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Parents want promised library Allison K. Sampite | Sat, Apr 30 2011 12:00 PM

Rancho del Rey residents are expressing their opposition to Chula Vista's updated library master plan.

Earlier this month, city staff hosted a public presentation of the draft plan, which recommends the elimination of a 30,000-square-foot library slated for Rancho del Rey.

Rancho del Rey resident Eduardo Valerio said he supports the library, but not in this scenario.

"One of the reasons some people buy homes in this area is because of the proposal to build a library here," he said.

Valerio, 40, has lived in Rancho del Rey since 2001 and has two boys, ages 2 and 7. "I'd like to have a facility where I can take my kids," he said.

The Chula Vista Public Library currently operates three branches, including the Civic Center, south Chula Vista and Eastlake.

In an older version of the library's master plan, two libraries were to be built on the east side of Chula Vista, one east of CA-125 and one in Rancho del Rey. However, funding constraints have delayed major facility projects.

Last year, the city commissioned a strategic facilities plan to identify ways to improve library services to the community, specifically in east Chula Vista. The plan was to also bring library facilities into compliance with threshold standards.

The city's council-appointed Growth Management Oversight Committee found a deficit of library space relative to the city's established threshold standards, which currently exists at 500 to 600 square feet per 1,000 residents.

Based on the projected build- out population, there is a need for at least another 60,000 square feet of library space.

City-hired consultants found that as an interim measure, a proposed mall branch at Otay Ranch Town Center provides an opportunity to leverage limited city funds while significantly increasing access to library services for east Chula Vista residents.

Consultants said that one large destination library would be more cost-effective in terms of capital funding and operating costs and in contrast, multiple small branches are more expensive to build and are found to be less sustainable.

William Richter moved to Rancho del Rey last year with his 11-year-old son and said building a library there would bring a balance to the four sides of the city.

"Rancho del Rey has excellent access to H Street and public transportation," Richter said. "It's about having one regional area rather than one destination library."

According to Assistant City Manager Scott Tulloch, the city's master plan is updated every five years and makes recommendations based on resident needs and the most cost effective project for the city at that time.

Tulloch said that building a new library is not feasible for the city for another five to 15 years.

Public facilities are typically provided through development impact fees, which go to the city. "These fees are for public facilities, including fire departments, libraries and park and recreation centers," Tulloch said.

The money goes into one fund as it is collected and once there is enough money for the next public facilities project, one is recommended by the City Manager's Office. "The next facility could be a library, park or rec center or fire station," Tulloch said.

Valerio says writing libraries out of the plan is unfair.

"They made a promise to the people of this community," he said. "The city should own up to its obligations."

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