For me, North Park is an ever-evolving place I love, where I’ve been lucky to live and be part of its civic life for 13 years. As past NPPC subcommittee Chair, for five years I efficiently led 40-plus meetings of the Urban Design / Project Review subcommittee, where members worked hard to review 9 major projects, complete the North Park Community Plan, and above all listen to and represent members of the North Park community. My professional background is in Corporate Finance, with a later certificate in Urban Planning from UC San Diego. I believe it’s so important, and never easy, to balance North Park’s future direction with its present needs and rich history, all while keeping the eclectic, ever-developing character that we all enjoy today.
I’ve been a homeowner and resident of North Park since 2015. I’m a strong proponent and user of local businesses and hope to support a community framework in which those businesses can continue to thrive. I’m a passionate advocate of reducing traffic, improving community interactions, and increasing affordable housing through increasing housing and transportation choice. I love the atmosphere of our dense and vibrant community and want to support planning that furthers increased face-to-face interactions between North Park’s members. I’m very excited about the opportunity to serve the North Park residents on the planning committee.
My name is Beau Benko and I’m running for the North Park Planning Committee because I want to support and represent North Park. There’s a lot I love already in North Park, from the community and the people to the businesses, and the spots to view a great sunset. But I believe North Park still has incredible potential for growth. I believe in more housing for more neighbors and I believe we need to work toward a world with no pedestrian deaths. I believe we can support more local businesses and that everyone benefits when multiple modes of transit are supported.
I am running to be on the North Park Planning Committee because I want to become a more involved member of my vibrant North Park community. I live with my partner, Ben, and our sheepadoodle puppy, Woody, in the southwest corner of the neighborhood. We moved to San Diego when Ben received orders to the USS San Diego, stationed out of the 32nd Street Navy Base. Ben and I chose to live in North Park for many reasons: we love its historic homes, diversity of restaurants, and plethora of breweries. However, the key reason we chose North Park is because we could both bike to work and walk to dinner.
As a city planner by trade, I seek to live in and create vibrant and livable urban spaces. In my current role as a policy advisor at the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, I understand the importance of small businesses, affordable homes, and an array of transportation options to our regional economy. I believe North Park is one of the most unique neighborhoods in San Diego because of its strong local economy, walkable streets, and proximity to Balboa Park and I hope to use my seat on the planning committee to lift up and support the parts of the neighborhood that I love.
I moved to San Diego six years ago, already passionate about building communities that are great places for diverse people to live, work, play, and learn. Since then, I’ve transitioned from a 15-year career working with nonprofits and philanthropy to a new role consulting on housing and community development. These experiences help me to explore ideas from multiple perspectives to help bring about solutions that meet current community needs while maintaining the flexibility to adapt to a changing environment. I’m also thrilled that my family will finally be moving into our home in the heart of North Park this summer.
As an avid pedestrian, I’ve come to appreciate North Park’s craftsman’s, garden apartments, even its infamous Huffman 6-packs, and the new stark modern marvels: They all tell the story of a North Park that is always evolving. As we move toward the future we look to North Park’s past for guidance: its willingness to change in order to ensure that North Park remains a strong working and middle class neighborhood where families of all income levels can thrive.
As San Diego faces a housing crisis, we know that we need to ensure we’re building affordable housing for those just starting families and those who wish to retire in our amenities rich neighborhood. But we also face a climate crisis. As we transition away from fossil fuels, we need to ensure we create safe infrastructure to allow people to choose active transit options such as walking, biking, scooting, and busing. As the YIMBY Democratic San Diego club president and Rise North Park founder, I’m not satisfied with just voting, I’m committed to leading on these values.
I chose to make North Park my home after growing up in Indiana and spending five years in the Bay Area. I fell in love with North Park’s lively yet relaxed character and its wonderful vibes. As a progressive neighborhood, we should be leading the fight against climate change: We have to fight sprawl and long commutes, and that means building more homes near where the jobs are and where people want to be. We also need to make it easier to develop car-free habits of getting around. That means taking the opportunity when planning infrastructure and development to prioritize buses and protect people whether they’re walking, biking, scooting or skating. My vision of North Park preserves its vibes and essence while beautifying our built environment, cleaning the air, and improving the safety of our public spaces.