Answers and responses to commonly asked questions about the Kearny Mesa Community Plan Update will be provided on this page. This list will be updated periodically in response to additional frequently asked questions and inquiries about the process.

What is a Community Plan?

Kearny Mesa is one of 53 community plans in the City of San Diego, each of which is a part of the Land Use Element of the General Plan. Community plans provide more detailed land use designations and site-specific policy recommendations that are practical at the citywide level. Together, the General Plan and community plans seek to guide future growth and development to achieve citywide and community level goals. All of the adopted community plans must be consistent with the goals and policies of the General Plan.

Why is the Kearny Mesa plan being updated?

This process will help the City and the community determine how Kearny Mesa will develop in the future so it continues to thrive as a key employment area for the City, while enhancing the diverse opportunities that the community has to offer. New transportation projects and mobility options are planned that will help guide future growth. And with the adoption of the Climate Action Plan (CAP), we need to find ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet state mandates by 2035. The updated plan will provide a road map to guide the future growth of the community for the next 20 years.

How does the Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport relate to the Community Plan Update process for Kearny Mesa?

The Kearny Mesa Community Plan Update will outline the vision and strategies to support community character and establish goals and policies to address land use, mobility, urban design, and public facilities. The Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Field Municipal Airport occupies 500 acres and is a major land use within Kearny Mesa. The City’s General Plan Mobility Element discusses the important role that airports have as an economic driver for San Diego. The airport land use is not a focus for the update led by the Planning Department. The Community Plan Update will consider whether new land uses are appropriate and compatible near the airport, however, the Community Plan Update will not consider alternate uses for the airport. The presence of an active airport places development limitations on some surrounding areas related to height and noise sensitivity that will be considered during the update. As part of the update to the Kearny Mesa Community Plan, the City will submit the draft community plan, development regulations, and zoning to the Airport Land Use Commission (ALUC) for review with the Airport Land Use Compatibility Plan, consistent with Policy LU-G.2 in the General Plan Land Use and Community Planning Element.

Over the years, the City has received federal grant funding for airport development projects, including land acquisition. As an airport sponsor, the City has agreed to specific grant assurances, which state, “There shall be no limit on the duration of the terms, conditions, and assurances with respect to real property acquired with federal funds” (refer to page 1 under section B, Duration and Applicability, in this document FAA Assurances). Additionally, two grants received in 1948 and 1951 outline the City’s responsibility to maintain the airport in perpetuity. The City of San Diego Airports Division is currently in the process of updating the master plan for the Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport. During this process, the needs and demands of airport tenants, users and the general public will be considered. This separate master planning process will define the vision and provide the necessary framework to guide airport development for the next 20 years. More information is available at:

How can I get Involved in the Kearny Mesa Update?

The public involvement program will encompass a number of coordinated efforts to inform and engage community members on priorities and alternative plans. Public involvement opportunities to be incorporated throughout the planning process include: reading plan documents, attending meetings and workshops, responding to surveys, submitting public comments, requesting a presentation for your group or organization, and helping to spread the word on social media. To receive notifications about the Kearny Mesa Community Plan Update, please provide your contact information here.

Is there a trolley line planned for Kearny Mesa?

Yes. San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), the regional planning agency that provides the framework to connect our land use to our transportation systems, has developed a Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). SANDAG’s RTP proposes a future purple line trolley that will run from San Ysidro to Kearny Mesa. This project will make it easier to get from point A to point B, and allow commuters more flexibility with their mode of travel helping to preserve our environment and protect our quality of life.

The Community Plan Update will guide development in Kearny Mesa so it continues to thrive as a key employment center, while capitalizing on the opportunity to plan land uses around future transit locations in Kearny Mesa. The new purple line will expand the transit network and connections to Kearny Mesa. Transit options are important for existing commuters and for providing new connections and increased transit ridership opportunities from neighboring communities.

View the Final Purple Line Conceptual Planning Study

How do Connected Vehicles (CV) and Autonomous Vehicles (AV) relate to the Community Plan Update process for Kearny Mesa?

Smart City San Diego is a multi-year public-private collaboration of leading government, business, education, and nonprofit organizations with the objectives to improve the region’s energy independence, to empower consumers to use electric vehicles, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to encourage economic growth. In alignment with Smart City San Diego initiatives, the City and region are examining the operation of connected vehicles1 and autonomous vehicles2 (CV/AV) within our mobility system.

Potential benefits of CV/AV include the elimination of a large number of vehicular crashes and more efficient fuel consumption with a corresponding reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.3 Different levels of government, from federal to local, have roles in deployment of autonomous vehicles on our roadways. The National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) is responsible for developing, setting, and enforcing motor vehicle standards and regulations for motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment. This agency provides recommended principles that states may wish to apply as part of their considerations for driverless vehicle operation.3 In accordance with the federal efforts, the California State Vehicle Code and regulations will be revised to address CV/AV technology. The cooperation of all levels of government agencies is required for the safe implementation of this technology so that its full benefits can be realized.

Over the next few years, CV/AV technology will be tested on several San Diego freeways and local roadways. In January 2017, the San Diego region was designated by the US Department of Transportation as one of ten “proving grounds” for autonomous vehicles in the nation. The pilot program proposes to operate AV on the I-15 Express Lanes, the South Bay Expressway (SR 125), and along the local network of streets in Chula Vista.4 This effort requires the coordination of multiple organizations including the City of San Diego, the City of Chula Vista, Caltrans, SANDAG, and private partners to openly share best practices for the safe conduct of testing and operations. Agencies are working together through 2017 to plan and prepare for the pilot program, which is expected to launch in 2018.5,6

The City of San Diego Planning Department recognizes the emergent role of CV/AV in the future mobility system in our city, and seeks to incorporate this information into our planning policies. While the City will be introducing policies that support AV/CV, the specific applications and associated improvements or accommodations within communities from a land use or transportation perspective will rely on outcomes of federal, state, and regional planning, design, testing, and operational efforts currently underway. In turn, the Kearny Mesa Community Plan Update (CPU) will align with these policies and incorporate appropriate language. The CPU’s focus regarding CV/AV will be to maximize their utility and benefits through smart deployment throughout the City. The City is excited to participate in the Smart Cities Initiative and the San Diego Proving Grounds pilot study to explore, and ultimately realize, the possibilities for the smart, safe, and operational mobility network of our future.

  1. Connected Vehicles is defined as a vehicle that has a specific wireless communications technology providing additional safety features to both the vehicle and driver (San Diego Forward, Emerging Technologies White Paper, July 2014).
  2. Autonomous Vehicles are those in which at least some aspects of safety-critical control function occur without direct driver impact (San Diego Forward, Emerging Technologies White Paper, July 2014).

PRESENTATIONS from 2017 Connected Vehicles Forum can be found at

How do the airport noise contours and overlay zones affect the draft scenarios for the Community Plan Update?

The MCAS Miramar and Montgomery Field Airport Land Use Compatibility Plans (ALUCPs) place limitations within the airport influence area related to use, height, density, and noise are discussed below. The location of the constraints related to Kearny Mesa and a summary of limitations and restrictions related to overlay zones and noise contours is summarized in this MEMO (click to download).

How does the Parks Master Plan relate to the Community Plan Update?

In efforts to develop a Citywide vision for a parks and recreation system, the City is currently in the process of creating the Parks Master Plan (PMP). The PMP is a separate process from the Kearny Mesa Community Plan Update (CPU). While the PMP will help provide guiding principles related to parks and recreation for the City, the CPU will have a recreation element that focuses on community-specific park and recreation needs. To learn more about the PMP visit

What are the current park needs for Kearny Mesa?

Kearny Mesa has two population-based parks, Hickman Field and Centrum Park, and one park equivalency, the Centrum Park Jogging Path. Hickman Field is unique in that it is a shared community park with the Serra Mesa and Clairemont communities and has a long-term agreement for use by Hickman Youth Association. The City is currently in the design phase for an aquatic complex, picnic areas, children’s play areas, and ADA improvements, among other phased improvements under a General Development Plan. Centrum Park is an approximately two acre mini park. The Centrum Park Jogging Path will total approximately two acres when completed. Kearny Mesa is in need of additional park facilities to serve the existing and future population in the community plan area. Park opportunities will be discussed as part of the Kearny Mesa Community Plan Update.

How do walk- and bike-ability impact businesses?

In response to public questions related to the effects that walking and biking have on businesses, the following resources discuss what various studies show:

What does FAR look like?

Floor Area Ratio (FAR) is the proportion of a building’s usable floor area compared to the total area of the lot of land on which the building stands. In response to questions related to building type and intensity, the following examples have been prepared to show images and corresponding FARs of Research and Development, and Professional Office buildings located within the City of San Diego and other cities within California.

View the FAR Example Buildings PDF

What are park equivalencies?

A park equivalency is an alternative method of providing population-based recreation facilities. Equivalencies are intended to be a part of a realistic strategy for the equitable provision of park and recreational facilities. Park equivalencies can include trails, linear parks, privately-owned publicly-accessible open spaces, rooftop or interior park spaces, or other creative solutions that address park and recreation needs. When park equivalencies are located near transit, it is highly encouraged that they incorporate complementary mobility hub elements such as: bicycle racks, benches with shade, wayfinding signage, and other components that unify the public realm and transit.  Click here to see an example of how development could create a linear park through enhancements that incorporate the public right-of-way and improvements to multi-modal facilities.