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New Direction for Old Town

National City residents crammed into council chambers on Tuesday, March 16, for a meeting of the city council. An additional 40 residents sat in a lobby to watch the meeting on a large flat-screen TV. A majority of those in attendance wore turquoise tees, with Environmental Health Coalition written in large yellow letters on the front. They were there to support the certification of the final environmental impact report and adopt the Westside Specific Plan.

More commonly referred to as Old Town, the Westside of National City stretches 100 acres and is home to 727 residences and 159 industrial and commercial businesses. According to the Environmental Health Coalition, in recent decades the area has become a "dumping ground for polluting industry and warehouses."

In 2005, the city hired a professional planning firm to address the environmental and safety concerns raised by the environmental activists and Old Town residents.

During the council meeting, staff outlined the initiative to improve the quality of life for Old Town residents by rezoning the area, restricting industrial business and high-rise buildings, and restoring it back to a residential neighborhood.

After the staff's presentation, Mayor Ron Morrison held up a stack of speaker slips for the audience to see. "We've got us a list of speakers here. We've got three hours worth of speakers."

The majority of speakers, many speaking Spanish, urged the council to adopt the specific plan. Some gave details of their children's respiratory illnesses from breathing in asbestos particles and paint fumes. A few business owners pleaded with the council to grandfather in those nonpolluting responsible businesses.

When it came time for council comment, councilmember Alejandra Sotel-Solis, who grew up in Old Town, reflected on her experience of living near industrial and commercial businesses, of falling asleep with the smell of paint in the air.

"I am very proud of all the residents and of my colleagues," Solis said in a near-sob. "It is a step in the right direction."

Councilmembers unanimously agreed to adopt the Westside Specific Plan and accept the final environmental impact report. Applause from the crowd filled council chambers.

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National City residents crammed into council chambers on Tuesday, March 16, for a meeting of the city council. An additional 40 residents sat in a lobby to watch the meeting on a large flat-screen TV. A majority of those in attendance wore turquoise tees, with Environmental Health Coalition written in large yellow letters on the front. They were there to support the certification of the final environmental impact report and adopt the Westside Specific Plan.

More commonly referred to as Old Town, the Westside of National City stretches 100 acres and is home to 727 residences and 159 industrial and commercial businesses. According to the Environmental Health Coalition, in recent decades the area has become a "dumping ground for polluting industry and warehouses."

In 2005, the city hired a professional planning firm to address the environmental and safety concerns raised by the environmental activists and Old Town residents.

During the council meeting, staff outlined the initiative to improve the quality of life for Old Town residents by rezoning the area, restricting industrial business and high-rise buildings, and restoring it back to a residential neighborhood.

After the staff's presentation, Mayor Ron Morrison held up a stack of speaker slips for the audience to see. "We've got us a list of speakers here. We've got three hours worth of speakers."

The majority of speakers, many speaking Spanish, urged the council to adopt the specific plan. Some gave details of their children's respiratory illnesses from breathing in asbestos particles and paint fumes. A few business owners pleaded with the council to grandfather in those nonpolluting responsible businesses.

When it came time for council comment, councilmember Alejandra Sotel-Solis, who grew up in Old Town, reflected on her experience of living near industrial and commercial businesses, of falling asleep with the smell of paint in the air.

"I am very proud of all the residents and of my colleagues," Solis said in a near-sob. "It is a step in the right direction."

Councilmembers unanimously agreed to adopt the Westside Specific Plan and accept the final environmental impact report. Applause from the crowd filled council chambers.

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Well done to the Environmental Health Coalition! :)

March 17, 2010

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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