Talk On Big Issues Tonight

LA MESA -- In most cases, informational presentations at City Council meetings are inside baseball, the sort of detailed analyses of public issues that only the government-obsessed will enjoy.
However, at tonight's City Council meeting, two items in particular will be speaking directly to the heart of the city's future.
Stephen Cushman, whose family assumed control of the Grossmont Center property again recently, will address the council on plans for the center.
The redevelopment of Grossmont Center, long the source of worry and rumor, could have a great impact on the city's ability to maintain services and build toward the future. The revenue generated at Grossmont for the city is a key source of funds for city services. A redevelopment plan that preserves or grows that revenue is important to the city's future.
Also on the City Council agenda is a sort of bureaucratic sounding item relating to what is referred to as "in-lieu parking" fees for non-residential development in the La Mesa Village area.
Behind the details, passage of that plan will make it much easier for a developer to propose plans for more effective use of some of the downtown property.
Currently, parking requirements for many developments, keep developers from building because there isn't enough space on the parcels to supply the number of parking spaces current codes recommend.
The "in-lieu" process would allow a developer to contribute to a fund that would, when the demand requires it, help build a parking structure that would add to the Village's parking capacity, but not necessarily on the parcel being developed.
Such in-lieu programs have allowed more intense use of some properties and spurred redevelopment. There are a number of properties along La Mesa Boulevard and Spring Street that could handle larger developments if the parking challenge could be handled in this manner.
The council meets at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers on Allison Avenue.

CLICK HERE for the complete agenda.

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Tags: Grossmont Center, La Mesa Today, La Mesa newspaper, Stephen Cushman

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Comment by Jimmy Sanders on January 27, 2015 at 3:38pm
Comment by chris shea on January 27, 2015 at 12:57pm

Or...Whole Foods could open up a store in Grossmont Center. Not that your weird wonderful idea for a Greek style Trolley Theater isn't a swell one... 

Comment by La Mesa Today on January 27, 2015 at 12:47pm

Chris Shea, here's an idea for those open acres under and around City Hall: An outdoor theater -- Greek Style -- that backs up to the trolley tracks, requiring all productions to incorporate railroad themes so the sporadic trolleys will fit right in! Had the old Starlight in Balboa Park stuck to aviation themes, all would have been better! :)

Comment by chris shea on January 27, 2015 at 12:43pm

In Silverspring Maryland some years ago "they" closed a couple of blocks to vehicular traffic and put in a several story parking structure.  At first I think it was unclear to residents in the area how successful it would be, but now it is a fantastic place with free parking on the weekends, fountains and other water features, fabulous restaurants and interesting stores.  There is a movie theater on the corner of this area.  Also they turned a blank space into a place for picnics, concerts and things of that nature.  So they went from businesses that no one went to, despite there being parking right out front,  to pedestrian (and merchant) friendly village type setting that smells divine, always sounds busy and full of life and is fun to visit if only for a gelato or some cosmetics at the Ulta store.  Progress is a good thing because its opposite is pretty gloomy.

Comment by La Mesa Today on January 27, 2015 at 12:14pm

Hey Chris,

There are some parcels -- like where the banks are located -- that could offer much more on the footprint, but the redevelopment would have to see past the "drive right up to everything and park" era that we are moving through. In some ways, the redevelopment ideas for Grossmont Center will be happening in an era when many drive-up, big anchor malls are struggling around the U.S. Thinking about development in an era in which retail has to compete with Internet commerce is interesting. People are increasingly enjoying places with character, destinations with niches, not just wide open spaces. Living amid commerce and services is speaking to the boomers who are starting to see staircases with new eyes (and old knees!). We live in interesting times.

Chris Lavin

 

Comment by chris shea on January 27, 2015 at 11:51am

Sounds like a great agenda this evening.  I think the in-lieu parking idea is a good one.  That being said, maybe there are consequences to that that I am unaware of.  Will also be anxious to hear about the Grossmont Center ideas.  

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