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The Millenia project in Chula Vista broke ground September 26 only a short time after Forbes magazine called the city the second fastest-growing in the United States. The Forbes article looked at cities with a population of 200,000 or more since the Great Recession. On June 18 the magazine reported that Chula Vista has grown 17.7% since 2007.

Allison Sampite-Montalvo reported in the UT on September 26 that Millenia, a Corky McMillin Companies' project, will ultimately include: "3,000 multifamily residences; about 3.5 million square feet of office space, retail, hospitality, civic and mixed-use projects; six parks; a library and a school."

The same UT article quotes mayor Cheryl Cox as saying: "This is the first major development, cornerstone-type project in the city of Chula Vista in the last eight years. We're back."

Déjà vu for the city. In 2003 the census bureau released figures that show that Chula Vista was the seventh fastest-growing in the U.S. According to a July 23, 2003 UT article, the growth rate of the city was 5.5% and "fueled in large part by the explosive housing development on the city's eastern fringe."

Then came the 2008 country-wide subprime mortgage meltdown and Chula Vista was hard hit. By the middle of 2008 Chula Vista had the highest default rate in the county. The city responded to the crisis by tightening its belt and by cutting employees, employee benefits and resident services.

A look at the Growth Management Oversight Report for 2013 indicates that the city still has some work to do to accommodate current and future residents. The report states that four quality-of-life threshold standards "were out of compliance." Those four standards were: "fire, libraries, police and traffic."

Under the standard for Fire the report states: "For the second consecutive year, response times have fallen below the threshold standard...In this report, an increased call volume of 1,493 calls (10% medical and 24% fire), with no increase in staffing and resources, was reported as a hindrance."

Under the standard for Libraries the report states: "For the ninth consecutive year, Libraries is non-compliant with the threshold standard due to inadequate Public Facilities Development Impact Fees to construct additional footage."

The GMOC Library discussion says that "there will be insufficient staff and facilities to serve forecasted growth in the next 18 months and in five years. Construction of the Rancho del Rey branch has been indefinitely postponed due to insufficient Public Facilities Development Impact Fees funding."

Under the standard for Police the report states: "For the first time since 2004, the Priority 1 threshold standard was non-compliant; calls responded within 7 minutes dropped by more than 6%. The Police Department attributed this shortfall to low staffing in the Community Patrol Division and noted that additional officers are being hired."

Under the standard for Traffic the report states: "This year, two signalized arterial segments were found to be non-compliant (northbound Heritage Road between Olympic Parkway and Telegraph Canyon Road, and southbound Otay Lakes Road between H Street and Telegraph Canyon Road.

The GMOC has serious concerns surrounding the chronic non-compliance of the Traffic threshold standard and the delay in constructing Heritage Road to Main Street.

"While it is in the GMOC's purview to request the city council hold a public meeting moratorium on tentative maps or building permits" the GMOC instead called on the city to conduct a workshop on traffic issues.

The workshop is scheduled for October 24 from 6:00-8:00 at the Montevalle Recreation Center.

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Comments

Sjtorres Sept. 30, 2013 @ 12:48 p.m.

Most of the credit for Chula Vista's fiscal success comes from Mayor Cox's steady management of the budget. One area the city council has failed in the foresight department is its frequent approval of changing long standing plans to build more massive apartment complexes. For better or worse, all these new apartments will flatten out the trajectory of a successful boom for Chula Vista. Shortsighted indeed.

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eastlaker Sept. 30, 2013 @ 2:30 p.m.

Let us look at the plus side of the boom and bust cycle--it seems that only when we are on the downturn are the financial messes visible. Because when all the money is pouring in, much can be hidden.

We are watching now, and want to make sure that all the big money decisions are done correctly.

Remember, aren't we still paying for the police headquarters, as it was set up in such a way that we only paid interest due for many years? And isn't it clad in marble--or is it granite? Anyway, let us make sure that on the financial end we are paying attention.

I believe the city of Chula Vista is behind on some of their park and rec plans as well--there was supposed to be another city pool built in 2003. Never happened.

So, yes, let us watch carefully the decisions that are made, and what gets shunted aside.

Build wisely--so that we don't end up being in the regretful position of realizing we have wasted the chance to enhance our community.

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Susan Luzzaro Sept. 30, 2013 @ 3:20 p.m.

Good point about the police station--and city hall Eastlaker--a lot of debt.

I'm not familiar with the plans to build a pool in 2003. I'm wondering if it was planned for the eastside why it couldn't be built with the Mello-Roos funds that the city collects. I had heard that one of the high schools on the eastside was supposed to get a pool as well.

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eastlaker Sept. 30, 2013 @ 6:09 p.m.

The Chula Vista city plan at one time had a designated ratio (the precise amount I forget) which indicated that they were "behind" when it came to pools per capita. This was about 1999 or so.

As there were many developments being built that had private pools included, the city decided to change the plan to a higher percentage. But, they were supposedly planning on building a pool/pool complex at some point.

Regarding pools and high schools...I have been told that all the high schools built on the east side from Eastlake to the most recent (Olympian, High Tech?) were built plumbed for pools. But the pools were never built.

Stories include the idea that everyone thought there would be pools at the Olympic Training Center that the schools could use...didn't happen.

Mater Dei did build a pool, but they are private, as we all know.

The high schools always have a difficult time scheduling pool time, as they are forced to share Southwest College's pools, Loma Verde and Parkway. There have been many good swimmers and water polo players from Chula Vista and the environs who could have been much better if pool access had been better.

So, yes, there is a tendency to think that pools are luxuries--but if we can spend money on luxury finishes for show, why can't we spend on pools for the community?

A cooperative effort with the city of Chula Vista and the developers would be great--look at Irvine, Mission Viejo!

And working with the Olympic Training Center might be an option, as long as the pool facility would not be on their grounds--because that would limit access to the schools and the community.

Rumor has it that Southwestern is planning on upgrading their pools, which is good--but that still would not increase the number of available pools.

Just a few thoughts on the subject of pools; it would be great if there could be some follow-through. FYI--I was told that Ed Brand is the person who consistently quashed pools being built. Guess he didn't have any friends in the pool business!!

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Sjtorres Sept. 30, 2013 @ 5:09 p.m.

Good point about the pool. There's no one on the city council from east of the 805 , except maybe Aguilar, whom I think lives in Bonita area. I've heard second hand from a city hall staffer that some council members think the east side is spoiled (despite all the Mello-Roos taxes paid).

I hope this 'us vs them' attitude doesn't really exist in city hall.

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eastlaker Sept. 30, 2013 @ 6:42 p.m.

Working on getting the link...

http://www.mvnswim.org/

Click on team info, then click on location.

Change the map to satellite and zoom in. Mission Viejo Nadadores is the team.

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joepublic Oct. 1, 2013 @ 9:18 a.m.

While all quality of life issues are important, shouldn't response time for life saving services be given attention before traffic workshops?

Sjtorres: What do you mean by ".. all these new apartments will flatten out the trajectory of a successful boom for Chula Vista.."

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Ken Harrison Oct. 1, 2013 @ 7:43 p.m.

CV, like most growing cities, sold there soul by annexing every piece of vacant land between the bay and the AZ border, and then attracting every type of corp. retailer and spending every tax penny brought in from the growth. It will happen again, just like it will with our state and federal government will do - spend every penny and more when times are good and then wonder why they have no funds when times are bad.

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Woodchuck Oct. 1, 2013 @ 10:49 p.m.

joepublic, if I may be so presumptuous as to answer for Sjtorres- Consistently approving more housing (the low hanging fruit of development) has been shown to require additional funds for infrastructure and public services above and beyond the DIF (development impact fees) generated by the project. Adding population without adding jobs is not a sustainable model. At best you are lucky if residential housing breaks even and is the reason why threshold standards fall out of compliance. The problem Chula Vista has right now is that the needed improvements for traffic, fire, police and libraries requires more and more fees from development. So we need to keep construction going strong in order to pay for impacts that are already being caused by existing housing. Whew!

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joepublic Oct. 2, 2013 @ 7:45 a.m.

Woodchuck: It looks like we're in a vicious cycle.

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eastlaker Oct. 2, 2013 @ 9:10 a.m.

Interestingly, there is no entity that oversees Mello-Roos accounts, so although the public continues paying, we don't know what is being spent or shifted. We don't know the allocation scheme.

These are things we should have access to--from the school districts and the communities that have the funds at their disposal.

Obviously if there is building going on, there needs to be good planning for all emergency and other community services that will be needed.

It looks like these apartment buildings are massive and very close together. Quality of life? Who will want to live under those conditions? It looks like student housing to me, similar to some of the apartments and condos near UCSD. If these developments are managed well, and demand is strong, things should be fine. If not, things can devolve pretty quickly.

Let's not have that.

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eastlaker Oct. 3, 2013 @ 3:51 p.m.

Susan, would some of this massive development play into thoughts of San Diego working on the 2024 Olympics?

We do have lots of room, supposedly, in Chula Vista.

The Olympic Training Center is here.

All the Bay Front development should be done by then...

New stadium?

Expanded Convention Center?

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