Thursday, September 29, 2022
Aidan Lin, Executive Director
On Thursday, September 29th, 2022, the University City Plan Update was brought before the San Diego Planning Commission. This plan includes the major upzoning of large portions of North University City (UC). As demonstrated in a 2022 survey conducted by the planning department, a majority of UC residents, many of whom are students, support high-density and mixed-use development.
Such growth would lower carbon emissions per capita, increase the available housing stock in San Diego, create walkable and bikeable neighborhoods, and more. OTTA United and other advocacy groups showed up in support of these changes. Specifically, we sought to ensure the youth voice was a part of this discussion.
"Students' legitimacy as a consistent voice in the community has been proven time and time again. Yet at every turn, we need to justify our presence in these conversations." Sparky Mitra, a Project Director at OTTA United, said.
"I came to San Diego as a bioengineering student alone, but those who consistently push back against my authority as a student have forced me to become much more, including a housing justice and environmental justice advocate."
During my public comment, I touched upon the importance of inclusivity and diversity in the process, referencing the work of the planning department.
"The work of former city planner Katie Wetherspoon to include students, renters, and POC residents in the community planning process allowed for one of the most representative community surveys in University City. Over 50% of the community supported the highest-density options and an overwhelming majority supported adding considerable amount amounts of density in the area ... To stray away from high-density development would invalidate the input of the most underrepresented voices in this process: renters, students, and employees of University City."
Leana Cortez, our Director of Advocacy, pressed strongly on the immediate need for dense, mixed-use housing.
"We really cannot postpone density and mixed-use options anymore. It may seem feasible to those who are already established homeowners but it's not feasible for renters, students, and working professionals that struggle to build roots here in University City ... Let's ensure the future of University City by championing climate, housing, and job opportunities."
OTTA United looks forward to our continued advocacy in support of a bright future for University City.