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Quality of Life

Activists To Speak Against Commercial Development Project In Lakeside

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors is shown in this photo, Jan. 10, 2017.
Katie Schoolov
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors is shown in this photo, Jan. 10, 2017.

Activists plan to sound off at the Board of Supervisors meeting Wednesday against a proposal to build a commercial development — designated by the county as a location for 160 units of housing — on 9.5 acres in Lakeside.

The plan by South Coast Development LLC calls for the construction of commercial buildings, including a grocery store, bank, restaurant, gas station and three multi-tenant buildings on land south of Olde Highway 80 and east of Ridge Hill Road.

The supervisors would be required to rezone the parcel and amend the county's 2011 General Plan, which calls for 160 units of housing to be built on the site.

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The general plan outlines a framework for future growth and development in the unincorporated areas of San Diego County.

Leading the opposition to the project are local restaurant owner Joe Brunetto and Jack Shu, president of the Cleveland National Forest Foundation. They say it would be inappropriate for the supervisors to modify the General Plan to heed the desires of a developer when there's a shortage of affordable and moderately priced housing in the region.

"We're losing homes to a strip mall that we don't need," Shu said. "They're kind of breaking their own rules in terms of good planning and good community development."

Shu said this is the latest example of county officials rejecting the General Plan, which took over a dozen years and over $16 million to complete with the input of community stakeholders. He said the plan would also increase traffic and, as a result, pollution.

The county says the project will reduce the number of miles that people in the Lakeview, Blossom Valley, Flinn Springs, Rios Canyon and Johnstown neighborhoods would have to travel in order to go shopping. For example, Blossom Valley residents currently have to travel 10 miles roundtrip to the nearest grocery store, according to a staff report.

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The project was approved by the Lakeside Design Review Board by a 5-1 vote and by the Lakeside Community Planning Group 13-0.

This is the third project South Coast Development has proposed for the site in two decades.

Supervisors rejected the company's 1999 application for a similar commercial development. The company in 2004 earned approval for a multi-family housing development but did not move forward with its plans because it determined the project would not be "economically feasible," according to a county report.

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