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Build Better SD is a citywide initiative to enable the faster delivery of
public spaces and buildings equitably and sustainably across San Diego. City Council adopted the initiative on Aug. 1, 2022. 

WHY?

Inequitable planning policies and the lack of equitable funding tools have resulted in significant disparities in funding for parks, libraries, public streets and other public spaces. Under the old structure, funds were locked into place by community boundaries - meaning there were 43 different neighborhood funds. This resulted in wealthier communities receiving more infrastructure investments, while traditionally disadvantaged communities received significantly less funding for these spaces and services.

There are significant infrastructure needs across the City and approximately $222 million were unable to be spent within that old structure in areas with the greatest need. Community funds were insufficient to fund existing planned projects. Build Better SD will help fund public spaces and facilities faster and more efficiently by expanding to a citywide model. Build Better SD created a citywide fund for fire stations, libraries and mobility projects, such as sidewalk improvements. Parks for All of Us had already created a citywide fund for parks.

Strategic Plan Priority Areas of Focus

This initiative focuses on the following priority areas of the Strategic Plan:

Create Homes for All of Us

Establishes a new funding structure that delivers the infrastructure needed to support new home construction for all of us.


Protect & Enrich Every Neighborhood

Prioritizes equitable investments in infrastructure in the areas with the greatest needs. Reverses structural inefficiencies and racism inherent in the City’s existing development impact fee funding structure.


Advance Mobility & Infrastructure

Provides a more efficient funding structure for the collection and expenditure of development impact fees to ensure that infrastructure improvements are delivered more quickly to our neighborhoods.


Foster Regional Prosperity

Ensures a dedicated funding source to fund the infrastructure needed to serve our growing City.

One City, Two Realities

collage of parks and streets

Playgrounds, Mobility & Transportation, and Parks

Envisioning Build Better SD

Build Better SD is a citywide initiative to support the City of San Diego’s equity, access, conservation and sustainability goals. This initiative sets clear policies intended to create more opportunities for innovative, culturally relevant and interactive public spaces by prioritizing investments in areas where the needs are greatest—streamlining the delivery of more infrastructure, to more people, more quickly. To learn more about these disparities view the story map for this initiative.

Parks for All of Us, adopted by City Council on Aug. 3 of 2021, initiated a more equitable funding system for parks, recreation, and trails, by creating a citywide scaled fee for new parks throughout the City, prioritizing those with the greatest need. Build Better SD is an extension of Parks for All of Us so that we have equitable, need-based, comprehensive funding for not only parks, but all public spaces, including libraries, streets, pedestrian and bike facilities, as well as other gathering spaces.

Build Better SD prioritizes the delivery of:

Priorities Collage

Making Build Better SD a Reality

General Plan icon
Align the City’s General Plan with new policies that will prioritize investments in areas with the greatest needs and create opportunities to gather valuable community input. This will ensure public spaces and facilities truly meet the needs of those they are intended to serve and can be delivered to more people more quickly.
Municipal Code icon
Amend the San Diego Municipal Code to implement these new policies that promote more investments in public spaces for all the people that live, work and play in the City.
Transportation icon
Improve the Regional Transportation Congestion Improvement Program to align with the City’s vision to create neighborhoods where people can safely and enjoyably bike, walk, roll or take transit, and to produce housing units of all sizes.
Impact Fee icon
Update Development Impact Fee structure to streamline public investments and further equitable policies, with an emphasis on prioritizing investment in neighborhoods with the greatest needs and delivering more infrastructure to more people, more quickly.
 

Existing Challenges

Before Build Better SD, the City currently set and collected development fees for each individual community to support public spaces and buildings. This can be challenging as it restricts funds, resulting in:

  • Delays as well as projects that cannot be fully funded.
  • Inequitable investments.
  • Funds that vary greatly between communities.
  • $222 million dollars currently unable to be spent efficiently.

One City, Two Realities

Similar to Parks For All of Us, this initiative will facilitate the creation of a citywide infrastructure funding program. This will ensure that projects are prioritized and funded in a streamlined manner to efficiently address the infrastructure gaps of areas with the greatest needs, which will result in delivering infrastructure faster across the City.

This initiative creates a standardized Citywide fee for new development to streamline public investments with an emphasis on:

  • Addressing historical investment inequities.
  • Delivering infrastructure to areas with the greatest needs faster and more efficiently across the City.

Documents

Share Information icon

Share Information with Friends and Family
We’ve developed materials below to easily learn more about Build Better SD and we invite you to share them with others.

Story Map | PDF icon Fact Sheet | PDF icon Hoja de Información

Comments icon
Send Us Your Questions
Do you have any questions about Build Better SDPlease email us at publicspaces@sandiego.gov so we can connect!
Review documents icon
 

Adopted Amendments

  • PDF icon Resolution R-314271 adopts a new Citywide Fire-Rescue DIF to replace the existing Fire-Rescue component of Community Planning Area-based DIFs.  

  • PDF icon Resolution R-314272 adopts a new Citywide Library DIF to replace the existing library component of Community Planning Area-based DIFs.  
  • PDF icon Resolution R-314273 adopts a new Citywide Mobility DIF to replace the existing transportation component of Community Planning Area-based DIFs as well as modified Mobility DIFs for the Otay Mesa Community.  

Due to the wide variety of existing community-specific fees, a new Citywide fee will result in fee increases in some communities and fee decreases in others. To continue to encourage the construction of new homes in line with the City’s housing goals and to facilitate the creation of fair housing opportunities in high resource areas, for communities where the Citywide DIFs for Fire-Rescue, Library, and Mobility will be lower than the community-specific DIFs, the citywide DIFs will go into effect starting Oct. 21, 2022. For communities where the citywide DIFs will be higher than the community-specific DIF, the new citywide DIF will go into effect starting July 1, 2023. Projects that have already submitted applications to the Development Services Department prior to the effective date of the new fees will be subject to the payment of the fees that were in effect at the time the application was submitted or the proposed Citywide fees, whichever is lower.  

Proposed Amendments

Relevant Documents

Past Meetings