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Proposed hotel receives pushback from Vista residents

Above: A proposal in the early stages is calling for a hotel in the Vale View neighborhood. Residents are pushing back against the plans saying it would negatively affect the neighborhood, traffic and quality of life. Photo by Steve Puterski 

VISTA — The Vale View neighborhood is described as country living in the city.

A quiet paradise in the center of the city where neighbors are friendly, yet value privacy.

However, residents of the quiet section near downtown are up in arms regarding a proposed hotel at 536 Matagual Drive, along Hacienda Drive just east of Vista Village Drive and south of state Route 78.

The 2.5-acre site is no place for a hotel, residents said, which would butt up against about half a dozen homes and have sightlines into their backyards. A home on the property would be demolished.

In addition, a proposed strip mall is going through the application process to be constructed at the intersection of Vista Village and Hacienda drives.

Resident Lonna Leghart has started a campaign in part to lobby the City Council to squash the project, while also gathering signatures for a petition to submit to the city.

Once the for sale sign went up, she called the number to get more information about the property and potential use.

“I immediately realize that the owner was just trying to attract a hotel by pricing it over $3 million when it’s not worth that much,” Leghart added. “They were looking at commercial, which is a whole different ballgame.’

The property across the street, meanwhile, is proposing a Chick-fil-A, Panera Bread and a carwash.

Jaydon and Rick Randall also live in the neighborhood, and are assisting with talking to other neighbors about the proposal.

However, the project is still in the beginning stages as developers are working toward obtaining an application to re-zone the property from residential to commercial.

Should the proposal move forward, it must meet all city guidelines along with receiving approval from the Planning Commission and City Council.

One caveat of the proposal, which may be more concerning to residents than the hotel, is the potential to open Matagual Drive up to through traffic. Currently, the street is blocked, as at least two deaths were a result of drive-through traffic.

However, Andrea McCullogh, Vista’s communications officer, stressed the city is not planning to open up Matagual Drive.

The city agreed to block the road in the aftermath and from numerous complaints of motorists speeding and using the street as a way to avoid traffic on Melrose Drive.

Robert Bray, another resident, said the potential opening of Matagual would negatively affect quality of life and put pedestrians on edge.

Residents are pushing back against a proposed hotel, saying it doesn’t fit the needs of the neighborhood.                         Photo by Steve Puterski

“The city is proposing to open Matagual back up,” Jaydon Randall said. “They made a promise to the residents on Matagual that that street would remain closed.”

Maria Bowman, whose home sits adjacent to the site, said she wasn’t sure about the proposed hotel, but would “definitely” object to opening Matagual.

Likewise, Oscar Rodriguez, whose home is on the corner of Vale View and Hacienda drives, said a hotel is the last thing he wants to look at from his backyard.

“I’m not comfortable with random people coming and going every day,” he said. “The last thing I want is a hotel next to my house.”

Also, at least six new single-family homes are currently under construction, leading Leghart and others wondering what may happen to those values. Currently, those homes on Vale View will run about $900,000, she said.

*Note: A previous version of the story reported residents were concerned the plan would open up Matagual Drive. On June 4, Andrea McCullogh, Vista’s communications officer, said the city is not planning to open up the street.