BITS AND PIECES: ‘Neighbors Preserving Kate Sessions Heritage’ shocked into action by reservoir property sale


Residents of the Soledad Terrace neighborhood around Los Altos Road have been scrambling to find answers about the City’s impending sale of the 4.76-acre site of the Pacific Beach Reservoir property with little success to date.

The neighborhood is the site of the former home of famed horticulturist Kate Sessions, known as “The Mother of Balboa Park,” who is known for the many trees and plants she brought to San Diego. Situated about 300 feet above sea level with stunning views of the ocean, the property will easily fetch millions of dollars.

Holding past correspondence with City departments and Mayor Kevin Faulconer when he was a City Council member, residents were lulled into complacency with promises that no sale was imminent and that the community would be duly notified of any changes.

That changed when a “For Sale” was placed at the entry to the property at the beginning of August.

“We’ve been talking on and off with the City (for years),” said resident David Mulcahy. “They swore to us it would never be sold and if they did decide to sell it, they’d talk to us first. The first time we learned anything about it was when they put the “For Sale” sign up. That shocked us.”

Residents quickly organized, holding two meeting among themselves on Aug. 6 and Aug. 14. As a group, they then attended the Pacific Beach Town Council meeting on Aug. 16 and the local Planning Group on Aug. 23 to bring their apprehensions to the fore.

Of primary concern for residents is the density of any future development. Their research to date has revealed conflicting zoning categories for the site. With the majority of surrounding properties zoned RS-1-2 (up to two residential homes per acre), residents worry that any higher density will severely strain the narrow Los Altos Road with traffic and parking, and block their ocean view corridor.

“The point is, we’re getting so many different stories,” said Debbie Otero Kostas. “It’s prime land. It’s a hot ticket for development. We’re not going to stop the sale. But can we adjust the scale?”

Unofficially called the “Neighbors Preserving Kate Sessions Heritage,” the group sent a letter to Mayor Faulconer’s office on Aug. 23 seeking clarification and has started a petition drive to stop any further action without community input, which has garnered more than 120 signatures to date. For further information, contact Leah Higgins at

The realtor for the sale is Jones Lang LaSalle. Bidding on the property will be closed Sept. 12.

Parking, traffic survey open to PB residents

The Pacific Beach Parking Advisory Board is seeking community input on parking and traffic issues, via a 10-minute survey that can be accessed online at or by calling (858) 273-3303 for a copy. By completing the survey, you will help the Board identify: 1) parking and traffic impacts affecting residents, businesses, employees, schools and visitors; 2) the desired solutions; 3) revenue sources to pay for the solutions.

Did you know there are six community parking districts in the City of San Diego, including the Pacific Beach Parking District? Each district is responsible for devising and implementing parking management solutions to meet the community’s specific needs and resolve undesirable parking impacts. Certain parking management-related revenues earned by the City within the boundaries of a parking district may be allocated to the district to implement and manage improvements to the community particularly that address parking impacts.

PB Planning Group has two open seats to fill

There are two seats open on the Pacific Beach Planning Group, recognized by the San Diego City Council to make recommendations to the City Council, Planning Commission, City Staff, and other governmental agencies on land-use matters, specifically, concerning the preparation of, adoption of, implementation of, or amendment to, the General Plan or a land-use plan when a plan relates within the planning group’s area boundaries. The PB Planning Group meets 6:30 p.m. fourth Wednesdays at Taylor Library. To learn more, visit

Ground-breaking near for Jefferson Pacific Beach apartments

Two car dealerships, Guy Hill Cadillac in Pacific Beach and Bob Baker Ford in Mission Valley, are being replaced by a combined 477 apartments, and developers say they bought the sites for the same reason car dealers did 50 years ago: location, location, location.

Texas-based JPI is breaking ground on the $103 million, 172-unit Jefferson Pacific Beach, on the three-acre site along I-5 where some 50,000 Cadillacs were sold from 1967 to 2006. Completion is set for the first quarter of 2019. The Dinerstein Companies, also based in Texas, is nearing completion on the 305-unit, 5.4-acre Millennium Mission Valley, just east of state Route 163. Occupancy is scheduled for October. The project cost was not available, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

Plans for Jefferson Pacific Beach (4275 Mission Bay Drive, just south of Trade Winds Motel) call for 172 units, including 14 reserved for low-income residents; four studios, 94 one-bedrooms, one three-bedroom and three townhomes.

The amenities will include a pool, spa, fitness center, do-it-yourself surfboard repair area, dog wash, community kitchen and 7,000 square feet each of retail and office space. Solar panels will power some of the project.

Monthly rent will start at $2,000 with the townhouses going for about $4,600.

The project also will add a traffic signal at Rosewood Street and upgraded signalization along Mission Bay Drive.

Peninsula Singers seek voices for fall season

The Peninsula Singers community choir is looking for new voices. No audition is needed and singers with all levels of experience are welcome. Rehearsals are held 5:30-7:30 p.m. Mondays (beginning Sept. 11) in the community room at Point Loma Hervey Branch Library, 3701 Voltaire St. The choir is directed by Sarah Suhonen and accompanied by Stewart Simon on piano.

Performances in December will include seasonal music from old-style carols to jazz and modern arrangements, as well as classical favorites. Those interested, may visit or attend a rehearsal. Peninsula Singers has performed at many venues, including U.S.S. Midway, “December Nights” in Balboa Park, and the San Diego Botanical Garden.

Oops! Missed a coffee shop in last month’s line-up

The cover story about Pacific Beach’s nine independent coffee shops in the August issue of PB Monthly, neglected to mention Kona’s Coffee on Ocean Front Boulevard. The omission was reported by an alert reader, sipping coffee at Kona’s.

City’s mobile app set to speed response to reported complaints

The City’s mobile app Get It Done San Diego allows residents to report problems, request neighborhood improvements and track the progress of a complaint. It’s available for iPhone and Android users. With the Get It Done app, people can take and upload photos related to 20 non-emergency problems with roads, street lights, traffic signals and more. The app uses GPS information embedded within photos to automatically update the address and location of problems. After uploading the photo, the app user simply has to identify a few details about the problem and click submit. Access it at