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LA MESA -- The La Mesa Planning Commission expects a long night Wednesday as the retooled Park Station Project returns for another round of discussion and scrutiny.
The project, which lost its American Legion partner after the last hearing, will again ask the Planning Commission to consider approving a Park Station Specific Plan that would allow the 4.77 acre area to have development that will deviate from the downtown Village Specific Plan currently in place for that area.
The Park Station project being proposed by the landowners -- the Kitzman family -- is a mixed use development that would include condos or a hotel, retail and office space. The Kitzman's architects have proposed exceeding the city's four-story limits as the kind of "smart growth,'' transit-based project that regional planners love these days.
La Mesa residents, however, have been a bit cooler to the plan on the whole. While most residents see a need to develop what is essentially a very unattractive, underused "front door" to the community off Interstate 8, opposition seems to increase with any discussion of an increased height limit for this project. The first proposal asked permission for 190 foot towers. That has been reduced in the new proposal to 110 feet or about ten stories -- six higher than current zoning allows there.
Residents in homes on the slopes east and west of the project site have complained that high rise structures would greatly impede the view from their homes. Other residents have questioned whether high rises fit with a community that prides itself on being "small town" America. Yet, an area abutting a trolley line, surrounded by bus lines and circled by Interstates, this is exactly the kind of area regional planners believe should support higher-density development.
At Wednesday's meeting, the Planning Commission can recommend approval or denial of the request, or the commissioners could approve with conditions suggesting limits to the height of the buildings. But the ultimate decision is made by the full City Council which will hear from proponents and opponents before voting at a future meeting.
The Planning Commission meets in the Council Chambers on Allison Avenue. The meeting begins at 7 p.m.
CLICK HERE to read background stories on the Park Station project.