Apr 8, 2024 - News

Mayor Gloria pivots from shelter to safe parking lot in Point Loma

An empty dirt lot at a construction site.

The H Barracks site for the proposed safe parking lot. Photo: Andy Keatts/Axios

Mayor Todd Gloria last week pivoted away from building a large, controversial shelter in Point Loma to pursuing a safe parking lot there instead.

Why it matters: The shift — which was announced along with plans for a 1,000-bed shelter — won't end a standoff with residents who organized against the Point Loma proposal, but it could provide parking for 200 vehicles in which people are living.

  • The city currently operates four lots where people living in cars or RVs can park overnight, with access to restrooms, services and treatment.

What they're saying: "I consider it a battle that has been won, but the war isn't close to over," said Derek Falconer with Point Loma Cares, a nonprofit group formed to oppose the shelter proposal.

  • Gloria said the city will still reserve the option of building a shelter structure at the site, though it will shift its focus to turning it into a safe parking lot.

State of play: That site is called H Barracks — 5 city-owned acres between the airport and Liberty Station.

  • Gloria said the safe parking lot there would serve the large population of people living in oversized vehicles in the Peninsula area.

Fine print: In February, San Diego reached a $3.2 million settlement in a long-running lawsuit over city rules against parking oversized vehicles and living in vehicles.

  • That settlement prohibits the city from enforcing those laws if it cannot provide "reasonably available nighttime parking."

The intrigue: Falconer said nothing has materially changed, since the city could still consider building a shelter structure at H Barracks.

  • He said his group will scrutinize the H Barracks plans to "find places where we can make the process more painful and more expensive for the city."
  • The group will sue to block the project unless the city forms a working group to discuss alternatives, Falconer said.

What's next: Gloria's pivot away from building a 700-bed shelter at H Barracks depends on his plan to instead open a 1,000-bed shelter in Middletown, but the City Council still needs to approve that proposal.

  • That approval process begins with an April 18 committee hearing. It's unclear how the city's plans could again shift if the City Council doesn't sign off on the Middletown shelter.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios San Diego.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More San Diego stories

San Diegopostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios San Diego.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more