Balboa Park West Mesa Landscape (Grass) Rehabilitation Begins

On August 28, 2018, the City of San Diego began a landscape rehabilitation project on the West Mesa of Balboa Park, north of Laurel Street.  The project focused on restoring the grass cover, which in some places has eroded so badly that it has become dirt.  Here are pictures of the work that has so far taken place. The eroded areas have been fenced-off and fertilized, and are now being watered intermittently each day.

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Here are past pictures of what the West Mesa of Balboa Park looked like with a healthy grass cover. Hopefully, the landscape rehabilitation project will restore the grass to its former attractive condition.

 

Penthouse, balconyview

 

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Hillcrest Fire Station #5 Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Took Place on August 20, 2018

About 130 people attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly opened Hillcrest Fire Station #5.  San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Assemblyman Todd Gloria, and City Councilmember Chris Ward were among the speakers.  The Uptown community has been waiting for the opening of this new fire station for almost two decades.

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Uptown Planners Agenda for August 7, 2018 — 6th & Olive Project NDP/Vesting Tentative Map & 2466 First Avenue Tentative Map Projects

UPTOWN PLANNERS

Uptown Community Planning Group

   REVISED AGENDA

NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETING   

August 7, 2018

6:00-9:00 p.m.

Joyce Beers Community Center, Uptown Shopping District

(Located on Vermont Street between the Aladdin Restaurant and Panera Bread)

All times listed are estimates only: an item may be heard earlier than the estimated time:

 

  1. Action Items: Planning: (6:45 p.m.)

 

  1. 2761, 2729 & 2665 FIFTH AVENUE (“6th & OLIVE STREET NDP & VESTING TM”) Process FourBankers Hill/Park West – The project proposes to demolish the existing 16-unit Park Chateau Apartments, cathedral administrative offices, and a 20-space surface parking lot, and construct and approximately a 204-unit, 262,500-square foot, 20-story, mixed use building above a five-level underground parking structure consisting of 16,910 square feet of Cathedral office space within four commercial condominiums and 204 residential condominiums. The proposed residential density includes the transfer of the remaining density potential on the built Nutmeg Site to the Olive Street Site, equivalent to five dwelling units. The project also includes landscaping and other site improvements. The project is an infill mixed-use development within the Transit Priority Area (TPA) consisting of 18 affordable dwelling units (very low-income units), and 186 market-rate units, with three development incentives in accordance with the City’s Affordable Housing Density Bonus regulations and in conformance with the criteria of the Affordable/In-fill Housing and Sustainable Buildings Expedite Program. The project site is located at 2761, 2729 and 2665 5th Avenue in the CC-3-9 and RM-4-10 Zone(s), the Community Plan Implementation Overlay Zone (CPIOZ Type A), Residential Tandem Parking Overlay Zone, Transit Area Overlay Zone, the TPA, Airport Influence Area for SDIA (Review Area 2), FAA Part 77 Notification Area of SDIA and North Island NAS, and is partially within the Airport Approach Overlay Zone. (DRS Motion by Wilson, seconded by Seisun: To recommend that Uptown Planners not support the proposed project because of (1.) the project’s excessive height; and, (2.) the lack of sufficient affordable housing.  The project should be revised to reduce its height back to the 158 feet of the originally approved project in 2011, and more affordable housing should be included. Motion approved by a 5-1-1 vote.  Wilson, Seisun, Daniel, Ellig, Mullaney voted in favor; Brennan voted against; DRS chair Nakhshab abstained from the vote, but stated he supported the project.)
  2. 2466 FIRST AVENUE TENTATIVE MAP – Process Three – Bankers Hill/Park West – Tentative Map for the consolidation and subdivision of six existing lots into one lot for twenty-one (21) residential condominiums and one commercial condominium located at 2466 First Avenue. The 0.17 acre site is located in the RM-3-7 and CC-3-4 base zones.

 

PROWLER ALERT: Bankers Hill Prowler/Peeping Tom Last Seen at Fifth Avenue & Hawthorne Street

Below is a prowler alert regarding an an individual spotted around Fifth Avenue and Hawthorne Street.  Please be on alert, as this type of an individual will often continue this type of activity unless caught.

There also are reports of repeated trespassing and petty thief by transients throughout Bankers Hill; as well as abusive conduct towards Bankers Hill residents and businesses.  Several days ago I had to break up a fight between two transients taking place in the middle of Sixth Avenue. Most these actions go unreported because calls to the police are subject to holds that can last 45 minutes to over an hour.  Its an unsatisfactory situation, and needs to be effectively addressed.

Although it is hot, it is important to lock your doors, and do no leave your windows open unless they are secured.

Leo Wilson,

Metro San Diego CDC

 

https://www.10news.com/news/bankers-hill-residents-concerned-over-man-scaling-rooftops-looking-in-windowsProwler1

Uptown News Article: “The fall of the historic Elks Lodge” — July 13, 2018

The fall of the historic Elks Lodge

The fall of the historic Elks Lodge

July 13th,2018

By Leo Wilson

 

One of the defining events in the history of Bankers Hill was the demolition of the Elks Lodge in 2001. Even though the Elks Lodge was a designated historic landmark — and one of the most impressive historical buildings in Bankers Hill — the destruction was still allowed to occur. The concern and outrage resulting from the loss of the landmark prompted the beginning of a new phase of Bankers Hill community activism.

The building the Elks Lodge called home, located on the northwest corner of Fourth Avenue and Nutmeg Street, was built in 1904. Designed by prominent architects William Sterling Hebbard and Irving Gill, it was considered one of their finest collaborative works. Along with the Marston House, it was one of the few all-brick buildings in San Diego at the time.

The former Elks Lodge, located on the northwest corner of Fourth Avenue and Nutmeg Street

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The former Elks Lodge, located on the northwest corner of Fourth Avenue and Nutmeg Street (

(Photo courtesy of Save Our Heritage Organisation)

The building was often referred to as the Bertha B. Mitchell residence, after its first owner who resided in it until the mid-1920s. Following her departure, it subsequently was used as a medical clinic, restaurant, and for residential housing before it became the Elks Lodge in the 1950s.

The Elks Lodge was often used for events and became a well-known dance hall. Many older Bankers Hill residents still remember attending events in its hall.  After many years of active use, the building began to show its age, suffering significant wear and tear.

The Elks Lodge was put up for sale, and eventually Mayfair Homes agreed to buy it and opened an escrow. Mayfair Homes proposed to tear down the Elks Lodge and replace it with condominiums.

To prevent the Elks Lodge from being demolished, the Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) requested that the city of San Diego’s Historic Review Board (HRB) determine whether the building was historic. Even with some alterations to the building and opposition by city staff, the HRB designated the Elk Lodge’s building as a historic landmark in May 2000.

Despite the Elks Lodge’s historical designation, Mayfair Homes proceeded to close its escrow in June 2000 and took ownership of the property. It then submitted an “economic feasibility study” to the city which claimed there was no economically feasible way that Mayfair Homes could develop the property without demolishing the now historically designated Elks Lodge.

On October 26, 2000, the HRB — with several new members appointed by Mayor Susan Golding — accepted the economic feasibility report and supported the Elks Lodge demolition, despite historically designating it a few months earlier. The HRB recommended a historic plaque be placed at the Elks Lodge site memorializing the demolished building.

Elks Lodge, Plaque

All that remains of the Elks Lodge is a historic plaque.

 (Photo courtesy of Leo Wilson)

On November 7, 2000, Uptown Planners voted to reaffirm its previous position, passing a motion by an 11-0-1 vote opposing the demolition of the Elks Lodge and supporting its adaptive reuse. The San Diego Union Tribune also ran an editorial supporting the preservation of the Elks Lodge.

The battle to save the Elks Lodge climaxed at a San Diego City Council meeting on January 9, 2001, where the final decision was made about the fate of the Elks Lodge.

At the meeting, several well-known architects and developers came forward and stated it would be economically feasible to build a development project on the project site while still preserving Elks Lodge.

Cheryl Wilson — the CEO of St. Paul’s Manor Senior Homes & Services — and architect Jim Kelly-Markham presented a detailed proposal by St. Paul’s Manor to build senior citizen housing on the project site. This proposal would still preserve and adaptively reuse the Elks Lodge building for administrative offices. They requested the City Council

continue the item, which would allow them and other developers to work with Mayfair Homes in an effort to come up with an acceptable project plan that would save the Elks Lodge.

Mayfair Homes opposed the continuance, stating they had been working on the project for many years, and that it was too late in the process to modify the project design. This argument ignored the fact that Mayfair Homes had not yet closed escrow or obtained ownership of the property until a few months before the City Council meeting in mid-2000, after the HRB had historically designated the Elks Lodge.

Despite the compelling testimony that an economically feasible project was possible without demolishing the Elks Lodge, the City Council refused to continue the item.  Instead, the City Council voted 7-1 to support the Mayfair Homes project, including the demolition of the historic Elks Lodge. Sadly, the motion was made by then-City Councilmember Toni Atkins, who at the time represented Bankers Hill.

When the Elks Lodge was demolished in 2001, a major piece of Bankers Hill history was torn from the community, and we were left with only a historic plaque to remember it.

The demolition of the Elks Lodge came as a shock to the Bankers Hill community; a suspicion developed that all the historic buildings in the community might now be in jeopardy. Our neighborhood felt as if we were being targeted.

One of my good friends echoed the general unease when he exclaimed: “I wasn’t worried until they tore down the Elks Lodge.” It was the catalyst for many people in Bankers Hill becoming civically involved in their community.

Many new community organizations were subsequently formed in Bankers Hill; community members also became more involved with Uptown Planners. As a result, preserving historic structures is now a focal point of the community planning efforts in Bankers Hill.

While welcoming new development, Bankers Hill also works to preserve its existing historic buildings. Through these efforts, Bankers Hill is a mix of both old and new buildings — one of the city’s most distinctive historic communities.

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