Next Metro San Diego CDC Meeting is on September 11, 2017; Misc. Bankers Hill News

The next meeting of the Metro San Diego Community Development Corporation will be on September 11, 2017.  Below are two links to Uptown News stories about Bankers Hill, and a link to a KPBS story about the AIDS Memorial going into Olive Street Park.

Leo Wilson,


Metro San Diego CDC

‘Where’s Bankers Hill?’ – San Diego Uptown News

Still a hidden gem – San Diego Uptown News

Group Wants San Diego AIDS Memorial In Future Bankers Hill Park



Below is the Metro San Diego CDC letter in support of placing the AIDS Memorial in Olive Street Park  (“Woods McKee Park”)




536 Maple Street, No. 103

San Diego, California 92101

(619) 822-5103


October 27, 2016


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



AIDS Memorial Task Force Meeting To Discuss Design of San Diego AIDS Memorial on August 28, 2017; 6:00 p.m., in the Great Hall at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral

AIDSMemorial Logo

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – As part of their commitment to creating a lasting tribute to the families whose lives have been forever changed by AIDS and HIV, the San Diego AIDS Memorial Task Force will hold a public meeting Aug. 28 to provide a status update on the project and call on members of the public to submit design ideas for a memorial in a new Bankers Hill park.

The task force was created in 2015 with a mission to plan and raise funds for the creation of a permanent AIDS memorial in San Diego. The 19-member volunteer task force, which includes leaders from the HIV/AIDS service providers and LGBT community, is co-chaired by San Diego first lady Katherine Stuart Faulconer and City Commissioner Nicole Murray-Ramirez.

More than 8,000 people from across San Diego County have died from AIDS. The memorial is intended to be a place of reflection and meditation as well as raise awareness that there still is not yet a cure.

The task force voted unanimously to focus their efforts on placing a future memorial in Olive Street Park last year following the Truax House sale.

With the support of Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, the City Council last year unanimously voted to authorize the sale of the Truax House, the first AIDS hospice in San Diego. The sale was approved with the caveats that the historic home would be restored by the buyers and that funds from the sale would be used toward the construction of Olive Street Park, which would become home to San Diego’s first AIDS memorial.

Since then, the City of San Diego has held multiple public meetings about the preliminary designs of Olive Street Park and received input about what amenities the surrounding community would like to see in it. With that information in mind, the task force is now ready to call on the public for memorial design concepts that can be integrated into the park’s architecture.

At the Aug. 28 meeting, the task force will listen to the public ideas as well as outline the process by which people can officially submit their design concepts so they can be voted on next month.

The meeting will be held Monday, Aug. 28 at 6 p.m. Great Hall at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, 2728 Sixth Ave, San Diego, CA 92103.


Plaza de Panama Project Approval Upheld in Major Court Victory — Should Break Ground in Early 2018


In a major court victory, on August 8, 2017 Superior Court Judge Gregory Pollack denied a request by Save Our Heritage Organization (“SOHO”) to stop the Plaza de Panama project from moving forward until a supplemental Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”) was prepared. A previously prepared EIR already existed, and had an addendum added to it prior to the San Diego City Council again approving the Plaza de Panama project on November 14, 2016.  The project had been delayed by a prior lawsuit by SOHO, which was unsuccessful.

SOHO tried to argue that it violated CEQA for the City Council to rely on the addendum to the existing EIR to re-approve the Plaza de Panama project, and requested the court to require a full supplemental EIR (“SEIR”).  However, Judge Pollack pointed out that “numerous other courts have upheld the use of addenda by public agencies.” And that “Petitioner’s position is further weakened by the fact that several courts have even upheld informal determinations that a SEIR is not required even without an addendum.”  The Judge also pointed out that their were only minor project modifications, which would not cause any new or more severe significant impacts compared with those described in the original EIR, a conclusion that the City Council had made in its resolution re-approving the project.

The Metro San Diego Community Development Corporation had been one of the first organizations to request that Dr. Irwin Jacobs and the Plaza de Panama Committee again move forward with building the Plaza de Panama project, in a letter dated October 20, 2015 which is attached below.




536 Maple Street, No. 103

San Diego, California 92103

(619) 822-5103

October 20, 2015


Plaza de Panama Committee

San Diego Hall of Champions Sports Museum

2131 Pan American Plaza
San Diego, CA 92101


Dear Plaza de Panama Committee:

The Metro San Diego Community Development Corporation Board/ Charter Committee voted 17-1 to reaffirm its support for the Plaza de Panama Project, as originally proposed by Dr. Irwin Jacob; and to request that, as the litigation regarding the project has been resolved, the Plaza de Panama Committee move forward with building the project as originally approved by the San Diego City Council on July 9, 2012.

Sincerely yours,

Leo Wilson


Metro San Diego Community Development Corporation





Bankers Hill Business Group Mixer at Wet Stone Wine Bar Cafe on July 25th: Pictures

20170725_174610_resizedThe Bankers Hill Business Group Mixer met at Wet Stone Wine Bar & Cafe on July 25, 2017; 20+ people in attendance. The plans were discussed for the Bankers Hill Fall Festival, which will be held in October 2017. Wet Stone Wine Bar & Cafe has outstanding food; and the sangria at Wet Stone may be about the best in San Diego.  The address is 1927 Fourth Avenue, across the street from the Sharp Medical Center.


California Arts Council Designates Balboa Park a California Cultural District — Metro San Diego CDC Letter of Support


Newly launched program celebrates the state’s diverse and abundant cultural treasures

SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Arts Council has announced the 14 districts that will serve as California’s inaugural state-designated Cultural Districts, highlighting thriving cultural diversity and unique artistic identities within local communities across California.

A Cultural District, as outlined by the program, is a well-defined geographic area with a high concentration of cultural resources and activities. Each of the 14 districts will receive the designation for a period of five years, per state legislation. Designation, under this pilot launch of the program, includes benefits such as technical assistance, peer-to-peer exchanges, and branding materials and promotional strategy. The Council has partnered with Visit California and Caltrans for strategic statewide marketing and resource support.

Originating with the adoption of Assembly Bill 189 in 2015, authored by Assemblyman Richard Bloom, the California Cultural Districts program aims to leverage the state’s artistic and cultural assets. Aligning with the mission and values of the California Arts Council, the districts will celebrate the diversity of California while unifying under an umbrella of shared values-helping to grow and sustain authentic grassroots arts and cultural opportunities, increasing the visibility of local artists and community participation in local arts and culture, and promoting socioeconomic and ethnic diversity. Districts will also play a conscious role in tackling issues of artist displacement.

Pilot cohort districts will offer feedback to the Council to ensure the subsequent launch of the full program in 2019 will be supportive, accessible and appropriate for all types of cultural centers.

The 14 districts that comprise the program’s first cohort were selected with variety in mind, intended to help tailor the program to meet the complex needs of a state kaleidoscopic in nature. Districts range developmentally from emerging to established; include an emphasis on cultural consumption, cultural production, and cultural heritage; and are located in urban, suburban and rural areas.

“State-level designation of Cultural Districts, with California’s diverse geography and regional variety, allowed for an entirely new and comprehensive look at our deeply valued cultural assets,” said Donn K. Harris, California Arts Council Chair. “Each community’s personal and generational commitment to these assets speaks of a state deeply invested in the places and people that celebrate local traditions and creativity. Our goal with the pilot launch of this new program was to support a group of districts that met high but broad standards of coherence, vision, and purpose – ones that could set an example for districts that will follow as the program develops and grows.”

“These Cultural Districts showcase California’s cultural diversity and vibrant experiences,” said Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of Visit California. “The districts are one more way to highlight the one-of-a-kind places throughout our state that inspire residents and visitors alike.”

Selection for the California Cultural Districts was conducted through a multistep process, including an open call for initial letters of intent, a peer panel review, site visits for semi-finalists, and an invited finalist application. The program was highly competitive and received interest and submissions from dozens of communities across the state.

Harris added, “We know there are many gems waiting to be polished, and the California Arts Council is committed to providing support and ongoing service so that all deserving districts have the opportunity to be recognized. We will continue to encourage local efforts that address the social and economic challenges and opportunities that may arise as these districts evolve.”

Additional new districts will be eligible to apply for state designation in 2019 through a finalized certification process.

Learn more about the California Cultural Districts program at
The mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the arts and creativity. The Council is committed to building public will and resources for the arts; fostering accessible arts initiatives that reflect contributions from all of California’s diverse populations; serving as a thought leader and champion for the arts; and providing effective and relevant programs and services.

Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Donn K. Harris, Vice Chair Nashormeh Lindo, Larry Baza, Phoebe Beasley, Christopher Coppola, Juan Devis, Kathleen Gallegos, Jaime Galli, Louise McGuinness, Steven Oliver, and Rosalind Wyman. Learn more at



536 Maple Street, #103

San Diego, California 92103

(619) 822-5103

March 28, 2017


Dear California Arts Council:

Please consider this letter from the Metro San Diego Community Development Corporation (“Metro San Diego CDC”) in support of Balboa Park being designated as a California Cultural District.

Balboa Park is widely recognized by residents and stakeholders in San Diego as one of the city’s most cherished public places.  It attracts over 10 million visitors each year, who flock to the many cultural institutions and gathering places within the Park to experience what is commonly acknowledged to the “Jewel of San Diego”

The Metro San Diego CDC is a non-profit organization representing over 20 full blocks of property and business owners on west side of Balboa Park in the communities of Park West, Bankers Hill and Middletown. Both the Bankers Hill Business Group and Five Points/Middletown Group are members of the Metro San Diego CDC, as well as several local community associations.  These west side communities have a long history of involvement in Balboa Park, and consider its proximity a major attribute of their quality of life.

The Metro San Diego CDC believes that Balboa Park receiving a state Cultural District designation will help grow its visibility, prestige and build credibility, not only for the park itself, but also for communities adjacent to Balboa Park.

The Metro San Diego CDC has been a close partner in the efforts of Balboa Park stakeholders to improve Balboa Park through the years, with a recent strong example being a partner in the Balboa Park United initiative. Balboa Park United is an alliance of regional park cultural institutions and dedicated support organizations, including, in addition to the Metro San Diego CDC, the San Diego Foundation, Legler Benbough Foundation, Balboa Park Conservancy, Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, Balboa Park Online Collaborative, and the Friends of Balboa Park.

The major initiative advocated by Balboa Park United has been transforming the Park’s Plaza de Panama into a premier public space with increased parkland, gardens, pedestrian-friendly plazas, and additional parking options. It aims to reclaim the Park’s core for pedestrian traffic, adding open and gathering spaces. We are proud to be a part of this important work to update and improve the Park for San Diego’s residents.  It is the most innovative initiative that has taken place in Balboa Park since 1935.

The cultural institutions in Balboa Park have a history of teaching our children and families about the arts, history, and more. The open space gives us an opportunity to access our region’s natural beauty. And the countless events—from December Nights to Maker Faire to the Spreckels Organ Pavilion Concerts—offer one-of-a-kind experiences and create fond memories with family and friends.

The Metro San Diego CDC strongly supports designating Balboa Park as a California Cultural District, and will partner with the Balboa Park institutions and stakeholders to further the goal of preserving and enhancing Balboa Park.


Sincerely yours,

 Leo Wilson


Metro San Diego CDC


Balboa Park Committee Will Discuss West Mesa Noise Buffer & Decibel Limit on Thursday, July 6th, at 6:00 p.m.

On Thursday, July 6, 2017, the Balboa Park Committee will have the following informational item on its agenda:

501: “Establishing a Noise Buffer & Decibel Limit on the West Mesa” which would apply to special events held on the West Mesa of Balboa Park.

This is the a further step in the process of advancing the noise buffer proposal forward that was recommended by the West Mesa Subcommittee of the the Balboa Park Committee in January 2017.  The need to establish a buffer zone along the west side of Balboa Park that borders Bankers Hill/Park West neighborhood was included as a policy recommendation in the Noise Element (page NE-158) of the update of Uptown Community Plan approved in November 2016.

The Balboa Park Committee will meet on July 6, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. in the Balboa Park Club Santa Fee Room, at 2150 Pan American Road West in Balboa Park.


Below is the recommendation from the West Mesa Subcommittee, which was unanimously supported by the Metro San Diego CDC Board/Charter Committee:


January 25, 2017

Honorable Mayor Kevin Faulconer & Members of the City Council

City of San Diego

220 C Street,

San Diego, California 92101



West Mesa Subcommittee Letter In Support Establishing A Noise Buffer and Noise Decibel Limit Along Sixth Avenue in Bankers Hill/Park West:

Dear Mayor Faulconer & Members of the City Council:

As stated in the Uptown Community Plan (2017): “Noise and amplification associated with special events that take place on the west side of Balboa Park present serious challenges for the neighborhoods of Bankers Hill/Park West.”  In late 2009, the West Mesa Committee of the Balboa Park Committee prepared a report entitled “Balboa Park Special Events on 6th Avenue & the West Mesa; Sharing Boundaries with the Community”.  The report was subsequently adopted by the Balboa Park Committee, and submitted to the city for implementation.

In November of 2016, the City Council approved an update to the Uptown Community Plan. In the update Uptown Plan’s Noise Element, on page NE-158; four of the policy recommendations are:

NE-21-1: “Consider the establishment of a ‘buffer zone’ between the location of special events and Sixth Avenue” in Balboa Park”;

NE-1-22: “Relocate sound stages and amplification equipment away from Sixth Avenue”;

 NE-1.23: “Apply noise decibel monitoring to public address systems for announcements and all sound equipment used by musicians and other performers utilizing amplified sound”;

NE-1.25: “Monitor sound levels at special events to ensure that noise does not exceed the allowed noise level as specified in the noise ordinance”.

At its January 17, 2017 meeting, the West Mesa Subcommittee passed the following motion ( by 8-0 vote) with the intent to implement the recommendations of the Uptown Community Plan Noise Element and West Mesa Subcommittee’s Special Event Report:.

1.)  That sound systems for any special events on the West Mesa of Balboa Park be placed at least 50 feet back (east) of the east curb of Sixth Avenue. This will create a 50-foot buffer zone between amplified sound equipment and Sixth Avenue, reducing unsafe noise levels in the adjacent community;

2.) That the measured noise level from amplified sound at special events in Balboa Park be limited to 70 decibels at the east curb of Sixth Avenue;

Sincerely Yours,

Don Liddell,

Co-Chair, West Mesa Subcommittee

Of the Balboa Park Committee


Truax House Tentative Map Approved by Planning Commission

On June 1, 2017 the City of San Diego Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the Truax House tentative map.  The approval was important step in the preservation of the historic Truax House, which was the original AIDS hospice in the City of San Diego, and one of the first in the United States. As part of the tentative map lot split, the Truax House, which has been historically designated, will be preserved on its own lot.  The Truax House property came close to being sold in early 2016 as surplus property by the city, and faced potential demolition.  The Metro San Diego CDC played a major role in its preservation, and solicited noted architect Soheil Nakhshab to purchase the property with the intent to preserve the Truax House in 2016.

Here is a link to an Uptown News story about the approval of the Truax House tentative map.

Nakshab Development & Design has received numerous awards for its projects, including the one pictured below at 540 Otsego Drive. 


Below are two pictures of the interior of the Truax House