Community continues battle over Flower Hill

DEL MAR — Neighbors in the area of the corner of Del Mar, Solana Beach and San Diego are continuing their 5-year fight to stop Flower Hill’s expansion by posting a petition online to support its efforts.
The petition is in response to a draft Environmental Impact Report published by the city of San Diego, which opponents say, states the planned, nearly 75,000-square-foot expansion project “will result in significant environmental impacts to the following areas: traffic/circulation, biological resources, paleontological resources, public utilities” along with additional traffic, increased local air pollution and increased local crime.
The petition reportedly lists the specific details at issue, including: building heights over 35 feet, any above-ground parking structures, the realignment of Flower Hill Drive, the removal of the existing theater complex, any change to the shopping center that will increase traffic, and the overall density, bulk, scale and mass of the proposed project.
The petition states “The proposed project as currently conceived, will further contribute to the over-commercialization of this country-coastal area by bringing additional national chain stores and additional traffic. This would impact locally owned-businesses and force our neighbors to close family-owned boutique establishments that have been life-long contributors to the greater Del Mar/Solana Beach/San Diego economy and community.”
Supporters of the petition are requesting an adequately scaled model be produced by the developer, Protea Holdings, LLC, that would clearly show the proposed expansion project in relationship to the entire shopping center and the surrounding hillsides, structures, roads and features, so that “lay members of the community” can more readily understand the increase in bulk and scale that any proposed project would add to the area.
“Thus far, Jeffrey Essakow, president of Protea Holdings, has resisted producing a realistic model, claiming the cost would be too exorbitant, yet he continues to pay his high-priced consultants and new public relations (community outreach) team many times the cost of a model that is typically provided for a controversial project such as this,” said Robert Vicino, spokesperson for Citizens Against Flower Hill’s Excessive Expansion.
“Perhaps the real reason the developer won’t produce a model is that it will be too revealing of the true scale of what will become a commercialized inner-city shopping center,” Vicino said.
The petition is now posted online at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/flowerhill_expansion, intended to gather several hundred signatures and provided to the city of San Diego, the local Planning Group and the California Coastal Commission prior to the April 26 deadline for response to the EIR for “the decision-making authorities.”

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