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Development can move forward Robert Moreno | Sat, Nov 11 2017 12:00 PM

A mixed-use development project at the northeast corner of Third Avenue and K Street can move forward after a judge ruled the city did not violate its own land use plans.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Katherine Bacal ruled Oct. 6 that a mixed-use development called Vista del Mar is in line with the city’s general plan and the Urban Core Specific Plan.

Residents Earl Jentz and Gloria Gonzales filed a lawsuit against the city last year  contending the five-story project does not fit in the neighborhood because of its massive height.

They also said the city failed to comply with the city’s general plan, specific plan, and municipal code when it approved the Vista del Mar project last August.

The lawsuit also argued the city failed to consider the environmental impacts associated with the project, failed to require environmental analysis and failed to consider alternatives and mitigation.

Lastly, the lawsuit contended the city did not follow the right procedure when approving the project.

Bacal said an addendum made under the California Environmental Quality Act and a separate Environmental Impact Report is not required.

City Attorney Glen Googins said the judge’s decision shows that the city followed the correct steps in ultimately approving the project.

“The city appreciates and agrees with the court’s ruling upholding the city’s approval of the Third and K project,” he said. “The city approval process for a project of this type is complex – and as it should—provides substantial opportunity for public input. Public input in this case lead to a number of meaningful project modifications. The court’s ruling confirms that the city got this process right.”

Everett DeLano, an environmental and land use attorney who represented Jentz and Gonzalez, said he respects the judge’s decision but maintains the position that the city is not following its own development regulations.

“We agreed with the court’s tentative ruling that the city had failed to adequately justify its decision,” DeLano said.

“Unfortunately, in its final ruling, the court ruled against our concerns. Nevertheless, we continue to believe the project violates several provisions of the city’s general plan, urban core specific plan and growth management program.” DeLano said an appeal is being considered.

Vista del Mar is described as a mixed-use residential/commercial project consisting of 71 one and two-bedroom condominium units, a 1770 square foot residential fitness center, a 1,004-square foot lobby, a 2,572-square foot residential lounge, 616 square feet of commercial space, and a 1,700-square foot public plaza.

The project also includes 17,646 square feet of open space and 8,500 square feet of landscaped space. The project is 60 feet high along Third Avenue and 34 feet near the residential homes to the east.

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