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City Council OKs Grantville rezoning

The San Diego City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a plan to clear the way for up to 8,275 new housing units in the Grantville neighborhood while adding more than 72 acres to the adjoining San Diego River Park.

Under a plan formed through eight years of discussions, the 280-acre neighborhood, which is now dominated by auto repair shops and showrooms, fast-food restaurants, warehouses and strip malls, will be rezoned for residential or mixed-use construction, while still setting aside some "community commercial" areas.

The goal is to have high-density, pedestrian-oriented, bicycle-friendly residential developments -- ranging from 44 to 109 units per acre -- within walking distance of the Grantville trolley station just north of Interstate 8. The new units allowed under the plan would bring the total number of units in the neighborhood to as many as 37,734.

“After many years of hard work by community members and city staff, we finally have a workable plan to create a mixed-use community and revitalize the San Diego River Park,” said Councilmember Scott Sherman, whose district includes Grantville. “This plan helps us realize our goal of creating a city of villages that focuses on the use of public transit in our region.”

In a report for the City Council, city senior planner Brian Schoenfisch said that many of the properties in Grantville are currently "occupied by outdated and deteriorated buildings, lack adequate parking and landscaping, and are in need of substantial capital reinvestment to stimulate economic development and create a more attractive and pleasant environment."

He said the plan would "facilitate a shift in land uses from industrial to a mix of employment, commercial, higher density residential and civic uses." But the change will be gradual, as individual properties are developed.

City planners and community members began working on the Grantville plan in 2007, based on the idea that the new trolley station could spur more investment and development. After more than two dozen public meetings in the neighborhood, the current version of the plan was passed nearly unanimously by local planning and stakeholders' groups in February and received unanimous votes from the city Planning Commission and the City Council's smart growth and land use committee in May.

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