For months, San Diego’s regional planning agency, SANDAG, has been threatening to seize a valuable piece of land at the site of a planned trolley station in Clairemont.
The agency wanted to build a parking lot there, instead of the transit-oriented development – residential and commercial development designed to maximize access to transit – developers who own the property had planned and which had won support from a community group and two elected officials who represent the area.
The developers are now optimistic they’ve reached a deal with SANDAG, after the agency held the threat of eminent domain over their head for months. The development would include roughly 40 condos, retail space and commuter parking for a new trolley station on three and a half acres at Clairemont Drive, on the new $2.1 billion Mid-Coast Trolley line set to open in 2021.
It could mark the end of years of fights over developing around the new station. City leaders previously proposed allowing far more development there before backtracking in the face of fierce community opposition.
SANDAG and Protea Properties are set to go to court on Dec. 9 over the eminent domain case. SANDAG is arguing it can force Protea to sell the land because it has an overwhelming public need for the land – building 155 parking spaces for the trolley station.
Jeff Essakow, a principal at Protea, said he’s trying to get that court date delayed to January. He thinks he’s reached an agreement with SANDAG officials on a project that could be approved by the board at its Dec. 16 board meeting.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
What a tangled web we weave!
Are not autos blamed for excessive valuable land use for parking?
I thought bikes and walking from the $ billion or so trails budget were to get to mass transit?
Highly subsidized parking to avoid high prices at UCSD, downtown, especially ballgames?
Meanwhile irresponsible plans and actions for inadequate parking are underway hoping to annoy thousands of auto users to waste time using themass transit they rejected decades ago.
Neither group seems to understand there is a revolution underway in urban transportation:
--- Uber, Lyft, etc, will nearly eliminate parking on high value land near shopping like UTC, UCSD, commercial/industrial sites, etc.
---Offering doorstep or designated curbside pickup in on-call efficient autos, mass transit'saccess deficiency extra trips from real origins and to real destinations are eliminated. Most travel at urban distances will be taken in the same auto already in use.
--- Mass transit no longer needs to provide "empty car" environmentally wasteful service between peak demand periods.
---The same on demand, personal, same vehicle travel direct to destination already used for nearly 90% of travel will be available to all, especially non-drivers. And without the kind of community design disruption discussed in this article. Land saved will help improve roads where/when needed.
Let's move ahead, not back.
Why is SANDAG's Lorie Zaph and Gary Gallegos having closed door meetings with developers at all?
Who allowed a public agency spending billions of tax dollars to play in private with land developers?
This is just normal back room dealing with the San Diego rulers. We need to get the money out of politics.
In just 20 years we'll have a coastal trolly up to the local public university!
The proposed development only amounts to 11.4 units to the acre. The site can easily acommodate 25 to the acre (i.e. 87 units instead of 40) and stay within the 35 foot height limit, as well as provide a nice open space. The city needs density near mass transit. The odds are that we will never meet the goals of the CLimate Action Plan unless we wake-up and accept denser developments in appropriate areas.
Is there further proof required that SANDAG is a rogue entity - acting only in behalf of its contractors and the politicians supported by their campaign contributions? Mix in a few cubic yards of incompetence, hubris and greed for Measure A's headstone.
That’s why Rep. Scott Peters, who appeared at the Mid-Coast Trolley line’s groundbreaking ceremony after helping the agency receive $1 billion in federal grant money to build it, said he was dismayed that SANDAG was playing hardball with a transit-oriented development proposal for the area.
“What I don’t understand is, if you have something that meets your needs, why would you blow it up to pay more money to get less than what’s offered?” Peters said. “It doesn’t make sense to me. One thing we know from research and experience is you need to put significant housing and destinations within walking distance of your transit stations.”