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Cities Community Community Commentary Opinion Region Solana Beach

The spirit of Prop T at stake in senior-care facility vote

By Dave Roberts, former San Diego County Supervisor

From my many years serving on both the Solana Beach City Council and the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, I learned that making land use decisions is tough.   

When 62 percent of voters approved Proposition T in 2000, it gave all voters in Solana Beach a voice in making changes to land uses.  This means that a majority of voters will have to support the direction for land use changes proposed within the city.

From my many conversations with residents and from attending two community forums, I think most of us can agree that quality, safe senior care is strongly needed in Solana Beach due to the increasing number of seniors in the coming decades.  We also have limited undeveloped parcels of land.

Currently, voters are being asked to vote yes or no on changing the land use for a 2+ acre parcel east of I-5 that has been vacant for years and has been an eyesore on our community. 

If passed, this vote will allow a local developer to propose to the city council a senior care facility for a site that provides a perfect transition between pure residential and pure commercial zoning, at the edge of a single family home residential neighborhood (not in it). 

Like the Timbers Building next door, this proposed project would also provide a good buffer to the noise of the freeway.

Should the proposed project advance to the City Council, the City of Solana Beach engineers will require the developer to make necessary changes to the two roads leading into the facility (Marine View and Genevieve) to ensure safety of new seniors, staff, and existing neighborhood residents, as they do for any new development.

There are always some who oppose new development.  A few neighbors say they really like the proposed facility, just not in their neighborhood.  I would point out that Prop T says that a vote of the people would NOT be required to change zoning in order to meet state mandates, such as low income affordable apartments. 

Thus, if this vote fails, a developer could propose a project to the city council without a public vote and the project could be much more intrusive on the neighborhood.

I hope voters will consider all the facts on this proposal and understand that Prop T was implemented to allow all (not just those in the immediate neighborhood) city voters to decide (with the entire process funded by the developer per law) on major land use changes. 

I think then they will agree that this project offers many enhancements (sound barrier, quality care, road improvements, increased tax revenue, jobs) for Solana Beach and can be conditioned by the city council to mitigate any local neighbors’ concerns.

Hon. Dave Roberts Ret. San Diego County Board of Supervisors, Third District