“If this can happen to me today, tomorrow, it can happen to you.”
That was the warning at a recent community meeting from one resident who lives near a proposed new residential development near the Olympic Training Center called, “Lake Pointe.” The community meeting was one of two meetings organized by Chula Vista Council Member Ramirez and Council Member Aguilar. At these meetings, the residents who live near the project expressed serious frustration and anger in what can be summed up best in one word: betrayal.
Background: The area now called “Lake Pointe” was originally meant to be a retail / commercial zone. While there is dispute as to whether it could be developed as such, the developer decided it could make more money by converting the project from retail / commercial to residential rental units.
Many of the residents at the meeting noted that when they moved to the area, they were aware that the land would be retail / commercial space and liked that idea. This was part of the city’s General Plan which is supposed to give a long-term plan or vision of the city. The General Plan can be amended but only through a process of approvals by the Planning Commission and the City Council.
So, why are the residents of the area so upset? Partly because they had been voicing their opposition for many months only to watch the Planning Commission and City Council vote overwhelmingly in favor of the developer and against the residents. They feel betrayed by a system that seems to have ignored them. They feel betrayed by a City Council that did not consider legitimate questions and concerns when they voted to approve the rezoning.
Why does this matter to you if you don’t live in the area? This is just another example of a developer steamrolling over the concerns and complaints of neighboring residents. Developers realize that all that matters are the votes for approval. Once they have that, anyone who complains can be ignored. It’s an all-or-nothing game and they know how to play the game. They know that money is the mother’s milk of politics. They know that politicians are gullible and will believe the developer at their word. They will hire expensive consultants who also know how to manipulate the system. So, take heed Chula Vista, if you think that it’s not your problem, think again.
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