It’s All About Location – A Word from our President

It’s All About Location – Remembering the Role and Responsibility of the Mission Hills Business Improvement District

By J. Daniel Geddis, President, Mission Hills Business Improvement District

REALTOR, Team D&B at One Mission Realty 

I’m writing this column in an unseasonable downpour of rain. Surely it will stop in time for the community-wide banner art contest Colors on Canvas Banner Art ContestColors on Canvas Awards Reception taking place on Wednesday, June 5, from 5:30 until 7:30 in the evening in The Frame Maker located at 3102 Reynard Way. Refreshments will be provided by Cake Bakery, Lazy Acres, Pizza e Birra and Thorn Brewing Company. You are invited to stop by to view the Mission Hills centric children created artwork. Simply RSVP online at MissionHillsBID.com/ColorsOnCanvas, on or before June 3, to let us know you are attending and the number of grown-ups and children in your group. This BID sponsored contest was made possible by generous funding support from The County of San Diego, City of San Diego, The Patio Group, Grant K8 School, Paint Box Art Studio, and The Moll Family.

Summertime officially begins on June 21. And, if you are anything like me, the anticipation of sunny days, vacation time off, warm sunsets and visitors from afar who know we are the location for the best summer climate in the world, is nearly palatable.

As a Realtor with an office in Mission Hills I am constantly reminded about the importance of location. Most of my clients are referrals from prior happy clients while others look at the real estate listings in my window and walk in to learn more. All are exploring the opportunity to buy a home. All want the biggest bang for their buck.  Not all can afford a home in Mission Hills, but nearly all who stop by aspire to one day own a home in our lovely neighborhood. All know location matters.

Old Mission Hills Library at 925 W. Washington St.

Since May 7, I have been hearing there’s a big elephant roaming around Mission Hills. Its name is Permanent Supportive Housing. We hear it belongs to the City of San Diego and wants a home at the old Mission Hills Library site. Now, let’s really talk about location.

As the elected president of the Mission Hills Business Improvement District (BID) board of directors I accept the fun and the challenges that come with the position. I strive to approach every meeting with an open mind and with the goal of making an informed decision for the nearly 500 dues paying business license holders within the geographic boundaries of West Lewis Street, Fort Stockton Drive and Goldfinch Street, the West Washington Street and University Avenue corridors, Reynard Way and India Street’s International Restaurant Row who have elected me. I put on my BID hat and remember the Mission Hills Business Improvement District was organized and established in March 2004 through the combined efforts of the local business owners and the City of San Diego’s Community and Economic Development Department. And, the purpose of the BID is to improve the overall business climate of the commercial area through a committee system that includes: Promotions, Economic Development, Design, and Mission Hills Parking Advisory committees. 

As a Business Improvement District board serving to represent the best interests of the commercial area, we continue to hear business owners’ disapproval over the proposal from the City of San Diego to turn the old library into Permanent Supportive Housing. It is with these concerns, and the BID’s purpose front-of-mind, that the Mission Hills BID board of directors voted on May 15 to petition against the western gateway to our community’s commercial core becoming a Permanent Supportive Housing location. 

The Mission Hills BID, Mission Hills Town Council, and Mission Hills Heritage community based organizations were asked by Councilmember Chris Ward to provide input on the future use of the old Mission Hills Library site and we responded. Following is a brief history of what we were asked, what we did, and what has happened since. Read more at: MissionHillsBID.com/old-library

In June 2018 the Mission Hills BID (BID), Mission Hills Town Council, and Mission Hills Heritage were asked by Councilmember Chris Ward for a community recommendation on the future usage of the old Mission Hills Library.

In response, the BID developed an online survey which began on July 1 and concluded on Saturday July 21. There were 438 respondents. With neutrality and transparency in mind, Councilmember Ward’s staff joined the BID in reviewing all of the responses.  The outcome was posted on the BID website.

In October 2018 the BID sent a letter to Councilmember Ward stating “the Mission Hills BID supports the re-use of the Old Library site for a business use or mixed use with retail on the ground floor.”

In November 2018 the Mission Hills Town Council sent a letter to Councilmember Ward outlining their support for preserving the building as it exists, to adaptively reuse for active public or business use, and to retain parking for the neighboring fire station.

On January 25, 2019 Councilmember Chris Ward issued a memo to Mayor Kevin Faulconer conveying the recommendations of the community of Mission Hills.

On May 7, 2019 Mayor Kevin Faulconer released an announcement that the old Mission Hills library property is being considered for development as a 28 unit residence for homeless individuals, including wrap-around services defined as Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH).

Mission Hills is a small community comprised of residences and businesses.  As a community we have long-supported low-income housing as exemplified by the 150 units for seniors at Green Manor on Ibis Street, the numerous multi-family apartment buildings located on Fort Stockton Drive, West Lewis Street, Albatross, Brant, Curlew, Dove, Eagle, Falcon and Goldfinch Streets and the nearly exclusive multi-family apartment residential community along Reynard Way. A leisurely walk or drive will reveal Mission Hills includes affordable and federally assisted housing nicely situated among charming cottages and impressive estates for which we are better known.

I suggest the City of San Diego meet with the community of Mission Hills to find a more suitable home for that big elephant named Permanent Supportive Housing. Afterall, we all know it’s all about location.

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