By Jeff Stevens, Chair Mira Mesa Community Planning Group
March 28, 2016

What is the relationship between the Mira Mesa Community Planning Group and the Mira Mesa Recreation Council? In brief, the planning group identifies locations for parks which are incorporated into the Mira Mesa Community Plan while the Mira Mesa Recreation Council supports the design and development of the parks and activities in the parks after they are built. These are the primary responsibilities of the groups, but the dividing line is not quite as sharp as that sounds – the planning group will have input on the design and the recreation council will have input on where parks are located. Both the Planning Group (through City Council Policy 600-24) and the Recreation Council (through the Park and Recreation Department and City Council Policy 700-42) are part of the City’s structure to solicit feedback from the Community.  As part of that structure these groups are governed by State Law (Brown Act) and the City’s rules which are overseen by the City Attorney to ensure fairness in their organization and meetings and outreach to the Community.

All of our current and future parks are identified in the Mira Mesa Community Plan. The City of San Diego General Plan calls for 2.8 acres of parkland for every 1,000 residents. As of the 2010 census, there were 72,759 Mira Mesa residents, and at buildout the Community Plan estimates 82,600 residents, so for compliance with the General Plan, we should have 204 acres of parkland now and 231 acres at buildout. We currently have 135 acres of parkland and will have 210 acres at buildout when all parks in the Community Plan are completed. The buildout number includes two 10-acre parks in Carroll Canyon and the 16.5 acre Canyon Hills resource-based park above Mercy Road. Most of the deficiency is caused by the loss of McAuliffe Community Park next to Challenger Middle School which could not be developed due to vernal pools on the site. Complicating the calculation further is the large Stone Creek project in Carroll Canyon which would add almost 15,000 residents to the community. While they plan to add some additional parkland, it is all passive parkland along Carroll Creek and as currently planned it will not reduce the deficit.

There are three different types of parks in the community: community parks, neighborhood parks and a resource-based park. Community parks serve a population of 25,000 and have active uses such as sports fields and gymnasiums. We currently have two: Mira Mesa Community Park and Hourglass Field Community Park. Finding a replacement location for the lost third community park is a high priority for the planning group. Neighborhood parks are smaller, generally less active, and serve a population of 10,000. Resource-based parks are based on some natural feature rather than population. In the case of Canyon Hills, it is a spectacular view looking west over the Mira Mesa Community and all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

The land acquisition, design and development of parks is funded primarily by the Mira Mesa Facilities Benefit Assessment. This is a fund that developers pay into when they pull their building permits. The FBA has been extraordinarily helpful in getting our parks built, but it does have a limitation in that park development always lags behind the population. That is, there needs to be enough money in the FBA to pay for a park before it starts, which may be some time after the housing that paid for it is occupied. A subcommittee of the planning group reviews the FBA every year.

Mira Mesa Community Plan: https://www.sandiego.gov/planning/community/profiles/miramesa/plan

Mira Mesa FBA: https://www.sandiego.gov/facilitiesfinancing/plans/miramesa

City of San Diego General Plan: https://www.sandiego.gov/planning/genplan