the Airport Flight Path” — Uptown News Article

Living under the airport flight path

 

 

Living Under The Airport Flight Path

By Leo Wilson

If you reside in Bankers Hill, people will often ask: “How bad is the airplane noise?” or “Do you live under the airplane flight path?”

Almost all of Bankers Hill is under a flight path that leads to San Diego International Airport (SDIA). It is one of the defining features of Bankers Hill; in most areas you can look up and see airplanes flying overhead, often at a very low altitude.

Even if you don’t see the airplanes, you can hear them — often loudly, even when you are indoors. Excessive airplane noise and flight path safety concerns are a prominent feature of land-use planning in Bankers Hill. Often buildings must incorporate noise attenuation measures, and building heights and certain types of land uses are restricted in some areas.

There are actually two distinct airport flight paths overlaying Bankers Hill. Both are under the jurisdiction of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and are subject to other federal, state and local agency regulations as well.

  1. Main SDIA Flight Path:This flight path passes east-west over southern and central Bankers Hill. It overlays about two-thirds of Bankers Hill, particularly the area south of Laurel Street. The SDIA Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan (ALUCP) is the major policy document regulating this flight path.

The ALUCP was adopted pursuant to state law, and is incorporated into San Diego’s current General Plan. It requires the city minimize excessive aircraft-related noise when it effects residential and other noise sensitive areas, and limits the height of buildings and certain type of land uses allowed under the SDIA flight path.

Pursuant to the ALUCP, proposed development projects under the flight path must be reviewed by the local Airport Authority to determine if they are consistent with the ALUCP. A determination of inconsistency by the Airport Authority will stop a project, unless it is overridden by a two-thirds vote of the San Diego City Council — which must make a specific finding that the proposed project will protect the public health, safety and welfare; and minimize excessive noise and safety hazards in areas around the airport.

A separate city regulation that also applies to the main flight path is the city’s Airport Approach Overlay Zone (AAOZ), which creates a 50-foot buffer zone under the FAA flight path. The AAOZ completely prohibits any new development intruding into the AAOZ buffer zone. It has no exceptions, but does not apply to the first 30 feet from ground level.

After its adoption in the 1990s, the city failed to enforce the AAOZ. The Bankers Hill/Park West Community Association, which I chaired, demanded it be applied and enforced during the approval process of several controversial projects in Bankers Hill beginning in 2004.

  1. Small Plane Flight Path:This flight path passes north-south, and is used by small planes to land at SDIA — which, in most cases, are not permitted to use the main flight path.

Small planes arrive from the north, and fly south through Bankers Hill above Fourth/Fifth/Sixth avenues and Balboa Park. They then make a sharp west turn when they arrive at the main SDIA flight path, and proceed to land at the airport. Often these small planes fly only a couple hundred feet above the ground when utilizing this flight path. Many residents and those working in tall buildings in Bankers Hill wave to the pilots as they fly by at very low altitudes.

This north-south flight path is part of the FAA 14 CFR Path 77 “horizontal surface” flight path, and is regulated primarily by the FAA. It begins at approximately 160-170 feet above the ground surface in north Bankers Hill.

Any proposed project that may impact this FAA flight path is required to obtain a consistency determination from the FAA prior to being approved. The FAA determines whether the proposed project creates a potential obstruction to air space, or if it creates a visual or electronic interference with air navigation.

The airport safety regulations that apply to Bankers Hill are complex, but are a necessary and vital part of protecting Bankers Hill, as well as the public-at-large, and contribute to making Bankers Hill a vibrant, urban community.

— Leo Wilson is administrator for Metro San Diego CDC and is a Bankers Hill resident.

 

Olive Street Park — KUSI Turko File Reports

On December 5, 2017, the consultants hired by the city to design the Olive Street Park site, KTU+A, will make a presentation at Uptown Planners.  The future park will be named the “Woods/McKee Park” after the family that donated the land almost 100 years ago.  Below are three investigative reports by renowned  KUSI Reporter, Michael Turko, who played a major role in the process of demanding the land donated by the Woods/McKee family finally used for its intended purpose — a public park.

 

Original Turko Story from 2008:

 

Turko Story from 2010:

 

 

Turko from 2014:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waldo D. Waterman Park Ribbon-Cutting — Pictures

The Waldo D. Waterman Park was dedicated on Wednesday, October 25, 2017.  Speakers at the event were Councilmember Chris Ward; Herman D. Parker, Director of Park and Recreation, City of San Diego; James Kidrick, President/CEO San Diego Air & Space Museum.

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Here is a brief biography of Waldo D. Waterman:

 

WALDO D. WATERMAN

BANKERS HILL’S FAMOUS AVIATOR 

by Leo Wilson

On October 25, 2017, the “Waldo D. Waterman Park” will be dedicated.  The new park is at the corner of Maple Street and Albatross Street, and overlooks Maple Canyon.  On July 1, 1909, less than six years after the famed Wright brothers flight at Kitty Hawk, 15-year old Waldo Waterman flew a homemade hang glider from off the south rim of Maple Canyon into the canyon bottom. Some sources say he “swooped” into the canyon.  He actually made several flights, before returning to his garage and working on a plane with an engine. The spot he took off from on the canyon rim is included within the new park that is named after him.

The 9,000 square foot park site was formerly known as the “West Maple Canyon Mini-Park.”  On May 18, 2017, at the request of Uptown Planners, it was renamed after Waldo Waterman.  For over a decade it had been assumed the park would be named after Waterman.  On May 18, 2007, the Bankers Hill/Park West Community Association included it as part of its recommendations for how the new park should be designed. The recommendations also requested that: “A historic image of Waldo Waterman should be placed in the center of the site to commemorate the historic figure.”

That historic image will be an existing plaque that was placed at the west end of the park site on July 1, 1959, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Waterman’s flight. The plaque was placed by the “Early Birds of Aviation”, a national aviation organization, and the San Diego Historical Society.  The mayor of San Diego and other dignitaries were in attendance, as was Waldo Waterman himself, who spoke at the event.  The day prior, Waterman, who was still a licensed pilot, flew again over Maple Canyon.

In 1911, shortly after his first flight, Waterman became involved in a project to develop a new hybrid airplane/car/boat – know as the “whatsit” airplane. An owner could: “drive his amphibian aircraft away from the landing field or water.”  It got its name because when people first viewed it, their initial question was: “What is it”?  Waterman worked on the project for several decades, but eventually it was abandoned and the prototype plane donated to the Smithsonian Museum.  Waterman went on to become a TWA pilot, but at the same time continued his inventive work in aviation.

Waldo Waterman was not the only famed aviator associated with Bankers Hill.  In May 1927, a young 25-year old aviator left his temporary residence on Maple Street in Bankers Hill, only a few blocks east of Waldo Waterman Park, and flew a small plane that had been manufactured in San Diego to Paris.  His name was Charles Lindbergh.

The dedication of Waldo D. Waterman Park will take on October 25, 2017, from 10:30-11:00 p.m., at the park site.  There were dozens of people in Bankers Hill that helped make this park happen; and thanks to everyone involved.

Here are pictures of the new park:

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Metro San Diego CDC Letter Re: Relocation of 14 DecoBike Bike Share Stations to Uptown

METRO
SAN DIEGO CDC

536 Maple Street, No. 103

San Diego, California 92103

(619) 822-5103

 

October 23, 2017
Ahmad Erikat, Brian Genovese

City of San Diego | Transportation & Storm Water Department

Transportation Engineering Operations Division

1010 Second Avenue, Suite 800, MS 608

San Diego, CA 92101

 

Dear Mr. Erikat & Mr. Genovese:

The Metro San Diego Community Development Corporation (“Metro San Diego CDC”) is a non-profit organization with representation from over 20 full blocks of property and business owners in the Uptown communities of Bankers Hill/Park West, the Hillcrest Commercial Core, and Five Points/Middletown. Both the Bankers Hill Business Group and Five Points/Middletown Business Association are affiliated with the Metro San Diego CDC, as well as are several local community associations.

At its October 16, 2017 meeting, the Metro San Diego CDC discussed the proposal to relocate 14 DecoBike stations from the Beach area to Uptown.  The Metro San Diego CDC found the proposed relocation puzzling.  Uptown has some of the lowest ridership per DecoBike station in the City of San Diego.  It appears on average the number of daily DecoBike rentals in Uptown is between one and two rides a day per station.  There is one station (#186) in Uptown that has not had a bike rented from it in all of 2017. Four stations have an average of less than one bike rental per day.  The normal business practice is to increase the supply of a product where there is a high demand; yet DecoBike is moving 14 of its stations from areas where they had a relatively higher ridership, to Uptown with possibility the lowest ridership in the city.

The Metro San Diego CDC passed the following motion regarding the proposed relocation of 14 DecoBike stations from the Beach area into Uptown:

1.) The Metro San Diego CDC opposes relocating the 14 DecoBike stations to Uptown, as the existing Uptown DecoBike stations are badly underutilized. This is a very poor business decision; the stations should be relocated into areas with high existing ridership, several of which exist outside of the Beach communities;

2.) The Metro San Diego CDC strongly opposes DecoBike stations being placed in locations that will result in the loss of existing street parking.  Several of the proposed stations are at sensitive locations in business districts; where there already is a critical shortage of parking.  In particular, the Metro San Diego CDC requests the following five proposed stations be removed from consideration for DecoBike stations, as each will result in the loss of two parking spaces or a parking space and a commercial loading zone:

+ Fifth Avenue & Washington Street;

+ Fifth Avenue & Pennsylvania Street;

+ Third Avenue & Washington Street;

+ Fifth Avenue & Nutmeg Street;

+ Park Boulevard & Cypress Street;

3.) The Metro San Diego CDC also strongly opposes the placement of two DecoBike stations on the east side of Sixth Avenue at the curb along Balboa Park. It has been the existing policy of the City to not allow commercial advertising in Balboa Park.  The two proposed Sixth Avenue Stations, at Sixth Avenue & Nutmeg Street and Sixth Avenue and Fir Street, will have advertising, so will violate this policy. They will also compromise the attractiveness of the park viewshed.

Sincerely yours,

Michael Seidel

President,

Metro San Diego CDC

 

 

Metro San Diego CDC Letter Regarding the Conceptual Design of the San Diego AIDS Memorial

METRO

SAN DIEGO CDC

536 Maple Street, No. 103

San Diego, California 92103

(619) 822-5103

 

October 19, 2017

 

Dear Co-Chairs & Members of the AIDS Memorial Task Force:

As a result of an online design competition, a preferred conceptual design for the San Diego AIDS Memorial was put forward in early October 2017.  The proposed conceptual design will be considered for adoption by the San Diego AIDS Task Force at a future meeting. The San Diego AIDS Memorial will be placed within the Olive Street Park (“Woods McKee Park”) in Bankers Hill.

The Metro San Diego Community Development Corporation (“Metro San Diego CDC”) reviewed and discussed the proposed preferred conceptual design at its October 16, 2017 meeting.  Metro San Diego CDC members have been involved in the planning and development of the Olive Street Park for over a decade.  The proposed park consists of a northern parcel, which was donated to the City of San Diego over a decade ago by the Woods-McKee family for use as a park, and a southern parcel purchased by the City of San Diego in 2010. Both parcels together will become the future “Woods-McKee Park.”

The City of San Diego, because of limited funding, had indicated that the design/construction of the Olive Street Park would not take place until after about 2026.  However, as a result of the sale of the Truax House property in 2017, funds were obtained to begin the immediate design and construction of the future Olive Street Park, conditioned on the placing of the San Diego AIDS Memorial within the new park. The Metro San Diego CDC endorsed the placement of the AIDS Memorial in the Olive Street Park in a letter dated October 27, 2016.

The Metro San Diego CDC, after reviewing the preferred conceptual design of the San Diego AIDS Memorial, approved the following motion by a vote of 17-0:

1.) The Metro San Diego CDC is very favorably impressed with the preferred conceptual design, particularly that of the northern parcel and its cantilevered canyon lookout;

2.) As the AIDS Memorial was intended to be a memorial placed in a community park; the Metro San Diego CDC requests that the AIDS Task Force honor its previous commitment to not use more than 25% of the land within the proposed Olive Street Park for the AIDs Memorial.  This could be done through utilizing the preferred conceptual design for the northern parcel of the proposed park; while the southern parcel would be utilized for community park use;

3.) The Metro San Diego CDC recommends the proposed memorial path on the southern parcel with boulders with “names engraved of those lost” be removed from the preferred design concept.  The memorial path would be in close proximity to the neighborhood play structure, and having a memorial walk/memorialized rocks next to the children’s playground is inappropriate.  The memorial path and rocks should be relocated to the northern parcel;

4.) The proposed parking within the proposed park’s footprint along the west side of Third Avenue should be removed. It reduces the size of the future park, and there is already street parking on Third Avenue, as well as additional parking a few blocks away in Balboa Park;

5.) The medium tree in middle of Third Avenue is not part of the proposed park, and should not be included as part of the memorial.   It is unknown who has jurisdiction over medium with the tree, whether it’s the City of San Diego or an adjacent private property owner.

The Metro San Diego CDC again expresses it support for the AIDS Memorial being placed in Olive Street Park, and is very impressed with the preferred design conceptual, with the suggested modifications stated above.

Sincerely yours,

B. Michael Seidel

B. Michael Seidel, President,

Metro San Diego CDC

 

 

Metro San Diego CDC Supports the Approval of the Truax House Tentative Map

METRO

SAN DIEGO CDC

536 Maple Street, No. 103

San Diego, California 92103

(619) 822-5103

 

May 16, 2017

Honorable Chair Stephen Haase and Members of the City of San Diego Planning Commission

220 C Street,

San Diego, California 92101

 

Letter of Support for Approval of the 2513 Union Street/ 540 West Laurel Tentative Map (“Truax House”):

Dear Chair Haase & Members of the Planning Commission:

This letter is written on behalf of the Metro San Diego Community Development Corporation (“Metro San Diego CDC”), whose membership is comprised of residential and commercial property owners and businesses representing over 19 full blocks of the Bankers Hill/Park West community.  The Metro San Diego CDC took an active role in early 2016 in seeking to preserve the historic Truax House, which at the time was threatened with sale and potential demolition.

A little over a year ago, on May 9, 2106, the board of directors of the Metro San Diego Community Development Corporation voted unanimously to write a letter of support for the proposal submitted by Soheil Nakhshab for the purchase and development of the Truax House property, located at the northeast corner of Union and Laurel Streets.  The project proposed by Nakhshab Development & Design will include the following features:

1.) The preservation and restoration of the historic Truax House, which played an important role in GLBT history during the early stages of the AIDS epidemic;

2.) Provides Bankers Hill with a potential community center and art gallery, as well as a possible home for a memorial to Dr. Brad Truax;

3.) Allow for potential public access easement into the Maple Canyon Open Space System, subject to the approval and agreement of adjacent hillside property owners;

Nakhshab Development & Design has followed through with its promise to preserve the Truax House, and had a historic report prepared for the site, which it used to have it historically designated.  Likewise, it has also moved forward with seeking the approval of a tentative map for the property at 2013 Union/540 West Laurel, which is before you on June 1, 2017.

The Metro San Diego CDC voted unanimously at its May 8, 2017 to strongly support the approval of the 2513 Union Street/540 West Laurel Tentative Map, and urges you to approve the tentative map at your June 1, 2017 meeting.

Sincerely yours,

Leo Wilson

Leo Wilson, Administrator

Metro San Diego CDC

 

 

Olive Street Park (“Woods McKee Park”) : Update & Background

It was almost a decade ago since the struggle began to end the misuse of the Olive Street Park site, which was donated by the Woods-McKee family in 1909 to be used for a public park, but which the city for decades allowed to be misused as a private parking lot. It took probably over 100 E-mails & other correspondence, numerous meetings with city staff and the city attorney’s office; several Uptown Planners and City Council hearings, and finally a lawsuit by the city; but it now appears Olive Street Park is on its way to becoming a city park, as originally intended almost 100 years ago.  City Engineer & Capital Projects staff and  consultants KTU+A  have been contracted to develop plans for the park, and attended the December 2016 Uptown Planners meeting.

A major catalyst for making this happen was KUSI investigative reporter Michael Turko, who did four or five stories about the issues regarding the park, and kept the public spotlight on the effort.  Three of the Turko File stories about the Olive Street Park saga are attached below.  Dorian Hargrove from the Reader also did a seminal story in 2008 which is pasted below. Also major credit goes to attorney Don Liddell, and the board of directors of the Metro San Diego CDC and the Bankers Hill/Park West Community Association, for their leading this effort.  Uptown Planners also made things happen despite opposition from the attorney for the private party using the land as a parking lot.

 

 

_______________________

METRO SAN DIEGO CDC

P.O. Box 635201

San Diego, California 92163-5201

(619) 822-5103

 

June 7, 2015

Honorable Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Members of the City Council

220 C Street, City Administrative Building

San Diego, California 92101

 

Dear Honorable Mayor and City Councilmembers:

At its April 27, 2015 meeting, the Metro San Diego Community Development Corporation passed the following motion regarding the development of the Olive Street Park (“Woods McKee Park”) located at Third Avenue and Olive Street.  The motion was passed by a unanimous vote:

(1.) As the lawsuit by the adjacent property owner on the north side of the proposed Olive Street Park has been resolved, the Metro San Diego CDC requests the City of San Diego move forward expeditiously with the planning and community outreach process for development of the proposed park.  Pursuant to City Council Policy 600-33; Uptown Planners; the local community planning group, will act as the designed park advisory body for the community outreach process.

(2.) The Metro San Diego CDC further recommends that the City of San Diego consider purchasing the building on the north side of the proposed Olive Street Park (owned by Dr. Brandon), and incorporate it into the park.  Bankers Hill/Park West generated development impact fees and any other appropriate funding sources should be utilized to purchase the property.

This is an important urban park project, located in a community with a significant amount of new development being built.

Sincerely yours,

Leo Wilson, Administrator

Metro San Diego CDC

___________________________

Banker’s Hill | City Lights

Ping-Pong Park

By Dorian Hargrove | Published Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2008

http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2008/nov/05/city-lights-2/

In the midtown community of Banker’s Hill, a convertible Mercedes drives down Olive Street straight through the intersection with Third Avenue and onto a narrow paved driveway. The car coasts past a wooden sign displaying the names of three medical offices, loops around a light post, and parks in a shady spot, under the canopy of a eucalyptus growing above the slope of Maple Canyon.

For patients and employees of the medical center and many residents of Banker’s Hill, the piece of land abutting the building, 80 feet wide by 120 feet long, is nothing more than a driveway and parking lot, flanked on one side by the low-growing shrubs in front of the building and on the other by an area covered with wood chips, recently landscaped with small trees and perennials.

But for many other residents, the land is dedicated parkland that has been mishandled by the City for the past 99 years and misused by the owner of the building for the past 45.

It began in 1909, when three families — the McKees, Fords, and Woods — donated a dusty, 16,000-square-foot plot of land that adjoined their properties, 40 percent of it in Maple Canyon, to the City of San Diego. Written on the January 20 deed are the words “forever for use as a public park.”

During the next 51 years, the land remained undeveloped, used only to access the backyards of the three neighboring properties — the Wood house to the north and the McKee and Ford houses to the south. In 1963, Dr. Milan Brandon and his land-investment firm, Beaver Investment Corporation, purchased the northern lot, overlooking Maple Canyon.

Brandon went to the City to request access to Olive Park for purposes of ingress and egress to his property and asked permission to ignore setback requirements so that his new medical building could be built up to the edge of the donated piece of land.

The City granted Brandon’s wish with one condition: the site must be maintained as a park. Brandon agreed, and on June 11, 1963, the parties signed a Revocable Encroachment Permit, granting permission to the “Permittee to landscape, develop, and maintain as and for a public park that certain parcel of land conveyed to City by deed.”

During the next decade, Brandon built his medical office from property line to property line and developed the adjacent land. He paved more than a third of it, laying down a circular driveway large enough for four parking spaces and extending the driveway to the back of his building, where cars enter the underground parking garage. He put in a wall, excavated a palm tree in favor of the light post, and planted the area in front of the building and south of the parking lot.

Michal McKee, the great-granddaughter of one of the benefactors, was a teenager when she learned about the new building and the changes made to the land. “Basically, they designed the whole building intending to use city property to park on. They paid nothing for this right; they just did it. My stepfather, back when I was a teenager, saw I was upset about this and wrote a letter to the City.”

The City’s Park and Recreation Department responded by looking into the intent of the permit and the condition of the land. In 1975, two letters were sent to Brandon informing him of the department’s concern.

“From a recent inspection of the property, it is apparent the property does not conform with the conditions of the permit,” Ed Mendoza, director of the Park and Recreation Department, wrote in his second letter to Brandon. “[It] has the appearance of being a private driveway and parking lot which was not the intent of the permit.… This is to advise that failure to comply with the terms of the permit will make it necessary to initiate action to revoke it.”

The City, however, began to question what should be done with the property. Just months after Mendoza sent his letter to Brandon, city staff recommended to the Central Area Committee (a community advisory group) that Olive Park be deleted from the park department’s inventory. According to city records, the committee considered the park too small, too close to Balboa Park, too costly, and too dangerous, as much of it was canyon slope. But after “heated and intense discussion,” the committee voted to keep the park.

Frustrated with the City’s indecision, the McKees sued the City in 1981, claiming reversionary rights on the property due to improper usage.

The court ruled in favor of the City, stating that Brandon was not in direct violation of the encroachment permit and had a right to use the land for access, as had the property owners before him. The court interpreted the words “for use as a public park” as meaning the canyon portion of the lot — despite the City’s earlier opinion that it was “dangerous.”

Upset about the defeat, McKee dropped the issue altogether. “About that time, I felt like the process was so corrupt and nothing was going to happen. I had spent the last ten years banging my head against the City wall, so I just went on with my life.”

Despite McKee’s capitulation, the City’s file on the park continued to expand. The opening line in a 1992 city memorandum on Olive Park from Olin Hughes at the property department began, “I guess it’s time for another memo-on-the-record on this subject (the property file only has six or seven in it so far).”

Two years later, the land was mentioned in a 1994 letter from Mayor Susan Golding to a concerned citizen. “I have contacted the Real Estate Assets Department…who are currently investigating the matter. If a resolution is not forthcoming, then the department is prepared to proceed with the steps necessary to revoke the permit.”

During the next ten years, no more complaints are found in the City’s file on Olive Park, and no changes were made to the land. Then in 2004, Leo Wilson, chair of Uptown Planners, an officially recognized city advisory group, noticed activity occurring in Maple Canyon. “We saw some trees go down in the canyon, and it was listed as surplus property for sale by the City. The impression we had was somebody had taken the trees down…preparing to purchase it. But because it is dedicated parkland, it requires a vote of the people. If it wasn’t for that, the property probably would have been sold.”

Wilson says that sale would have provided a larger footprint for future developers. “If the City sold one portion to them, then they could get a tall building overlooking the canyon. Eventually, you could stick in a big condo complex, and the impact on Maple Canyon would be enormous.”

To Wilson’s surprise, in May of this year, Park and Recreation representative Debra Sharp showed up unannounced at the monthly meeting of the Uptown Planners to discuss options for Olive Park, despite the fact that the item was not on the agenda. Wilson said he felt as though the City was “passing a hot potato” to the planning group because the City wasn’t sure what to do with the land.

Wilson was even more astounded to see KUSI News investigative reporter Michael Turko arrive at the meeting to report on the issue.

Responding to the newfound interest from the City and local media, Wilson, along with fellow boardmember and law professor Don Liddell, took the initiative and spent the following months reviewing the court’s 1981 decision and visiting the city attorney’s office for advice.

Armed with new information and reassurance from the city attorney’s office, Wilson and Liddell were prepared to make a recommendation.

The City gave them four options to choose from. The first three involved selling all or portions of the park to Brandon. The last option included charging Brandon rent for his use of the land, as well as enlarging the park through a City purchase of two adjacent vacant lots to form a one-acre park called Wood/McKee Community Park.

In August, Uptown Planners voted 13–0 in favor of the last proposition.

Mark Brandon, son of Milan Brandon, says there are some misconceptions about the property and how his family has managed it over the years. “One of the pieces of misinformation is the idea that the McKees and the Woods gave the property to the City as a gift,” explains Brandon. “It’s a misleading way to portray it. What really happened was all of the families were using Olive Park, or then Olive Street, to get to their properties, just as we use it today. Somewhere along the way, one of the families suggested to the City that they close the paper street. If the City closed the paper street, then the homeowners agreed not to take the property. What they proposed to the City was, if you close the street, when the property comes to us we will give it back to the City and the City would keep it as a park. So that’s how the property got created as Olive Park. When that happened, the families still used the land exactly as they had before, and everyone just used it that way for decades. Nothing really changed. When we bought our property, we bought it with the understanding that we would always continue to use it the same way they had.

“Our position is we are not taking anything from the City, and we shouldn’t be paying rent on this,” says Brandon. “It’s an established access to our property that existed long before we bought it, and it’s the only way to get into our garage. At this point, we’re concerned with what to do because so many people have gotten involved in this recently. Frankly, the City hasn’t come to us — we’ve been hearing about all this from everyone else. We’re getting hit from all different directions on this.”

The Brandons feel that they have been fighting for access to their garage the entire 40 years they’ve been there. “It just means there would probably be another lawsuit. We’re in the neighborhood too — we’ve been here for four decades — and we like the idea of a park here. There’s been talk to take some of the other property and use some of that land for it. We’d support that, but no one has come to us.”

Councilmember Kevin Faulconer favors the establishment of a new Olive Park. “I will be working with them [Uptown Planners] and the rest of the community when we figure out the best options for the site,” he says. “Parks are very important, and getting new parks is good for every community. Earlier this year, we became aware of the renewed community effort to pursue the park, so I think it’s taking on a lot of momentum.”

According to Wilson, the Bankers Hill/Park West Community Association, a citizens’ group that works on neighborhood issues, formed a task force in September to make sure Olive Park isn’t once again forgotten, and Wilson vows to push the City forward with buying the adjacent lots for parkland. “The City will move forward, but we need to push them to make this happen,” he says. “We’re going to take the ball and run with this in Banker’s Hill.”

West Maple Street Park Update

The construction of the West Maple Street Park (“Waldo Waterman Park”) is taking place. Below are some images of the work that has been done so far

CyX6tqXVEAEe3Bh leed_cert_003_t675 CyX6fpCUQAA0dwbThe existing monument to Waldo Waterman in the second picture will be moved to the center of the park.

METRO

SAN DIEGO CDC

536 Maple Street, No. 103

San Diego, California 92101

(619) 822-5103

October 27, 2016

 

Uptown Planners

Joyce Beers Center

1230 Cleveland Street

San Diego, California  92103

 

Re:  Letter of Support for the AIDS Memorial Committee Recommendation to Place the San Diego AIDS Memorial In Olive Street Park:

 

Dear Uptown Planners:

On October 10th, AIDS Memorial Committee, chaired by Katherine Stuart Faulconer & Nicole Ramirez-Murray, made a presentation to the Metro San Diego CDC about creating a permanent memorial to those affected by HIV disease and AIDS in San Diego. A portion of the Olive Street Park site in Bankers Hill is currently under consideration for the location of the AIDS Memorial; The Metro San Diego CDC unanimously endorsed placing the AIDS Memorial at the Olive Street Park site on May 9, 2016.

The Metro San Diego CDC, and its predecessor the Bankers Hill/Park West Community Association, have spend the better part of a decade battling to establish the Olive Street Park, which will be named the “Woods-McKee Park”, after the family that donated the northern parcel of the future park to the city almost 100 years ago. The City of San Diego purchased the southern parcel of land that will be an additional part of the park several years ago.  The Metro San Diego CDC remains strongly in favor of placing the AIDS Memorial in Olive Street Park, and supports the AIDS Memorial Committee, the Mayor, and City Councilmember’s Gloria’s recommendations to place the AIDS Memorial at this location.

Sincerely yours,

B. Michael Seidel

President

_____________________________ 

  (Gay San Diego, October 14, 2016)

“AIDS MEMORIAL UPDATE

A presentation by the San Diego AIDS Memorial Task Force was made at a recent meeting of the Metro San Diego Community Development Corporation (Metro SD CDC).

The task force — co-chaired by San Diego’s first lady Katherine Stuart Faulconer and longtime activist and San Diego City Commissioner Nicole Murray Ramirez — has led the charge with raising awareness, fundraising and finding a permanent home for the memorial, which would honor thousands of San Diegans who lost their battle with the disease.

(l to r) San Diego’s First Lady Katherine Faulconer and City Commissioner Nicole Murray Ramirez, co-chairs of the San Diego AIDS Memorial Task Force, shown on stage at the recent B-52s concert fundraiser.

“[Today] families don’t have a place to go to remember their loved ones,” said Susan Jester, the representing member of the AIDS Memorial Task Force at the meeting.

Jester, along with Katherine Johnston and Jen Lebron, representatives of Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s office, appeared Oct. 10 before the group to give an outline of the AIDS Memorial project, planned to be located in a Bankers Hill park.

The Metro SD CDC is a nonprofit that serves the Uptown communities of Bankers Hill/Park West, Five Points/Middletown and the western slope neighborhoods of Mission Hills.

Metro SD CDC administrator Leo Wilson had invited the task force to the Oct. 10 meeting, to meet the development group in person. In a meeting last May, the Metro SD CDC had endorsed the preliminary plan to posit the memorial in Olive Park.

A small parcel of land within Maple Canyon near the corner of Third Avenue and Olive Street in Bankers Hill, Olive Park is close in proximity to Truax House, the former home of Dr. Brad Truax and the first facility to offer AIDS-related services.

A total of 8,000 people have died in San Diego of AIDS/HIV since the 1980s, Jester said at the Metro SD CDC meeting, adding that San Diego is the only large American city without an AIDS/HIV Memorial.

“The 1980s were like a holocaust situation,” Jester said. “We want to remember that time in our history so that it doesn’t happen again.”

Jester founded Walk for Life in 1984, the precursor to what is now called AIDS Walk and Run San Diego.

The memorial will come one step closer to being a reality Nov. 1, when the Uptown Planners meet at 6 p.m. at the Joyce Beers Uptown Community Center in Hillcrest listen to plans for the long-awaited park.

Katherine Stuart Faulconer and Nicole Murray Ramirez, co-chairs of the San Diego AIDS Memorial Task Force, were unable to attend the meeting with SD Metro CDC, but will be at the Uptown Planners meeting, which is open to the public.

The total project will cost $1.2 million and will take 25 months to build, said Johnston, a planner in the mayor’s office said, at the meeting. The memorial would open to the public by summer 2019.

For more information on the AIDS Memorial, visit tinyurl.com/hrgz8cp. To keep up with the AIDS Memorial Task Force, follow them on Facebook.com/SDAIDSMemorial.”