June 24, 2011 - Re-envisioning the Westside Neighborhood: An Innovative Approach to Ranking Properties with Nonconforming Uses

Presentation by:
Sara Russell, USEPA
Patricia Beard, National City, CA
Jim Rocco, Vita Nuova LLC

Click here to download the Presentation Slides

The Westside Neighborhood is a primarily low-income, minority, urban neighborhood, wholly contained within the incorporated limits of National City, California. National City has a population of approximately 61,000 and is located five miles south of San Diego and nine miles north of Mexico. Over the past 50 years, the Westside neighborhood has evolved from a primarily residential neighborhood to include a significant number of industrial uses, mainly auto body-related, in and around homes and an elementary school. Neighborhood residents have the highest incidence of asthma in the county, which they attributed to the incompatible mix of land uses. With approximately 389 polluters per square mile, the Westside Neighborhood has begun the process of re-envisioning their neighborhood as a healthy and affordable place to live.

In order to accomplish this goal, National City recently revised its zoning code to incorporate the Westside Specific Land Use Plan, focused on the Westside Neighborhood. The revised zoning resulted in a number of properties in the Westside area where the current land use does not conform to the revised zoning. This webinar will discuss the unique tool that uses a multi-step decision-making process to address nonconforming uses in a transparent manner. This tool is central to helping the City and the Westside Neighborhood begin the process of transforming their neighborhood.

About the Presenters:

Sara Russell
sara.venice.jpgSara Russell is a Brownfields Project Manger at the U.S. EPA's Pacific Southwest Office in San Francisco. Sara has worked at the EPA for over 11 years in the Office of Public Affairs, Air Division and in Pollution Prevention. She works with brownfield grantees in San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. She also specializes in sustainable development and social media outreach. When not at the office Sara can be found volunteering with the Cub Scouts and Nursing Mothers Counsel.

Patricia Beard
Patricia Beard, a 20-year veteran in community and economic development, has focused on brownfield redevelopment for more than a decade. Her expertise lies in leveraging grants, local and private investment to renew contaminated sites including one of five Brownfield Pilots of the federal Partnership for Sustainability.


Jim Rocco
Jim Rocco has over 25 years of experience in environmental risk management, including corrective action, multi-criteria structured decision making, risk communication, legislative and regulatory technical support, and liability management. Mr. Rocco's expertise and primary interests are the development and application of multi-criteria structured decision making for corrective action and redevelopment and technically sound, resource efficient approaches to environmental risk management for commercial, industrial and brownfields properties. Mr. Rocco also focuses on the development and implementation of Geographic Information System (GIS) and tabular database solutions to support environmental risk management and decision making.

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