The Parks Master Plan was approved by the San Diego City Council on August 3, 2021. The Parks Master Plan is part of the City’s Complete Communities program and will replace all community specific DIF and FBA fees with a Citywide DIF fee that can be spent anywhere in the City of San Diego. This means that all the developer fees from developments in Mira Mesa will go into a Citywide fund instead of being spent for parks and other projects in Mira Mesa. We have been assured by the Mayor’s office that the new policies would not apply to 3Roots or Casa Mira View, but they are not explicitly excluded from the plan.
The fees from Casa Mira View and 3Roots are planned to be spent on the following projects:
- Completion of the last phase of Mira Mesa Community Park including a pool and skate park
- Construction of a recreation center on the new park in the 3Roots project (the park is partially paid for by a credit on FBA fees)
- Completion of the missing link in Carroll Canyon Road that will connect 3Roots to I-805
- Development of Canyon Hills Resource Park
All of these projects are at risk, and if developer fees are diverted out of the community there is no guarantee when or if these projects will ever be built. The Parks Master Plan is specifically about parks, but the City is also proposing to divert fees for roads, intersections, fire stations and libraries under a proposed program called “Infrastructure Now“.
The Parks Master Plan has an admirable goal of trying to make parks more equitable across the City, but the City is trying to do this by taking money away from communities that have development in progress, rather than trying to find new sources of funds for older park-deficient communities.
Another problem with the Parks Master Plan is that it eliminates the population-based park acreage standard of 2.8 acres per thousand residents and replaces it with a complicated point system that gives more weight to park features and less to acreage. The effect of this will be to reduce park acreage throughout San Diego and instead add more features to existing parks. When we did the 1992 update to the Mira Mesa Community Plan, the fact that the City had to meet this requirement was enormously important. Because of that, we added the following parks to the Community Plan: Breen Park, Camino Ruiz Park, the expansion of Mira Mesa Community Park, Westview Park, Lopez Ridge Park and Parkdale Park (to be replaced by 3Roots park). Without the acreage standard, it is very likely that the City would have just added features to the older existing parks, rather than adding the new parks.
For more information on the Parks Master Plan, see https://www.sandiego.gov/parks-for-all-of-us.
Jeff Stevens, Chair, Mira Mesa Community Planning Group