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'Common Sense Tells Me: No More Than Four!'
Park Station's fate will be determined tomorrow night by the La Mesa Planning Commission at 7 pm in the City Council Chambers. It has been an exceedingly long process for all concerned, both proponents and opponents and for me the learning curve from Scoping Meetings to EIR’s to Specific Plans has been an eye-opening education.
So driving to school today, passing the American Legion and getting on the 8 Freeway east it struck me that the solution to all this rests in the simplest problem solving application known to humanity --- common sense.
The American Legion had the common sense to see Park Station as “too massive for the City of La Mesa” and withdrew themselves as a co-applicant. Those who have served our country are to always be respected and who else would have the strength and courage to call this development what it is---too much for the citizens of La Mesa.
It’s common sense that if you stack housing units one on top of another, you will create “approved” density, but you will also create considerable problems with increased utitlities, costs for more police and fire, traffic congestion, not to mention noise pollution, trash and overall too many people in too little a space. All of which could cost more than any tax benefits implied or realized because more is more.
The Village Specific Plan, created over 20 years ago was common sense applied to a vision for a city that would not be overcome by highrises and big business, but would manage its growth to retain a place comfortable in its existence as an All-American City. Removing Park Station from the Village Specific Plan goes counter to this on so many levels, when the four-story--46 feet---limit for mixed-use acknowledges growth while remaining true to a common sense ideal of a small town---jewel of the hills---ambiance.
Common sense tells me that those of us, long time citizens of La Mesa, who have paid our taxes, volunteered our time, use the library and the rec center, shop often in the Village and otherwise taken pride in our La Mesa....well....we probably don’t have a chance stopping this development because it is too big and it is steam-rolling its’ self down to Council Chambers tomorrow....
So those of us opposed have the common sense to know that we can’t stop it and we are not against the development of the site, what we are concerned with is the basic premise that the developers for Park Station want their own specific plan and the blank check to develop part or all of it to 10 stories or 110 feet, with no regard to those of us who will live through the four years of phased in construction, the increased density, the traffic and all the “mitigated issues raised in the EIR.”
The Planning Commission could make this a win-win for all if they simply use common sense and adhere to the mixed-use guidelines for developments of this size for our fair city. That decision would be smart growth for now and for the future in regards to any other pending developments.
It is plain old common sense and the right thing to do.
Common Sense tells me No More Than Four!
Professor of Art and Photography Distinguished Chair in Art, 1985