Monday, June 17, 2013

Balboa Mesa: Design Changes for Proposed In-N-Out Burger

Click to view updated plans
In February, Regency Centers presented a renovation plan for Balboa Mesa Shopping Center, including the addition of an In-N-Out Burger, to the Clairemont Community Planning Group, which voted 9-2 to support the proposal and recommend approval to the San Diego City Council.

As part of the redevelopment process, Regency has actively sought out feedback from the community and the City. In fact, more than 350 Clairemont Mesa residents have signed support cards in favor of the project.

Clairemont Community of Schools President and project supporter Julee Jenkins explains why, "Clairemont residents are strongly in favor of the Balboa Mesa renovation with the In-N-Out Burger. This project will bring many benefits to our community, including revitalizing a vacant corner in a prominent part of our community."

However, the redevelopment of the Vons-anchored center located at the corner of Balboa and Genesee Avenues is not supported by everyone. Residents in the nearby Pacific Bluffs condominium complex are concerned about the impact of a drive-thru restaurant.
In an effort to meet residents' needs, Regency has held several meetings with condominium representatives which have resulted in a number of design changes to address noise, odor, lighting and visual concerns. For example, a six-foot masonry sound wall will be added, the drive-thru lane will be dropped below street level, and dense landscaping will shield the building from view.

Further challenged by the Mayor's office, Regency worked closely with In-N-Out Burger to make additional design improvements, including the removal of street-facing signage and the addition of mature trees and a landscaped berm to further block visibility and sound from nearby residents. In-N-Out Burger also plans to relocate the menu board and speaker box, drive-thru lane and dumpster area away from the Genesee Avenue.

"Regency is committed to being a good neighbor and working with the community to minimize concerns," said Gregg Sadowsky, senior market officer with Regency Centers. "We have worked very hard to enhance the appearance, retail options and shopping experience at this established shopping center that will serve the Clairemont Mesa community for many years to come."

Regency has already begun work on the first phase of the center's renovation, including the addition of an 8,100-square-foot retail building and an outdoor plaza and eating area at the highly visible corner of Balboa Avenue and Genesee Avenue. New center fa├žade, parking lot improvements, new pedestrian pathways, upgraded signage and landscaping will further improve the center's traffic flow and appearance.

Other project supporters include the Clairemont Hills Kiwanis, Clairemont Town Council President Ryan Trabuco and his predecessor Lori Sorbo.

For more information about the Balboa Mesa renovation, please contact Regency Centers at 858-847-4600.


  1. I’d like to point out that the advertising for the "revitalization" of this center has been presented in terms that imply or suggest that people need to give their support or it won’t happen, that the “vacant corner” won’t be rebuilt. This is not the case since the redevelopment was approved back in 2007 with a very nice plan to build /re-build 4 new buildings on the lot without requiring a rezoning. It is only the new inclusion of the In & Out drive thru that requires a rezoning. While the whole project may bring many benefits to the community the inclusion of a fast food drive thru open until 1:30am isn’t one of them. What happened to our “walkable”, “bikeable” and “livable” Community? Adding hundreds of cars for a single business isn’t supporting that at all.

    Also, there’s an equally large group of concerned citizens who are happy to see redevelopment BUT who oppose the rezoning, and they aren’t just the residents across the street. Rezoning is a very big step to take and the community should be very careful in how and when it happens. Anytime there is talk about rezoning you need to think about how you would feel if this was across the street from you. Would you be happy if your neighbor wanted to rezone to add a multi-family residence across the street from your home or a business wanted to put a location on your block? Think it can’t happen? Well it can and this is how. And what will be the outcome in 5 years, 10 years, will you still think it was such a good idea? Was there something else that could have been built that didn’t require a rezoning and would have been a better choice for the community and the neighborhood?

    And finally, think about existing In & Out drive thrus in San Diego, are any directly in the middle of a community with residents across the street? No because the type of business and volume it produces isn’t compatible with residential life. Even in Urban settings care needs to be exercised when determining how to mix business and residents. If not you will end up with a commercial core that no one wants to live near and we’ve all seen those.

    So I say yes to redevelopment BUT No to rezoning!
    Thank you for the opportunity to voice my thoughts.

  2. I strongly disagree with Julee Jenkins. I think part of her statement is true...Everyone resident I have spoken with is in favor of the redevelopment of the shopping center, but I haven't talked with any who prefer the InNOut proposal over the original, "Plan A" one. In that already-approved design there are the same 4 buildings, but they all fit the zoning. Meaning, there is a 7,000 square foot retail building instead of a late-night drive-thru. Developers will go with the approved plan if we say we want to keep our zoning protections in place, so what is the upside to removing them?


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