Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Hot Button Issue: A Different Opinion on Balboa Mesa

Yesterday, I posted a letter from a resident of the Pacific Bluffs about the proposed zone change to allow an In & Out drive through in the Balboa Mesa center. Pacific Bluffs is located directly across Genesee from the shopping center.

Tonight the Clairemont Mesa Planning Group will hear a presentation from the developers, and vote to support it or not. The final decision will be in the hands of the City Council, but the Planning Group's recommendation to support or deny the change will be considered.  The Planning Group meets at 6:30pm at LiveWell, 4425 Bannock Ave. The meeting is open to the public. If you have an interest or strong feelings one way or the other please attend and let the Planning Group know how you feel.

Today I am sharing an opinion from a Clairemont leader, Lori Sorbo, who is in favor of the project.
I can tell you this, those against the project are trying to gain your support by putting those ugly ideas (hard liqour sales, adult entertainment establishments) in bold. Those are NOT proposed businesses for this particular project. If those businesses were a part of this project I too would be against it. BUT THEY ARE NOT! 
Yes an In & Out is proposed, BUT they have met with this housing development on more than one occasion to try and satisfy their requests. The In & Out is going over and beyond to accommodate  Per permit law, drive throughs are required to have enough room for a 5 car back up, In and Out is set for 12! They also have included (per the housing requests) a 3 foot drop and retaining wall for the drive through. In & Out will not be open any longer than the current tenants in the shopping center, in fact their hours are shorter.
The In & Out is set to be in between the driveways off of Genesee (northbound) and not off of the corner of Balboa & Genesee. Actually the corner is planned to be similar to the redeveloped corner of Balboa and Clairemont Drive where the Starbucks went in. There is outdoor seating and water feature in addition to several food establishments. This project also adds additional pedestrian walk ways, trees and energy efficient lights. The whole center will be getting a facelift.
The reason the Clairemont Planning Committee had the 15-0 vote is because they had to vote with the majority of the attendees at the meeting and the majority was against this development. That is why the Planning Committee has agreed to host this development group again this Tuesday. Regardless, the Clairemont Planning Committee and Town Council doesn't have the final say, it is the City Council that does. It just helps to have support at the planning group meetings.
I am FOR this project because, it will beautify our neighborhood, using energy efficient projects, it will strengthen our community with jobs in return helping our economy and lastly, our community has been waiting for developers to come in and make these changes, the development company has gone over and beyond and lastly, they have also assured the current residents they would not be forced out once the redevelopment is completed. To me that shows integrity and dedication to our community.


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  2. Dear Lori

    First let me make it clear we are all for the redevelopment of this center.

    Please let me point out that when you rezone you open the door to all the commercial business listed above. Yes permits would have to be sought for some of those businesses but the big hurdle, the rezoning, would already be crossed. In other words, you've laid the foundation. And those "ugly" ideas are not so far-fetched considering that there is nothing to say that the current corporation, a real estate investment trust, will always own this center and that at some point the owners will not decide to add these very profitable business. They are in the business of making money after all.

    In & Out is not the property owner, they are not redeveloping the property or deciding on the design. You are attributing actions and involvement to In & Out that aren't there. They will possibly be a tenant if and when they negotiate a lease with the actual owners. I don’t understand how this has become about In & Out but the large marketing company that Regency hired has been very affective in diverting attention to In & Out.

    But what is really important here is that all those wonderful things that you've pointed out about redeveloping this center are all available without the rezoning. About 80 % of this center, and most of the area to be redeveloped, are zoned right now to allow a drive in. We are not against the Drive In but do not want to see it on Genesee Ave. where it will have such a negative impact for all of us. The incredible impact of an additional 300 plus cars entering and exiting on Genesee and Mt Alifan from this one business can’t be ignored or downplayed. Those of us who live around this center know how bad the traffic has become. It makes sense to place this kind of business where it should be, and where it is zoned for, in this center.

    Yes we are asking Regency and the architect to go back to the drawing board and design a center for all us, staying within the current zoning and placing businesses where they are appropriate. Please look past the promotional materials that this corporation and its very large marketing company are using to “close” this deal.
    Thank you for your consideration


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