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Chula Vista is changing the general plan (again) to increase housing density (again) in eastern Chula Vista.

On November 4, the city council passed a resolution amending the general plan to increase the density for Village 2, which is located south of Olympic Parkway and west of La Media Road. Baldwin & Sons is the developer.

The amendment will allow an additional 1562 housing units to be added to Village 2.

The council voted for this amendment in spite of the fact that the planning commission voted it down in early October.

Mark Liuag

Mark Liuag

Mark Liuag, a member of the planning commission since 2009, said in a November 7 interview, “Rarely do we [commissioners] vote against projects, but we voted this project down 5-1, with one abstention.”

Liuag said the commissioners’ primary concern was traffic.

“Several of the commissioners live out in the area and experience the traffic that already exists first hand.

“There are not enough access roads in that area to support the increased density in the project,” Liuag pointed out. “The main access street is the two-lane road Santa Victoria. Traffic study estimates indicate there will be approximately 9700 average daily [car] trips, 6.7 trips a minute, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, at project completion on Santa Victoria.

“Folks in the morning have to wait through two or three signal lights to get out to the main streets [Olympic Parkway and La Media] today, and the project is only 25 percent complete.”

Liuag said, “I just found out yesterday that the city council voted to approve the project [November 4] and I was shocked. We asked to be notified when the project was going before the council. I would have gone before the council and spoken against it.”

To sweeten the proposal, Baldwin & Sons has offered to give the city $5000 per housing unit. The per-unit total would add up to about $7.8 million that could be spent at the city’s discretion. The money does not have to be spent in the impacted area.

But Liuag believes the project benefits don’t outweigh the problems. He said the planning commission did not even certify the environmental impact report.

Mary Salas

Mary Salas

Pamela Bensoussan

Pamela Bensoussan

Kevin O’Neill

Kevin O’Neill

Cheryl Cox

Cheryl Cox

A big diamond ring

A big diamond ring

“Sometimes the city looks at things in terms of dollars and cents, but there are problems that can’t be mitigated and in the end the net financial benefit to the city will only be $480,000 after ten years.”

There were several arguments advanced in favor of increased density in Village II, which is projected to have a rapid-transit bus line.

Councilmember Mary Salas said the project spoke to “new urbanism.…We have a population that is getting married later, having fewer children, and they don’t want to encumber themselves with a huge house, and kids are getting their driver’s licenses later and are not so in love with their cars.”

Councilmember Pamela Bensoussan said the project is about “workforce housing and connectivity.”

Kevin O’Neill, a local contractor who spoke in favor of the project, stated, “Once it gets built and we get enough people in a tight area, they will use the buses.”

Another argument advanced in favor of the project was that, with the increased density, developers would commit to fast-tracking Heritage Road, a north-south connection.

Several councilmembers pointed out that Heritage Road would connect eastern Chula Vista to Main Street. The city’s auto retailers are located on Main Street and councilmembers felt it would be good for auto retail and repair businesses.

Mayor Cheryl Cox said, “When you think of the notion of shop, dine, invest in Chula Vista, if a car isn’t one of the single most sales-tax-producing-purchases that you can make in Chula Vista, I don’t know what it is, other than a bigger diamond ring than I have.”

Mark Rheaume, a Village II resident, spoke in opposition to the amendment. Rheaume said he did not see the fast-tracking of Heritage as a priority because it will not improve the traffic congestion on Olympic Parkway, which he called “a nightmare.”

Rheaume’s primary reason for opposing the change was inadequate infrastructure — such as secondary schools, parks, and fire services in Village II. “The infrastructure is not in place now and the increased density will only exacerbate the problems.”

David Danciu, president of the civic group Crossroads II, also opposed the plan. Danciu advised the councilmembers that they should keep jobs and housing in balance. He noted that the general-plan amendment reduces the commercial space in Village II, which will reduce employment possibilities.

The council voted 4-1 in favor of the amendment.

Councilmember Rudy Ramirez cast the dissenting vote. Ramirez opposed the amendment because there “is not a sustainable financial model in place for providing city services.”

A general-plan amendment must go before the city council twice. A second reading of the proposed plan will happen sometime this month.

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Comments

Sjtorres Nov. 11, 2014 @ 9:11 a.m.

Mary Salas and Pamela Bensoussan have long been in the pocket of developers. Salas even took thousand$ from corruption linked construction company Seville. And do any of our council members live east of the 805? Or SR125? East CV is simply revenue for their pet projects. Time for a split?

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bbq Nov. 11, 2014 @ 9:43 a.m.

Damn another worry in the community, As I keep saying it's difficult to believe that our elected public servants can be so short sighted and so in the pockets of the monied developers.

Density kills quality of life unless it is well planned with community activities and community resources such as access, shopping and Recreation.

Everyday there are backups getting onto and off of the 805 at all of the major east-west streets from Bonita to Palm. The impassable void of the Oay river valley to the south, and Bonita/ Sweetwater River Valley toi th north, the lack of a planning to 1: cross them and 2: protect it from this rampant cut and fill development.

The east side pays taxes, and additional Mello Roos to maintain our roads, pay outside companies to maintain "city" or common spaces, but we are shortchanged on community funding for Recreation and real solutions to transportation, sorry busses are still a ways out in the Future for acceptance.

No real plan for facilities such as grocery stores or ANY RECREATION FACILITIES, the only indoor gym east of Bonita-Otay Lakes Road at Southwestern is Salt Creek, and very little available south and east of Telegraph Canyon- Otay Lakes Road, a few soccer fields and basketball courts.

The city council must be counting the Olympic Training Center as Recreation space? What's up with that?

BBQ

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Susan Luzzaro Nov. 11, 2014 @ 10:06 a.m.

sjtorres, Regarding the makeup of city council. To date, some candidates have not conceded, however, it looks like the makeup of the council might be:

westside: Mary Salas, Pamela Bensoussan,

eastside: Pat Aguilar, John McCann

and one appointment to replace Salas if she becomes mayor.

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Susan Luzzaro Nov. 11, 2014 @ 10:15 a.m.

sjtorres,

here are some things I've been wondering in relation to splitting the city. Does the east side want to pay for new civic buildings like council chambers and offices to be built? Does the east side want to build a new police station?

If the bayfront develops, would it be a benefit to east side to continue to be part of Chula Vista? Does the west side bring a balance in terms of jobs to housing to the whole plan?

Then there is the question of Mello-Roos. When the Mello-Roos districts are paid in full where will the money come from to maintain the streets and civic amenities? If I understand correctly, the first Mello-Roos Eastlake district is about to be paid off.

Questions in search of answers.

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oskidoll Nov. 11, 2014 @ 10:15 a.m.

It says much when the City Council votes against the recommendation of its own Planning Commission. Good for the Planning Commissioners for taking the sensible and high road.

Good for the voters for not putting O'Neill on the SuHSD Board....now that we see his true stripes, it is likely he would have been in favor of continuing Fast Eddy's real estate scams. He certainly sounds cavalier enough, with his statement about once we put folks into tight spaces, they will take the bus!

And now her honor, the mayor, lusts after a larger diamond? How unprofessional is that comment!

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anniej Nov. 11, 2014 @ 10:20 a.m.

" the project is about workforce housing and connectivity" - is that code for 'the project is about money'?

Hey folks, you know that white cardboard little enclosure called a voting box - 'isn't it time you start paying attention and vote the politicians who are in it for self OUT!

All of that money spent for an east side home - doubt if this vision was part of all of your visions.

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Susan Luzzaro Nov. 11, 2014 @ 10:27 a.m.

BBQ,

Village 2 is supposed to get a pool. Salas, during the Nov 4 council meeting asked the developer for a timeline for Jacaranda Park.

The city manager mentioned the developer bonus of $7.8 mil might be used for Olympic Training Center...if the city acquires it.

As for buses, someone said to me, it might have been wise to see if the Palomar rapid bus lane was a success before planning a new one into a development.

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bbq Nov. 11, 2014 @ 12:18 p.m.

A pool is one thing, all of the developments have pools, but where are the Pools that have Lane swimming, ability to play water polo, and competitions? Allong with the other "Recreation Facilities". SUHSD isn't building it, the city is not building it.

Where are the advantages of fine suburban living? It's pay for this and Pay for that in the East.

Having been involved with the OTC from the beginning (if you look ground breaking photos there will be a much younger me in the photos) and having spent a large amount of time at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs in the early 1980s, The OTC In Chula was once at the ideal site for a training center, a bit out of the way and off by itself, those things are great for an High Performance Training center. However it is still out of the way and sort of by itself, albet surrounded by over populated Developments. The OTC will never be able to be a major Recreational facility of Chula Vista it is realitively specialized and definitely out of the way with all of the East Side access issues.

Overall Planning just throw it out the window ... the credo of Chula Vista and SUHSD politics.

BBQ

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anniej Nov. 11, 2014 @ 10:30 a.m.

Ms. Luzzaro - John McCann will vote depending on how the wind is blowing that day. No doubt he will give a speech which will begin with 'when I was in Iraq' or 'after my near death traffic accident' - but hey all of you in C.V. who only vote the party line (God forbid you should do your own research on all that he HASN'T DONE for our students or our educational tax dollars) I wish you strength, cause you are going to need it with McCann sitting at the dais.

**** be sure you give me the 411 the first time one of you gets a cease and desist letter because you hurt his feelings.

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Wabbitsd Nov. 12, 2014 @ 10:51 a.m.

I beg to differ a bit. Mr. McCann will vote as his overlords in the Republican Party direct him. There is no wind blowing.

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oskidoll Nov. 12, 2014 @ 7:38 p.m.

I think that Mr. McCann's votes are directed by Mrs. McCann and by those who have the most money for the McCann family benefit.

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eastlaker Nov. 11, 2014 @ 11:28 a.m.

The City Plan. Supplied with erasers.

Susan, interesting that you say Village 2 is supposed to get a pool. Is there a way to find out the details on that? Pool complex, short course and long course, diving tower, suitable for water polo, complete with diving blocks, so it is actually useful for high school and club competitions? Or just what developers love to describe as an "Olympic pool", which is really 25 yards long, maybe 6 - 8 lanes, no diving blocks? As in, not even close to being an "Olympic pool"!!

I had heard at one point that Sweetwater UHSD owns property at Hunte and Eastlake Parkway, and that is where the next high school was slated to be built, prior to the economic downturn. Then I believe I heard that Ed Brand said that would be the home of his k - 16 charter school??

Anyone know what is going on with that? Because that would appear to be in the thick of things!

The city of Chula Vista IS far behind on building pools--having said one would be built in 2003, and that never happened--I remember being told something about the actually land being unsuited because of pipelines of some sort that would be underneath the pool, and any problems/repairs would be too expensive. So I guess that property was traded away for something--still no pool. And no explanation or new timeline for one.

(Sweetwater UHSD is also very far behind on building pools. Mar Vista High School being the only Sweetwater school with a pool onsite--but I guess that came with a trade-off, as Mar Vista doesn't have tennis courts. What's up with this nonsense? And the District continues to waste money on that law suit about the softball field--after they have rebuilt it? Can we get some intelligent behavior here?)

Ah, yes, let's keep building houses. Will they be environmentally smart? Using grey water to water lawns? Solar powered? Really, if Chula Vista wants to keep building in crazy quilt fashion, the least that the developers can do is be water and power smart. That is, if they are building for the future. If they are just building for a fast buck, I guess it will be chicken wire, tarpaper, Styrofoam and spray-on finish. You do know that's been done around here, right?

4

joepublic Nov. 11, 2014 @ 11:47 a.m.

If I correctly understood Mr. Baldwin’s comments regarding this project’s swimming pools, there will be one used exclusively by the for sale residents and will be off-limits to the apartment dwellers. The renters will have a pool of their own. This creates the sense of haves and have-nots, and certainly doesn't generate the sense of community you would expect and desire in any village. What ever happened to the notion of public swimming pools?

5

eastlaker Nov. 11, 2014 @ 12:01 p.m.

So business as usual, then. Nothing that would benefit the wider public, and the kids who are trying to compete with all the North County schools and pools and teams and funding. Why is that? Where is the leadership?

Oh, that's right, we elected John McCann, who can be counted on to roll over for the developers, and any monied interests out there.

We really do need a strong group of people to care about this.

5

Woodchuck Nov. 11, 2014 @ 11:49 a.m.

Thank you Susan and Mr. Liuag for trying to maintain the quality of life for this area of Chula Vista. It would be terrific if enough residents showed up for the village two second reading to make a difference. In the meantime, the entitlements for more of the same density in villages 3,8 and 10 will be going to the planning commission on the 19th. These properties are owned by a Boston bank that does not care about our far away berg. If not for some of the involved citizens today, a future where people say "what the heck happened?" will certainly be the norm.

6

Sjtorres Nov. 11, 2014 @ 2:08 p.m.

If you look on that map graphic, just west of the text "La Media Rd" was supposed to be a large community recreation park similar to Montevalle. Has that been deleted now too? If so, who approved that?

4

eastlaker Nov. 11, 2014 @ 4:19 p.m.

If I am reading the map correctly, there does appear to be a green circle, which is supposed to mean a city park. But it pays to get everything spelled out, or someone might come along later and say, "Oh, that was left in by error!"

7

Susan Luzzaro Nov. 11, 2014 @ 4:57 p.m.

eastlaker, I do not know the dimensions of the pool; I do know it is slated to come with a two-story community building. As a facebook comment indicates, the pool was part of the original Village 2 plan.

5

oldchulares Nov. 11, 2014 @ 5:26 p.m.

Many rumors about Jim Baldwin & Sons being close to bankruptcy. This sounds like a do or die project. Old friends owe many favors.

7

Sjtorres Nov. 11, 2014 @ 7:07 p.m.

Oh, and Susan, I do not think splitting up the city is feasible or wise. I don't think that idea would get much traction.

4

anniej Nov. 12, 2014 @ 5:06 a.m.

Mary Salas states " the project spoke to new urbanism "

I am sorry is there a new chapter in Politics 101 entitled 'HOW TO SWAY THE PUBLIC INTO THINKING YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT WITH NONSENSICAL NEW buzz WORDS.'

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oskidoll Nov. 12, 2014 @ 10:51 a.m.

I recall when the developers and city planners were working on the initial Otay Ranch Project, Village I, in the western parcel of the former United enterprises Ranch in the 1990's, they were enamored with the prospect of increasing density for the project (which indeed is what occurred) ONLY BECAUSE there would be a new east-west spur from the SD Trolley system that would connect the Olympic Parkway corridor to the trolley station, to alleviate increased traffic. The traffic did increase, but the trolley connection NEVER occurred although the new residential areas along Telegraph Canyon Road were built to the higher density specifications.

Let's beware the 'lure' of promise of something mitigating 'yet to come' in exchange for giving away density limits in new residential areas. The quality of life issues that are compounded by increased density are very important.

9

Susan Luzzaro Nov. 12, 2014 @ 11:44 a.m.

oskidoll, you got me to thinking--here is an old article by SD Reader writer Dave Rice.

It looks like questions have been raised about the efficacy of rapid bus transit systems. Also, The Cleveland Forest Foundation sued SANDAG about the 2050 plan.

5

Sjtorres Nov. 12, 2014 @ 12:05 p.m.

Why not an underground trolley? If Seattle and San Francisco can do it certainly we can. Just need determination to get the federal funds.

2

bbq Nov. 12, 2014 @ 1:32 p.m.

So, reading the other development story in the Reader this week about the SunRoad Projects in Kearney Mesa and parking, what's Chula doing?

It appears nothing with regards to parking. As developments move away from having Driveways they need at least one additional parking spot per residence beyond garage spaces. Two adults, two cars (Minimum), plus the reason for a larger garage is for all of the other things we have from bicycles and motorcycles to excersize equipment, surfboards or workshops.

Yes those things are part of life and living in Southern California. Maybe soon to be former Mayor Cox has forgotten about those things stareing into her new Diamond.

BBQ

7

oldchulares Nov. 13, 2014 @ 6:45 a.m.

I guess many who moved east are now seeing no matter where you live you are going to run into the same old problems. What is happening to them is simply not right. The mayors comments ostentatious.

7

eastlaker Nov. 13, 2014 @ 10:05 a.m.

So I guess Eastlake won't be winning best planned community anymore!

6

ronh Nov. 14, 2014 @ 11:58 a.m.

Since I ride a bicycle through there frequently, I decided to check on the plan amendment. It says "Bicycle lanes also would be provided consistent with the designated bicycle routes as identified in the City’s adopted Bikeway Master Plan (City of Chula Vista 2011)." The Bikeway Master Plan calls for Santa Victoria to be a class II bikeway (bike lanes). However, a closer inspection reveals that the eastern end already built (behind ORHS) would likely not meet the minimal standards for a class III bike way. The built portions of the remainder near the traffic circles indicate a similar disregard for the plan. Nice going, Chula Vista.

6

oskidoll Nov. 16, 2014 @ 4:41 p.m.

To Darlene Sanchez-Harris, in the Facebook comments:

It is disheartening to think that those who have been elected as our representatives are not the best decision makers! Unless the City Charter has a provision for the voters to over rule (and I don't think there is any such provision) an action of the City Council, the only recourse we have is to show up at City Council Meetings and make a very big noise.

Sadly, in this instance, the Council went against the advice of its own Planning Commission. If I were one of those commissioners, I would be quite unhappy about it, especially because their job is difficult and time consuming...if I were a commissioner, I would also show up for the second reading and protest during the public comment part of the meeting.

6

Visduh Nov. 17, 2014 @ 5:02 p.m.

I'm comparing these land-use decisions in CV with what recently occurred in Escondido. There were people who thought Olga Diaz could knock Sam Abed out of the mayor's chair. Personally I cannot stand Sam, a world-class mealy mouth. (He lost me a couple years ago when the $7 million settlement with the Crowe family was announced. On the same breath of telling the residents and voters the bad news, he had to add that he was "proud of our police department." Yeah, right, Sam. They really did the city proud with that botched murder investigation.) But what was it that sank Olga's chances? Well, for starters she flip-flopped on the golf course redevelopment question, ignoring some local and vocal residents. Then she "voted her conscience" when she voted to approve the conversion of a former nursing home into a detention center for illegal alien juveniles, again ignoring plenty of local and vocal neighbors.

Here in No County, there's at least a political price to be paid for ignoring the voters and residents. CV could take a page from the Escondido book. Ignore the voters, lose the election. Very simple. All it takes is voters who know the issues. Oops! So County seems to have a problem with that little detail.

4

anniej Nov. 18, 2014 @ 7:23 a.m.

Visduh - yes we do have a problem with knowing the issues. Let me rephrase that and better define the problem - the majority of us DO NOT HAVE A CLUE WHAT THE ISSUES ARE. Why is that? - now that is the 64,000.00 DOLLAR question.

When parents fail to actively involve themselves in the education of their children. How could we possibly expect them to know the actions of the 'politicos' at City Hall.

**PLEASE NOTE. SIMPLY ENROLLING YOUR CHILDREN DOES NOT COUNT AS BEING ACTIVELY INVOLVED.

4

eastlaker Nov. 18, 2014 @ 1:43 p.m.

Sometimes it looks to me as though there is a manipulation of the issues.

For example, years ago, we were told we needed a new police headquarters, and people believed that was so, and agreed, and we got the new police headquarters.

Yet, I wonder if people would have wanted all those high-end finishes, if they had been given a choice? Looks like many square feet of limestone and/or marble to me. How much was spent on that? Millions? And then, the whole thing was financed in such a way that even during the "fat" years, we were only paying interest. The only word for that is stupid. So--do we blame the public, who weren't really in on all those decisions that didn't benefit our tax dollars, or do we blame those who went ahead and spent our tax dollars so very irresponsibly.

And yes, Mayor Cox did--a year or so ago--get that amount refinanced, so that we are now paying principal as well as interest--but can anyone tell me why such a pathetic fiscal policy was allowed in the first place? (cough Shirley Horton cough) And again, yes, this is ancient history. But it shows that we may be paying our city leaders quite well, but that does not guarantee they will be on the side of the taxpayer.

Scrutinizing everything is the only way, and even then, I am sure someone will slide a trick or two past the public. Of course, we voters and taxpayers need to stay alert--but we should also be able to believe one or two things our civic leaders say. Unfortunately, our civic leaders don't seem to care much for those of us who live here, vote and pay taxes. So just who are they aiming to please? Must be another group entirely. Of course, the Developer/Campaign Financer. The power vortex is spinning in the wrong direction.

2

anniej Nov. 18, 2014 @ 2:20 p.m.

eastlaker - much respect sent your way. We are grown, supposedly intelligent, adults - the only problem is the average person spends nanoseconds on educating themselves on the issues that affect their children, their taxes, their home values. They sit back with an attitude of 'someone else will do it'.

THAT IS WHY JOHN MCCANN IS HEADED FOR CITY HALL -

2

eastlaker Nov. 18, 2014 @ 2:39 p.m.

In my opinion, those who hadn't really followed anything voted for McCann because he had been "the only unindicted member of the Sweetwater Board of Trustees"...but of course, that is nowhere close to the whole story.

If McCann gets in--I haven't heard a formal announcement, as the last votes were/are still being tallied, and there was only about a 50 vote difference--we already know he will vote with the majority, especially if the majority is voting in favor of a power block development issue. There will be no integrity, there will be much posturing, and there will be little of substance.

McCann, the Empty Suit's Empty Suit.

Personally, I am still hoping the vote goes the other way.

2

oskidoll Nov. 18, 2014 @ 6:43 p.m.

According to the SD Registrar of Voters website this evening, one vote separates McCann who has the very tiny lead, and Padilla, with approximately 1,000 left to count.

2

Visduh Nov. 19, 2014 @ 10:25 a.m.

Can you say "recount", boys and girls?

2

eastlaker Nov. 19, 2014 @ 5:12 p.m.

Only if a private citizen steps up to pay for it!

2

Visduh Nov. 19, 2014 @ 9:56 p.m.

My impression was that the registrar would do a recount on its own if a race were very close. Whichever side loses can demand a recount that it has to pay for, and can track the results day-by-day until it is complete. That means the recount can be stopped at whatever point the side paying decides.

0

oskidoll Nov. 19, 2014 @ 6:55 p.m.

As of Nov 19, it is even with approximately 100 votes to count county-wide.

2

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