By KENDRA SITTON
La Mesa City Council formed a sub-committee to address the Alvarado specific plan which would replace the San Diego RV Park with transit-oriented, multi-family residential housing. The decision was made during the Tuesday, March 9 City Council meeting. At the request of Mayor Mark Arapostathis, Council members Colin Parent and Bill Baber will form the sub-committee to bring the specific plan changes forward and work on significant public outreach.
The decision did not require a vote and came after David Witt presented an update to the planned development on behalf of the owner, Paydar Properties.
The development would be constructed on 12 acres of relatively flat land near the 70th Street Trolley Station. It can be seen from the Interstate 8 freeway. It could hold up to 950 apartment units and have a student housing component. The land is on Alvarado Road between 70th Street and Comanche Drive.
“This is really a unique site because it’s so isolated,” Witt said in response to Baber’s concern about neighbors. “[It is a] unique and challenging site that in the end will be consistent with the goals and policies of La Mesa.”
The raised Green Trolley line means the property is separated from other neighbors.
The draft specific plan is on the website and an environmental review has already been conducted. Arapostathis requested that the sub-committee make extra effort to alert the community of the draft plan so the city can be as transparent as possible.
The project is in an area that regularly floods because of the Alvarado Creek. Witt said that the changes made by the project should fix the flooding issue for everyone.
Council member Jack Shu raised environmental concerns about the project. He said that although the project meets the city’s current climate action plan, it may not meet future goals already being advanced by other cities. For instance, the development still uses gas appliances and solar panels would be installed later rather than during the initial build.
“We’re gonna make some allowances for this project and then we should get in return as much low-income and very low-income housing in return,” he said.
Resident Jean-Guillaume Lonjaret also commented that more could be done to reduce the buildings’ operational cost and greenhouse gas emissions, for example by heating the several swimming pools and jacuzzis with solar arrays, which are very cost-effective at the proposed scale of the project.
Two members of the public submitted comments to the City Council meeting. The first said La Mesa’s peace and quiet is being worried by big developments and expressed concern about the RV park residents who will be kicked out. The second was supportive of the plan, particularly the transit-oriented aspect, but echoed Shu’s comment that the appliances should all be electric.
View the draft plan and environmental impact studies at www.cityoflamesa.us/1639/Alvarado-Specific-Plan.
— Contributing editor Kendra Sitton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.