Category Archives: Uncategorized

Meet City Councilmember Chris Ward at Oct 5th Meeting

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Our October 5 UHCA meeting will feature Third District San Diego City Councilmember Chris Ward, who represents University Heights. He will discuss a number of policy issues facing the City and our neighborhoods, including the homelessness crisis and the recent outbreak of Hepatitis A, which has hit the local homeless population particularly hard.

Councilmember Ward has taken a leading role in advancing proposals for specific actions as part of the City’s response to these issues. He has been working with law enforcement, health professionals, service providers, and state and local governments to develop a comprehensive response that includes long-term, housing-first programs, as well as short-term responses to provide sufficient shelter, health services, and public safety resources until permanent housing comes online.

Councilmember Ward will also provide updates about the University Avenue Pipeline Replacement Project, including work to speed up the street resurfacing, and lessons learned from this project about how to better address quality control and accountability on all city projects.

The Councilmember advocated for increased funding in this year’s budget to address police recruitment and retention. The number of sworn officers in the city has fallen to an unacceptable level—the lowest in 17 years. This will continue to be a top priority to ensure our neighborhoods remain safe and all communities can enjoy the productive, collaborative relationship with the police department that UHCA has built over the years.

Councilmember Ward will explain what the community can expect in regard to recent developments to improve pedestrian and bike safety for everyone through the City’s Vision Zero program and infrastructure projects. He will also solicit recommendations to better improve community safety.

Councilmember Chris Ward was elected to represent San Diego’s 3rd City Council District in June 2016, and took office in December of 2016. He serves as Chair of the Select Council Committee on Homelessness, Vice Chair of the Infrastructure Committee, and as a member of the Environment, Rules, and Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committees, as well as Vice Chair of the San Diego County Regional Task Force on the Homeless. Please feel free to raise questions or concerns during or after the UHCA meeting or contact Councilmember Ward’s office at or (619) 236-6633.


The featured speaker at the March 2nd UHCA meeting will be prominent San Diego architect Jonathan Segal, FAIA. Segal is a nationally recognized, award-winning architect/developer behind Park & Polk, one of the most interesting and exciting new developments currently in the works in University Heights.

Park & Polk, located at 4104 Park Blvd. (at Polk Ave), is an eight-story, mixed-use project scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2017. According to Segal and his associates, “The building intentionally reads as three objects broken up and accented by large exterior private decks and glazing. We have utilized fins to create continuity among these three forms as well as diffuse light and create privacy. Typical unit decks range in size from around 80 to 300 square feet and units range from 750 to 1200 square feet.”

In addition, the Park Blvd. frontage will have double rows of trees and commercial spaces, and the Polk side will have a green roof flanked with trees. For those not familiar with the term “green roof,” also called a “living roof,” it is the roof of a building partially or completely covered with vegetation and a growing medium planted over a waterproof membrane. Typically, a green roof also includes drainage and irrigation systems. Segal has been instrumental in developing the Master of Science in Architecture in Real Estate Development (MSArch/RED) program at the San Diego campus of Woodbury University (woodbury. edu/program/school-of-architecture/programs/architecture-msarch-red/).

If you want a look at two of Segal’s most notable recent projects, you need not go very far: The North Parker is at 3000 Upas Street, at the corner of 30th St., in North Park; and Mr. Robinson is at 3752 Park Blvd., at the corner of Robinson Ave., in Hillcrest. Both are mixed-use, urban infill projects that have done more than just fill in a previously underdeveloped space. They have brought street life and a sense of community to the sites and the surrounding communities, combining ground floor commercial spaces with urban living spaces, both lofts and apartments, located above. Such is the goal of Park and Polk.

Segal, a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA), has been awarded six national AIA awards as well as several Orchids from the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s (SDAF) annual Orchids & Onions awards, highlighting the best and brightest in San Diego’s built environment. Just last fall, he was awarded an Orchid for the Mr. Robinson building. For more information on his practice, design philosophy, and current, past, and future projects, visit www. And be sure to come to the March 2nd UHCA meeting!

Thank You!

Thank you for making University Heights (UH) a better place to live by attending one of our community meetings, volunteering your time, or participating in one of our social events.  Here are just some of the activities undertaken or sponsored by University Heights Community Association (UHCA) members and volunteers in 2016:

·        Delivering the award-winning UHCA News to 4,000 homes and businesses

·        Meeting our local police officers at the “Cookies with the Cops” event

·        Participating in (or benefiting from) our nationally-recognized Zone Watch safety program

·        Caroling in the Heights, Lights in the Heights, and the Vermont Street Bridge Holiday Lights

·        Helping out at local Clean-Ups and the Vermont Street Bridge Trash Angels program

·        Enjoying “Mary Poppins” with your kids and neighbors at our Summer Movie in the Park

·        Giving something back through the Socks for Vets and Birney School Giving Tree programs

·        Keeping up to date on the community plan updates and other issues at our monthly meetings

None of these things would have happened without the time, energy, and financial support of our many dedicated members.  We want you to be one too!

For over 30 years, UHCA has provided a community forum and amplified the voice of UH residents.  Our self-help projects have made UH a better place to live while our social events have brought people together to build new friendships and community pride.

However, UHCA is only as strong as its membership.  A robust membership roll gives us clout, as well as the financial means to facilitate communication, undertake small but important improvements, and bring neighbors together.  A well-organized, well-respected, and energetic community association helps get things done, influences local decisions, and improves our quality of life.

If you’ve volunteered your time but never become a member, that’s our fault. We need your financial support too and should have asked more often or more convincingly.  It’s easy to sign up for a $25 tax-deductible annual family membership, or become a “Golden Ostrich” for $100.  Go to our website (, or return the attached form with a check to start your membership and support your community.

By the way, we’re always looking for volunteers with energy or special talent.  Please come to our next community meeting at the Birney school on February 3 at 6:45 PM to meet your neighbors, hear what’s going on, and talk to us about getting involved.  You might be surprised how fun it is to pitch in at a clean-up, serve cookies at a social event, or contribute your special expertise or experience as a committee member.

So please, don’t wait for someone else to make your community a better place.  Support UHCA now by becoming a member!

Our Community, Our Future

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Don’t miss our October 1 UHCA Meeting for a timely discussion on the new Community Plans that affect University Heights.

University Heights straddles both the North Park and Uptown planning areas, and the Community Plans for both areas are being updated for the first time since 1988. These updates will set the course for a number of important areas in UH over the next 25 years.

Presentation Overview
Kristin Harms and Bll Ellig will present at the next University Heights Community Association meeting on October 1 about the City’s plans to increase density in UH. The meeting will start at 6:45 pm and be held in the Alice Birney Elementary School Auditorium at 4345 Campus Avenue. The presentation will include an overview of the City’s proposed land use plans for UH, compared to those recommended by the community at a workshop in May 2013. Visual representations will also be presented for each option, based on existing projects in Uptown and North Park.

A vote on the various options will be held at the meeting for submission to the City Planning Department. The Planning Department is requesting comments from the City’s community planning groups for Uptown and North Park by mid-December 2015, and from the community at-large by December 1, 2015.

For those who are unable to attend in-person, you may view the presentation online by registering here. A recording of the presentation will also be made available after the meeting. Registration is limited.

About the Presenters
Kristin has been actively involved in historic preservation and the community plan updates as they affect UH since 2010. She has lived in UH since 1985, chaired the UH Historical Society from 2007 to 2014, founded and chaired the Neighborhood Historic Preservation Coalition from 2008 to 2010.

Bill has also been very active in the community as a member of an Uptown Planners Subcommittee on Urban Design Guidelines, a member of CERT, and as representative for UH on the SANDAG Bike Corridors Community Advisory Group for Uptown and North Park. He also created an extensive online map of over 400 historic sidewalk contractor stamps throughout UH.

To review the current Community Plan proposals in advance, you can download them below.

Download the Uptown Community Plan draft
Download the North Park Community Plan draft

Learn more about the historical boundaries of University Heights here.

2014 Run for the Green Jog-a-Thon Coming March 14

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Alice Birney Elementary School’s annual Jog-a-Thon is the school’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Your generous donation will help keep Birney’s enrichment programs on track. So when a Birney student knocks on your door, please give. And if you can contribute to our efforts with prizes, please email Aryn Famiglietti.

2014 Congressional Art Contest & House App Challenge
High school students throughout the 53rd Congressional District are encouraged to submit artwork for the 2014 Congressional Art Competition. This annual contest is a great opportunity for young artists to showcase their work in the US Capitol. The winning student will receive scholarship opportunities and two round-trip airfare tickets to travel to Washington, DC for the exhibit’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. The winner’s artwork will also be displayed in the Cannon Tunnel of the US Capitol Building for one year. Deadline to submit artwork to Congresswoman Susan Davis’ San Diego office is 5 pm on Wed., April 23.

The 2014 House App Challenge is a nationwide event that allows high school students from across the country to compete by creating and exhibiting their software application for mobile, tablet, or computer devices. Interested students will also have an opportunity to participate in free workshops to learn how to create apps. The winning student will receive the honor of being a 53rd Congressional District STEM App Champion and have their app displayed on Capitol Hill. Contest closes at 5 pm on Wed., April 30. For more information, visit Davis’ website or call her San Diego office at (619) 280-5353. To register for the workshops, please e-mail

Where is University Heights?
In 1983, boundaries for University Heights were established with the blessing of the Normal Heights Community Association, our two City Council members, and our two planning groups working with the University Heights Community Association (UHCA). Today, UH is split between two planning groups, Uptown Planners and the North Park Planning Committee (NPPC), which makes it more difficult for UH residents to assert control over what is happening in our own community. The UH Community Development Corporation (UHCDC), the NPPC, and residents to the east of Texas Street are working to change our boundaries and stop the effort voted on by UH residents to strengthen our voice by being within a single planning group, Uptown Planners. UHCA has provided important archival data so that everyone can learn about the long history behind this issue. Access the extensive documentation here.

Heights at 125

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By Dave Slifka

To the untrained eye, University Heights may appear to be just another indistinguishable part of San Diego’s urban sprawl. However, closer consideration reveals a community that not only has a compelling history of growth but a unique identity forged by its relationship to the land and local civic development. Learn how UH represents the best of San Diego’s past and future.


UHCA would like to thank the volunteers and participants at the UH125 celebration. Below is some coverage of the event, that would not have been a success without you!
U-T San Diego: Happy Birthday, University Heights
KUSI News: University Heights Celebrates 125 Years in the Park


Two new University Heights neighborhood identification signs were installed in June. One is at Washington Street and Lincoln Street, the other at Park Boulevard and Lincoln Street. We are waiting for two other existing but tired signs (at El Cajon Boulevard and Texas Street and at Adams Avenue at Texas Street) to be replaced with fresh editions. A big “thank you” to Uptown Planners, North Park Planning Committee, and the City of San Diego Assistant Traffic Engineer Matt Schmidt for their work in getting these signs replaced.

Erasing Graffiti

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By Greg Sorini

Graffiti. It’s ugly; it’s expensive to remove; and it’s a crime. Graffiti – what it means and what to do about it – will also be the topic of our April UH Monthly meeting. Join us as Detective Bill Miles of the SD Police Department Gang Unit fills us in on this problem. The meeting will be Thursday, April 4 at the SD Unified School District Auditorium at 4100 Normal St. The meeting will begin at 6:30 pm with the Crime Watch Report. Read more about the costs of graffiti and what you can do about it.

Birney’s Jog a Thon is March 15

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Biggest Fundraiser of the Year!
The goal this year for the Jog a Thon is $35,000. Birney students will be asking their family, friends, neighbors, community members and businesses to sponsor them while they “Run for the Green!” The Jog a Thon helps fund a librarian, Spanish, Art, Music and Garden instruction, which the school district does not fund. These programs cost $87,000 a year. Find out how you can help.

University Heights and Uptown Studied for Bicycle Network Improvements
SANDAG has recently begun a significant study, the Uptown Regional Bike Corridor Project, to look at improving regional bicycle networks and the connections within neighborhoods that link us to each other and to the larger region. Learn more about the project and how you can provide input.

The Boulevard Cooking Class

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The Boulevard Cooking Class is an opportunity to learn how to cook food from throughout the world, and best of all, classes are taught by El Cajon Boulevard’s top chefs. Familiarize yourself with the amazing array of ethic restaurants the Boulevard has to offer, and learn about their cuisine and culture!
On Monday evenings from 6 to 7:30, these six classes will have you exploring a different restaurant on the Boulevard each week. The cost for all six classes is $150. To sign-up, contact Beryl Forman with the El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association at 619.283.3608.

Winter Watering Hours Now in Effect

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Because the days are shorter and the amount of water lost to evaporation has decreased, the time allowed for water irrigation in University Heights and throughout the City of San Diego has changed. From now through May 31, 2013, residents can water their property as early as 4 pm, though water officials also recommend cutting back on the amount of water used for irrigation during the milder winter and spring months.

For more information on water conservation and the City’s landscape watering calculator, which helps customers determine the amount of water use according to their specific landscape design, visit or call (619) 515-3500.

The City of San Diego’s Water Conservation Program reduces water demand through promoting or providing incentives for the installation of hardware that provides permanent water savings, and by providing services and information to help San Diegans make better decisions about water use.