Welcome to Viva-city and Downtown San Diego
Sandra Simmons

Life in the City

-by Sandra Simmons

Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work. – Peter Drucker (1909-2005)

For those interested in the future of Downtown’s connection with our best asset – the San Diego Bay, September was spent attending a flurry of meetings and workshops.

From distinguished architects and planners; prominent federal, state, and city politicians; notable civic and community leaders; esteemed journalists and fervent advocates; to Downtowners living near the water’s edge, everyone agreed on one point: the Navy Broadway Complex site is an extraordinary piece of property that affords possibilities of excellence.

Back in 1992, the City of San Diego and the Navy entered into a Development Plan and Urban Design Guidelines Agreement. The same year, the Downtown Community Plan was adopted. Both agreements, which took years to refine, set out the terms of development for sometime in the future.

As in all good plans and intentions, unless immediately implemented, they become obsolete. Life is not static.

No one envisioned that 1992 would plunge us into a recession lasting years, with many of the units, even entire buildings, sitting vacant.

Fast-forward fourteen years, to the adoption of a carefully revised and expanded Community Plan prophesizing an increase from 50,000 to 90,000 residents. However, a slowing of the real estate market has presented itself yet again.

How will the recent slow down impact the 2006 Community Plan? Will we continue to be shunned by Fortune 100 companies? Or, will the CEOs discover paradise and relocate their corporate headquarters and workers Downtown? Will our neighborhoods be filled with people of all ages? Or, only occasionally occupied by their owners? Shouldn’t agreements and plans be re-evaluated as time progresses to reassess for contemporary situations?

I speculate…Shouldn’t we plan on changing the plans?

These Downtowners believe the previous agreement should be revised to reflect our current state, not what planners 14 years ago thought we might grow into.

Paul Robinson (Meridian) would not support the agreement if written today; however, it is a binding agreement and we must abide by it. The Navy Broadway project meets the quantitative requirements, yet it has a long way to go to meet the qualitative ones.

Any plan designed that long ago should be reviewed and revised. Congratulations to CCDC for taking the time to consider the new information, and to the City Council for requesting for a world-class project. Mike Bradley (CityFront Terrace).

Downtown has changed so much since the development plan was created: the convention center and expansion, hotels to serve visitors, Midway Museum, numerous cruise ships, and ballpark just to name a few. The impacts should be considered. Ramona Salisbury-Kiltz (CityFront Terrace)

As the past has shown us, plans become outdated as the uses and desires of the community change and grow. We, too, need to heed this lesson and apply it to our future; what is right for our community at this moment may not be right for what life presents us in the future. All parties should be open to the probability of change. - October 2006

Return to Top