Planners continue fine-tuning vision for PB’s future
by DAVE SCHWAB
Jun 12, 2014 | 2306 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sidewalk squares mark where palm trees were cut down outside the old Nick’s at the Beach site on Thomas Street. Some question the wisdom of removing the aesthetically pleasing trees and are asking for them to be replaced. Photo by Dave Schwab
Sidewalk squares mark where palm trees were cut down outside the old Nick’s at the Beach site on Thomas Street. Some question the wisdom of removing the aesthetically pleasing trees and are asking for them to be replaced. Photo by Dave Schwab
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Local visionaries tackled the latest strategies on how to make the beach community more livable, bikable, walkable and less congested during the Pacific Beach Planning Group’s (PBPG) May 28 meeting.

The community advisory group, which makes land-use recommendations to the city, is in the throes of re-creating Pacific Beach by instituting a proposed eco-district concept.

An eco-district is a long-range plan that incorporates methods aimed at making the area more environmentally sustainable and economically viable.

“We’re working together on creating the framework for a declaration of cooperation, a document for all community organizations and stakeholders to sign their name to,” said PBPG planner Chris Olson.

Olson said the declaration of cooperation would not be a legal document but rather be a tool to make participating groups “feel accountable” for implementing an eco-district.

Kristen Victor, president of beautifulPB, a volunteer group of active Pacific Beach residents, business and property owners striving to improve the beach community’s environment, said the declaration of cooperation has been used other communities and cities to create a framework for proactive community improvement.

“The declaration states there are goals that need to be met by multiple civic, community and nonprofit organizations, identifying what each one of those organization’s roles and responsibilities are to achieve the overall objectives of all participants,” said Victor. She said the overriding goal will be to achieve the vision of the eco-district.

Once the declaration has been drafted, Olson said the goal would be to get “a vote of support for this.”

The eco-district principles include:

• collaboration among schools, community groups and organizations to work together for the benefit of all;

• expanding economic growth and neighborhood investment, while seeking funding sources;

• creating “economic opportunity districts” and transit-oriented development to encourage economic revitalization and efficient use of existing resources;

• being stewards of resource conservation (energy, water, materials) through the advancement of renewable energy and energy-efficient policies; and branding the community and establishing its identity moving forward.

The Pacific Beach eco-district’s vision is to become a model to be replicated elsewhere in the city in terms of how to make communities more sustainable.

Governance of the new Pacific Beach eco-district is to be shared by numerous community groups, including beautifulPB, Discover PB and the Pacific Beach Planning Group, in cooperation with city government.

In 2013, several members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) worked with Pacific Beach, Mission Beach and Mission Bay Park. Experts collaborated with local residents and community leaders to help them plot a strategy and develop conceptual tools for making the beach communities greener and more economically and environmentally sustainable.

IN OTHER ACTION

• Pacific Beach resident Marcie Beckett distributed handouts documenting that three palm trees were cut down — and the resulting holes that were filled with concrete — at 809 Thomas St. (the old Nick’s at the Beach building that new owners are redeveloping). Beckett said felled trees ought to be replaced and that trees are an important part of the community’s streetscape. She said any reduction in the numbers is an aesthetics loss to the community.

• The group’s next meeting will be Wednesday, June 25 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Pacific Beach/Taylor Branch Library, located at 4275 Cass St.
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