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During a public hearing on March 9, the Vista City Council reviewed an appeal of the planning commission’s approval for a proposed ARCO AM/PM at the North Santa Fe Village shopping center located on the 1200 block of N. Santa Fe Avenue.

On February 2, the planning commission approved the retail sale of beer and wine at the proposed gas station. Shortly thereafter, an appeal was filed by a neighbor representing residents known as Vista Residents for Compatible Development.

According to the community group, the area is known for having a high crime rate. The site was formerly occupied by an independent gas operation and it is part of a shopping center with a vacancy rate of nearly 50 percent.

Mo Rosenberg, who spoke on behalf of the community group, said, “The health, welfare, and safety of Vista’s citizens cannot and must not be sacrificed for convenience.”

Hy Sao, owner of the business, argued that leaving the site abandoned would have a worse impact on crime and the community. Sao stated that obtaining a license to sell alcohol is an integral part in bringing the franchise to Vista. He also mentioned that his ability to finance the project is dependent on bringing the ARCO brand.

“We feel that it’s the best intended use for this now-closed site,” said Sao. “We’d help attract future tenants and adjacent businesses and therefore increase land values.”

According to the city clerk, 212 signatures were submitted opposing the project; 609 signatures were submitted by the applicant in favor of the gas station and the sale of alcohol. The city council voted unanimously to approve the gas station and allow for the sale of beer and wine, despite loud protests from some members of the audience.

Mayor Morris Vance said, “I am not a particular fan of alcohol, but I believe the blight that’s caused there and the nuisances there would lead to a greater problem for the community than what this [gas station] will do.”

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Visduh March 13, 2010 @ 9:44 p.m.

That location is fairly new, and always looked out of place in the area of town. It opened as an independent gasoline retailer, yet never appeared to compete on price, carrying a price higher than almost all the other stations along North Santa Fe. The rest of the little center appeared to lack occupants or at least occupants that survived.

The part of Vista to which this refers is older and poorer than most of the city. As far as sales of alcoholic beverages, there are already so many outlets in that area that one more won't make a big difference. If it can get the operation viable, it will generate sales tax for the city.


David Dodd March 13, 2010 @ 10:49 p.m.

When I got to "I am not a particular fan of alcohol..." I laughed, the word choice cracks me up. So mayor-like. I am a particular fan of alcohol, which I reckon means that I'll never be mayor of anywhere.

"..it will generate sales tax for the city." And, amen, the mayor is certainly a fan of that, Visduh. You from up that way? You certainly have a lot of insight into the NC doings. Quite enlightening.


MsGrant March 14, 2010 @ 9:58 a.m.

Gotta love the disclaimer. Lest he be accused of being an alcohol-loving, Godless heathen and promoter of all things debaucherous. Which we know no self-respecting politician would engage in.......

We have a name for those certain individuals who feel the need to bring to market all the negative reasons for not moving forward with something that is obviously good for the community - the progress opposition team. This happens in the work environment all the time. People don't like change.

Nice reporting.


David Dodd March 15, 2010 @ 1:02 a.m.

Yeah, this Uy person gets it. There are so many little things about a story that make it good, and it's tough when you play reporter because it can be overwhelming, so many things going on at the same time. But yes, I appreciate the one or two small things that leave an impression, often moreso than the big story.

Good job indeed, Nathaniel Uy.


MsGrant March 15, 2010 @ 8:33 a.m.

I really liked this story as well, because it is an excellent example of reporting. I took a journalism class, and my teacher was always on my case about taking myself out of the story. She would tell me I was coming across as op-ed, which I was. It's extremely difficult to write an unbiased, clean article, which is what Nathaniel did.


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