"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.