County of San Diego, CA Public Works / Agencies
PDC prepared single-family residential design guidelines for the County of San Diego. These guidelines contain a number of graphics to illustrate desirable and undesirable development patterns and included methods of designing residential projects in conformance with natural features.
As part of the process, PDC conducted public workshops with community group members, business industry leaders, and other stakeholders. To get an idea of the perceived positive and negative features of development, one of the public participation methods involved organizing workshop participants into small groups to review real-life projects and comment on problems that result in poor subdivision design as well as features that result in good subdivision design. This exercise elicited passionate responses regarding what stakeholders want to see (minimal grading that follows the natural terrain, meandering roadways, pathway connectivity, preservation of agriculture, varied setbacks) and what they don’t want to see (cul-de-sacs, dense/overbuilt projects, lack of respect for existing community character, large retaining walls). Some participants were familiar with the case study projects and were able to explain the circumstances/constraints that affected the development design. This insight helped to balance the conversation and reveal other factors involved in the development review process (such as better communication between County departments) that needed to be addressed.
The public participation process was effective and resulted in the creation of a document that was supported by the community. The design guidelines were adopted on consent by the Board of Supervisors on May 2, 2012. The County was extremely appreciative of PDC's work efforts.