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"This is an important project in my district," said councilmember Donna Frye, who felt ill and needed to leave Wednesday's council meeting. Before leaving, Frye presented a motion to delay a vote on the Hazard Center redevelopment project in Mission Valley, a project that includes two high-rise towers off Friars Road near the 163.

Frye's motion failed, with councilmembers Sherri Lightner, Kevin Faulconer, Carl DeMaio, and Ben Hueso in opposition.

"I hope you have some consideration and might reconsider the vote taken today. It's a very small courtesy." Frye said after the vote.

And although Frye left due to illness, it didn't take long to see that the remaining seven councilmembers couldn't have felt better about the merits of the "smart-growth" project located on the transit corridor.

After Frye's departure, the council listened to the details of the project: the proposed development consists of the demolition of a movie theatre, parking garage, and restaurant, followed by the construction of one 21-story building and a 22-story building. In all, the project will add 473 mixed-use units to the corner of Frazee Road and Hazard Center Drive, across the street from a trolley station.

And while city staff supported the development, many neighbors, such as Mike Mellon who lives in one of the 120 condominiums across the street from the development, considered the proposed high rises to be a hazard to the neighborhood. Mellon believed the two towers are not compatible with the surrounding architecture.

"This is precedent-setting. These two towers are the two tallest in Mission Valley."

In addition, Mellon felt the small, .63-acre park that will be set aside is insufficient, and the traffic created by the development outweighs any smart-growth principles that were touted by the builders.

Mission Valley resident Jason Broad also objected to the project and agreed that the triangular park that will abut the highway was insufficient. "The one thing we need in Mission Valley is a park. We did meet with the developers and talked about what the residents wanted in terms of park space for Mission Valley. At the end of those three meetings we had the same design that they brought forward."

Despite the concerns from the residents, the remaining city councilmembers voted in favor of Hazard Center's two high rises.

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Comments

nostalgic May 20, 2010 @ 3:41 p.m.

Development is like a hula hoop - it takes developers, banks, and buyers to keep it going around. When you only have developers, banks, and the city, will it continue to spin? Seems like it will.

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OBDave May 20, 2010 @ 10:50 p.m.

If values of existing condos fall another 10-15% and then stagnate for a half decade like they did at the end of the last crash in the early nineties, does the project still pencil out?

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CuddleFish May 21, 2010 @ 12:27 p.m.

Excellent reporting, Dorian.

I am assuming this project came before the local planning group. I wonder if the people who were concerned came to those meetings and spoke out against it.

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Dorian Hargrove May 21, 2010 @ 1:12 p.m.

CuddleFish,

The Mission Valley Planning Group did approve the proposal. I'm sure the opposition presented their objections to the MVPG, though I'm not sure what action, if any, was taken. Thanks!

Dorian

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CuddleFish May 21, 2010 @ 1:59 p.m.

Thanks, Dorian. Be interesting to see who wins Donna's seat.

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Grasca May 23, 2010 @ 10:07 a.m.

I wonder if the Brown Act would allow a noticed matter to be pulled by Ms. Frye in these circumstances ? There were a large number of staff and public who had come to council because the matter was on the agenda and published the required 72 hours before the meeting. If anyone knows the answer, I would like the explanation. Is there a recognized planning group in Mission Valley which took a vote and gave testimony ? What did the Planning Commission opine ?

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CuddleFish May 23, 2010 @ 10:13 a.m.

Dorian answered the question about the planning group in his post to my question, Grasca, if I am not misunderstanding you.

In terms of Frye trying to have the matter pulled, it amounts to a punt, doesn't it? She is termed out, so basically she is leaving it for her successor to work on and finish.

I don't know a lot about the area in question. Aren't there a lot of high rises in Mission Valley?

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Grasca May 23, 2010 @ 4:03 p.m.

I realized that there was a Mission Valley Planning Committee after I posted. Sorry for the overlap.

I am just not certain if an item can pulled under these circumstances to be in compliance with the Brown Act.

There is a lot of density in Mission Valley so many who testified against the development felt getting around would be even worse for those who live in the area or want to shop.

Of course the Chargers wanted the entire 160 acres around the stadium for the new stadium and housing.

I recall that there is a gas plume under some parts of Mission Valley.

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CuddleFish May 23, 2010 @ 7:08 p.m.

Couldn't find the article, Grasca.

The gas probably originates from the location downtown known as City Hall.

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Grasca May 23, 2010 @ 10:04 p.m.

When in doubt I have heard that the City Council asks the Oracle so gas does come in handy at times.

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