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San Diego Revisits Idea To Separate Homes From Solar Turbines Plant

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A planned buffer zone between future housing and the Solar Turbines Inc. plant north of downtown San Diego will be discussed by city's development arm Wednesday.

The board of Civic San Diego plans to take up the issue two years after a planned apartment complex in the area was rejected. Backers of Caterpillar-owned Solar Turbines were afraid the company would be subjected to new government regulations that might cause it to move, according to a Civic San Diego staff report.

The staff report said the buffer zone for Solar Turbines would provide clear rules for development in the affected area. The concept was approved by the agency's Real Estate Committee and its Downtown Community Planning Group.

Solar Turbines -- which makes industrial turbines for power generation and oil and gas production -- has been in San Diego for 83 years and employs about 3,800 people in the area, about half at the leased, waterfront location at 2200 Pacific Highway.

Including options, the least could last another 30 years.

The buffer zone would ban new homes and other sensitive uses in a 12-acre area of eight city blocks bordered by Pacific Highway, Laurel and Hawthorn streets, and Kettner Boulevard. Another block within Pacific Highway, Hawthorn, California and Grape streets would be included in the zone.

The San Diego City Council recently established a similar buffer zone in Barrio Logan to separate homes and shipyards.

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