David Dodd 2:53 a.m., May 21
No Means Yes: Developer Declares 'No' Vote By Local Planning Group A Victory
Urban Housing Partners, the developer hoping to build a 996-unit mixed use project along the banks of the San Diego River in Grantville, considers a recent 8-to7 vote by a local community planning group against their project a victory.
During that two-hour long hearing more than 100 people packed a temple in Del Cerro to speak for and against Riverbend. Many praised the project, the public park in the development, and the improvements to the San Diego River. Those opposed expressed concerns about traffic that the project would bring, the 85-foot tall building height, and most of all, density.
In a mass email, Lenette Hewitt, the vice president of marketing for Urban Housing Partners, thanked supporters. "Thank you to the 35 people that attended the Navajo Community Planners Meeting on July 16th. We considered the 8-7 vote a victory and the supporters involvement was pivotal to this outcome."
The email urged supporters to write letters to the city council and planning commission. They even included a "sample endorsement letter" that residents could sign and send back to their office.
"We have also attached a sample endorsement letter. If you could send us back a letter with your signature and logo it would be greatly appreciated. Please feel free to customize the letter with your thoughts in mind. We will bring these letters with us to the Planning Commission to also show support of Riverbend."
Anthony Wagner, planning group member and outspoken critic of the project, agrees that the committee vote favored Urban Housing Partners. Without a majority vote, he says, then the vote doesn't carry much, if any, weight.
"A 'no recommendation' vote means that the [Navajo Community Planning Group] will not forward any opinion on the project, good or bad to the San Diego Planning Commission," says Wagner. "It also mean that the group did not weigh in on the thirty or so changes proposed to our community plan."
The fight isn't over, says Wagner. Opponents of the project plan to attend next week's planning commission hearing. That meeting begins at 9am on July 26.