The CCPG Mt Etna Sub Committee Holds its First Meeting Regarding 5255 Mt Etna

Clairemont residents attend the first CCPG Mt Etna Ad Hoc Subcommittee on 10/29/18 at Alcott Elementary

Close to 175 were in attendance last evening (10/29/18) at the Clairemont Community Planning Group (CCPG) Mt Etna Community Plan Amendment Ad Hoc Subcommittee meeting held at Alcott Elementary regarding the Mt Etna property.

The County is proposing an affordable housing development at the site of the former Clairemont Community Hospital and, since 1994, the San Diego Sheriff’s Crime Lab property located at 5255 Mount Etna Drive off of Genesee Ave and near Balboa Ave.

The Action Item(s) on the subcommittee agenda last night were questioning the validity, or if the County is compliant in requesting the initiation process for a Community Plan Amendment (CPA) to the Planning Commission.

(From the October 29, 2018 Agenda)

Action/Review Item

  1. County of San Diego’s Community Plan Amendment Initiation Request

401.1 Recommendation regarding compliance with Policy LU-D.10(a)

401.2 Recommendation regarding compliance with Policy LU-D.10(b)

401.3 Recommendation regarding compliance with Policy LU-D.10(c)


The following is taken from the Land Use and Community Planning Element document page 30 which references the above action item the subcommittee was voting.

One of the Four Criteria for Initiation of Amendments

LU-D.10. Require that the recommendation of approval or denial to the Planning Commission be based upon compliance with all of the three initiation criteria as follows: a) the amendment request appears to be consistent with the goals and policies of the General Plan and community plan and any community plan specific amendment criteria; b) the proposed amendment provides additional public benefit to the community as compared to the existing land use designation, density/intensity range, plan policy or site design; and c) public facilities appear to be available to serve the proposed increase in density/intensity, or their provision will be addressed as a component of the amendment process.


For roughly 90 minutes residents lined up and spoke in opposition to the proposed project initiated by San Diego County specifically the County Board of Supervisors (BOS).  Some reasons cited for opposition: traffic, density, violation of the community plan, lack of fire & police staffing, the history/character of future residents, high power SDG&E line and high pressure gas line in the area, etc.

Presenting to the CCPG Mt Etna Ad Hoc Committee along the wall. Gary Wood, AECOM County consultant for community plan amendment, Jody Mays, Department of General Services County of San Diego, Marlon Pangilinan,Senior Planner City of San Diego
Planning Department David Estrella, Director of Housing and Community Development County of San Diego

The County maintains this is a viable site because it is in a Transit Priority Area and therefore the higher density would make this site suitable (ie Transit Oriented Development).  The County and the BOS are also trying to build affordable housing units sooner rather than later to fill a need in San Diego and throughout the County and this as they see it is a public benefit.

In order for the County to move forward with their project they have to first initiate a Community Plan Amendment to the Planning Commission (PC) (Planning Commission meetings are downtown at City Council chambers the county is tentatively scheduled to present on 12/6/18 These meetings are open to the public and there is public comment allowed and encouraged).  The site is zoned as commercial, the County is initiating a request for a Community Plan Amendment to have it rezoned as Residential

When it came time for the three motions and voting, a few sticking points for some members of the ad hoc committee were that the timelines the County is proposing is too fast.  Additionally, not enough information has been presented.  Essentially saying no the County has not completed or satisfied the need to move forward with a CPA.

One member of the ad hoc continually voiced a need for affordable housing and to allow the County to move forward with the process of the CPA.  Noting the County, the developer and the City would be allowing future public input for all involved including most importantly the community.

Ad hoc members also cited the 1989 Clairemont Community Plan specifically pages 5, 11 & 34 while referencing their votes.

With 15 minutes to go in the meeting the ad hoc subcommittee began the motion/voting process

Motion #1

Motion to reject the initiation letter specifically because LU-D.10(a) does not follow the primary goal of residential development (Primary Goal for Residential Development: Maintain the low-density character of predominantly single-family neighborhoods and encourage rehabilitation where appropriate.) nor does it meet objectives 3. (from the Community Plan) Provide development guidelines to help ensure that new development is compatible with the existing neighborhood and does not overburden community or neighborhood facilities. &   5. Provide adequate off-street parking.

Committee voted 3 yes-2 no motion passed

Motion #2

Motion to approve compliance LU-D.10(b) as we need to approve because we need affordable housing.

Committee voted 3 no-2 yes motion failed

Motion #3

County has not complied with LU-D.10(c)

Committee voted 4 yes-1 no motion passed

Now what?

This CCPG Mt Etna Sub Committee is a newly created group (this was the first meeting) made of up members of the CCPG and local residents, all of whom are volunteers.  It is important to note this sub-committee as well as all other sub-committees and the full CCPG board are advisory only.

The purpose of these groups and meetings is to be a catalyst for neighbors to be made aware of what is happening (projects, future projects, development, etc.) which come through the City and in this case the County to the immediate neighborhood.  This subcommittee will advise the full CCPG at the next monthly of what took place and then the CCPG may or may not make a documented recommendation to the City.

*Upcoming Meetings

CCPG Clairemont Community Plan Update Ad Hoc Sub Committee Meeting 11/13/18 6 pm Alcott Elementary.

Clairemont Community Planning Group (full group monthly meeting) 11/20/18 6pm Alcott Elementary.

CCPG Mt Etna Ad Hoc 11/26/18 6pm Alcott

Planning Commission 12/6/18 10am City Hall Chambers

*Note meetings are subject to change.


Useful Links for Research

Initiation & Letter

Clairemont Community Plan


Land Use & Community Planning Element Document City of San Diego

Neighborhood Websites:

Clairemont Cares

Clairemont Coalition on Homelessness