By Doug Curlee | Editor at Large
The April 12 meeting of the Navajo Community planning board has been hearing this plan, in one form or another, longer than anyone currently on that board can remember.
It’s the plan that would build homes — in this case, 24 of them — in what is generally considered a gully along the east edge of College Avenue from Interstate 8 west.
In this incarnation, it’s called the ColRich residential project, and the proposal has drawn the ire of Del Cerro residents for many years. The number of proposed homes there has been reduced from 28 to 24, but it’s not making the Del Cerro people any happier that way.
The main stumbling block is that no matter how the Marburn Corporation developers lay the plan out, there is still only one possible way in and out of the area, and that plan makes it impossible to access or egress the area without at least one illegal U-turn on or around Del Cerro Boulevard.
Marburn spokesman Seth Dorros admits this, and pleaded for help from the community.
“Look, we know the access is a problem we haven’t yet solved,” he said. “We’re asking you, the community, to help us figure it out. Please propose some solutions. Any ideas you have would maybe help.”
Dorros got a lot of suggestions, but none of them offered any help for the developers’ problem.
Del Cerro Action Council President Jay Wilson says he can’t understand how it even got to this point.
“I can’t believe the city’s traffic people would even think about agreeing to this. They never have before,” he said.
Maureen Champion echoed that concern.
“This would just create a major choke point in our area — we just don’t want this in our area.”
Rosemary Ghosn said it would disrupt life in Del Cerro.
“How do I get home every day, if this happens?,” she asked. “Even now, it’s almost too hard to get to Windmill Farms. This would make it impossible.”
There wasn’t even a formal vote on approval of the project at the April 12 meeting — that happens next month. But, given the fact that most of the planning board expressed the same reservations the Del Cerro residents did, the final vote result isn’t at all hard to predict.
More than a little skepticism was expressed about the other big issue of the night — again, this was informational, and won’t be voted on until a future meeting.
But what was supposed to be a brief informational presentation about the proposed SoccerCity redevelopment plan for the Qualcomm Stadium property in Mission Valley, instead turned into a bit of an argument.
FS Investors representative Nick Stone pointed out the financial benefits of the city selling the property to his group to build SoccerCity, and all the tax revenues that would accrue to the city when the development of stadium, housing, offices and retail properties are built and up and running. It was a breakdown to talking points of the 55-page ad the SoccerCity folks ran in the Union-Tribune some weeks ago.
The audience, though, had concerns that have been expressed elsewhere before, specifically about the role, if any, of the San Diego State Aztec football program.
Stone could only say: “We’re still talking with State.”
Terry Cords, a planning group member and a mover and shaker in youth soccer in San Diego, loves the idea, but is more than a little worried about the execution of it.
“Reading this 55-page ad tells me that once the deal is done, you folks are in total control, and we have nothing to say about it,” Cords said.
There wasn’t a real understandable answer to that.
Joe LaCava, a community activist and leader of a group called Public Land, Public Vote that is opposed to the SoccerCity development, said the idea of Mayor Kevin Faulconer setting the price for the Mission Valley land is ridiculous.
“That land is city-owned property, and something that big should never be sold without a public vote,” he said.
Nick Stone assured that there will be one, and he couldn’t stop it if he wanted to.
“We know the City Council will not just approve the sale — it’ll be on the special election ballot in November, and we’ll go from there,” Stone said.
In other action on a busy night, Liliana Caracoza of the San Diego Housing Commission reported that her commission would like input from taxpayers on how to spend the $74 million the commission has in its 2017-2018 budget.
She also needs those comments by April 26.
And keeping the roster up to date, Matt Adams was re-elected planning group chairman, with Jon La Raia as vice chair, and Rich Burg as secretary.
After this meeting, they may be asking themselves again why they wanted those jobs.
—Doug Curlee is Editor at Large. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.