Ann Gardner | Via Latina
The Flower Hill expansion project has squeaked out an approval from the San Diego Planning Commission and will go before the City Council this month for final approval. The Planning Commission vote, 4 to 2, approved “…the project despite the significant unmitigated effects identified….” The effects, increases in traffic on Via de la Valle and at the San Andres Drive intersection, cannot be mitigated unless the applicant contributes $3.8M toward the widening of Via de la Valle and delays the opening of new retail space until the widening is completed.
However, the Planning Commission accepted the “Candidate Findings and Statement of Overriding Considerations” that postponing the opening of the new 30,000-square-foot market would pose an economic hardship on the applicant because the improvements to Via de la Valle “cannot be guaranteed to be completed in a timely manner.”
CALTRANS claims that there is “not enough storage on Via de la Valle for the queues (from I-5 turning east to the mall or west to the Fairgrounds and beach)…as a result of the increased volumes (of traffic) from this development.” On the other hand, the approved EIR states that the “traffic study concluded adequate storage capacity is forecasted (and)…the additional traffic would not result in a significant impact at the I-5/Via de la Valle interchange.” The City of Solana Beach has stated that they are “optimistic” their concerns about the impact of the project on that City’s resources can be resolved before the City Council meeting.