Daily Transcript Question: A debate has arisen in San Diego County communities over the rezoning of properties from industrial to "mixed-use" -- where residential and commercial uses co-locate. Proponents want to increase the housing supply. Opponents note the shortage of commercially zoned land and argue that co-location will lead to conflicts and the restricting of activities in which existing businesses can engage. Is co-location a viable land-use policy? If so, where in your community does co-location make sense and why?
Mixed-used zoning harkens back to the days when shop owners lived over their retail stores along a main street. Today mixed-used may mean people living next door to businesses that attract employees from all over the county. Some of these businesses may be research facilities that use toxic substances to create interesting new products, while others may just be office buildings filled with office workers.
In either case, residential buildings do not belong next to businesses unless the business is retail.
The concept that people should live by where they work eventually fails because people change jobs more than they change homes and in families where two people are employed the probability of the two people working close to home is minuscule.
-- David S. Druker
Del Mar City Council Member
Co-location is an excellent way to increase densification and the use of one of our most precious resources, land.
The lack of available land is critical to both the housing and employment industries, and the potential of co-location meets the needs of consumers and their employers.
Additionally, it could help with traffic congestion as well, if people live closer to where they work. Our concern with this very real option is the community advisory groups who are nothing more than NIMBYs in disguise.
We think the various jurisdictions need to quit wasting time with these groups and do what is right for the greater community and our county as a whole. Many community plans are outdated, our infrastructure was not built to accommodate the sprawl, which has occurred, and this idea provides a viable solution.
However, we also believe that to remove land and/or industrial/office buildings from the employment land supply in major business parks is not acceptable for San Diego's continuing job growth or for the compatibility of uses within our business parks.
For instance, to demolish industrial/office buildings to build condominiums in our Sorrento Mesa's business parks would then limit the growth and expansion of existing companies (for example Qualcomm) and limit the opportunities for new companies wanting to locate in Sorrento.
We don't feel that any more employment land should be sacrificed for residential development -- especially where there is such a large incompatibility of uses in that area.
Carmel Mountain Ranch and Sabre Springs are both good examples of co-location, as is Kearny Mesa.
-- Chris Pascale and Richard B. Sparks
CB Richard Ellis Brokerage Services
Mixed use (residential/commercial) makes a lot of sense and should be encouraged in many areas.
Mixed use cannot only help mitigate our county housing shortage, but it can create vibrant community centers where residents can live, work and shop. I believe that most residents of mixed-use zones recognize the trade-off for convenience may be a greater degree of tolerance for some business generated noise.
And, naturally, businesses in a mixed-use area need to be neighborhood friendly. One would not expect to have light industrial or machinery intensive businesses immediately adjacent residences.
The city of National City is presently working on a Westside Specific Plan that in preliminary form appears to address many of the residential/business proximity concerns. I was impressed by the effort, because we need areas for our small businesses, too.
Conversely, the city of Coronado by implementing their "Downtown Specific Plan" last year effectively eliminated mixed-use in Coronado. This was an unfortunate mistake with no clear benefit to anybody that I hope future a future City Council will fix.
So, is mixed use good land use policy? I believe so.
-- Dave Gillingham
Coronado Chamber of Commerce, 2005 Board of Directors -- president elect
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