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Design Review Board

Better Design for Park Improvements

     At its monthly meeting in March 2022, the Balboa Park Committee offered encouragement to Committee of 100 volunteers Mike Stepner and René Smith after learning about their idea for a better process of reviewing proposed park improvements.   


(Click on the underlined text to see the Powerpoint presentation)


     As the city’s official advisory body for park management, the Balboa Park Committee may test the process as early as this summer by appointing a Design Review Subcommittee.

     The Subcommittee would consist of professional architects, designers, engineers and planners. It would apply design standards to new Balboa Park projects in a public process, whether a project is designed on the desk of a city staffer or on the dining-room table of a community volunteer. 

     Equally important, the Subcommittee would offer professional, park-focused expertise at the early stages of design development – reducing uncertainty over eventual city approval and eliminating the cost of late-stage design changes that might otherwise be required.

     To stave off disrepair and cultural irrelevance and remain a joyful destination for world visitors and neighborhood families, Balboa Park requires steady improvement. But in recent years, construction projects or new ideas have often come to grief from the added expense, uncertainty and delay that result from multi-layered levels of approval that still may not meet the unique design needs of Balboa Park. 

     Realizing the need for a new way to treat proposed park improvements, Stepner and Smith convened an exploratory group of park stakeholders during 2020. 

     The exploratory committee defined a process to guarantee that the unique nature of the park will be considered in all future project proposals. Drawing upon recent planning experience, they envisioned a uniform process for project initiation and approval that would increase efficiency, clarity, transparency and predictability.

Update from Mike Stepner, C100 Board Member:

The Balboa Park Design Review Exploratory Committee proposal for the reestablishment of a design review and assistance process for Balboa Park continues to move forward. The Balboa Park Committee has examined the proposals and recommendations about why this is critical for the park.


At a public workshop in April, Andy Field, Director of the Park and Recreation Department, led the presented the staff report to the Balboa Park Committee, including the Exploratory committee's recommendations. Field noted that the proposed process for Balboa Park is the prototype for the reestablishment of the city-wide design review process for parks. The city-wide process is an implementation recommendation of the recently adopted Parks Master Plan.


The Balboa Park Committee voted unanimously to move the process forward. It will be scheduled for adoption consideration at an upcoming meeting of the Balboa Park Committee.

Pam Miller - Chairwoman   

James Bonner    Ronald Buckley    Betsey Frankel   Tom Jackson   Michael Kelly

Gerald Kolaja    
Richard Lareau    Vincent Marchetti    Cub Parker    Kay Rippee

C-100 Advisory Council

C-100 Committees

Kaylee Drexel

Melissa Peterman
Lynn Silva
Kevin Carpenter

Interested in joining?

We're always looking for new volunteers to support our work. If you're interested in finding out more or joining any of our committees, please email our membership chair by following this link


Affiliate Organizations

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