Proposed amendments to the Uptown Community Plan could transform Hillcrest

The changes include proposals to add more housing, public transit, and high-rise buildings that could more-than-double the population.

Hillcrest Sign hanging in Hillcrest

When we see this sign, we know where we are.

Photo by Michael Beausoleil + SDtoday

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Hillcrest is planning to welcome more neighbors. The City of San Diego has released a proposal that — if approved — could double the community’s population by 2050 and add buildings that rise to new heights. Here’s what’s on the table so far.

The next level

Plan Hillcrest (aka the “Hillcrest Focused Plan Amendment”) is a proposal to modify the Uptown Community Plan adopted in 2016. It focuses on a 350-acre area that’s mostly contained in Hillcrest, but also impacts nearby communities like University Heights.

To address housing needs, the plan recommends increasing maximum housing density to 218 units per acre in some zones and 290 units per acre in others — which is estimated to permit buildings as high as 30 stories. If approved, this would be the first time the Uptown Community Plan updated its housing capacity since 1988.

These changes could roughly double the area’s population, from 50,593 people in 24,300 housing units (measured in 2021) to 113,500 residents in 54,600 units, by 2050.

Multi-colored bike racks in Hillcrest

These bike racks show support for the LGBTQ+ community while giving mobility options.

Photo by Michael Beausoleil + SDtoday

More to explore

Beyond addressing housing needs, Plan Hillcrest has four other key goals:

  • Create public spaces
  • Strengthen connections
  • Support local businesses
  • Celebrate the legacy of the LGBTQ+ community

Each objective aligns with priority areas in the City of San Diego’s Strategic Plan. This includes increasing the number of public parks and transit options serving the community.

The proposal also distinguishes Hillcrest as a LGBTQ+ Cultural District, and will incorporate and preserve the neighborhood’s culture and existing history into design elements like art, streetscapes, and buildings.

Chime in

For now, the Hillcrest Plan is a draft, and locals can submit feedback by Friday, Nov. 17, to In early 2024, this feedback will be incorporated into a revised proposal that’s expected to be presented to various boards — including City Council — in summer 2024.