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Vista City Council denies hotel application

VISTA — A proposed hotel is no longer.

The Vista City Council declined a General Plan amendment and zoning change application for a four-story, 150-room hotel at Matagual and Hacienda drives at its June 11 meeting.

Mid-Continent Hospitality submitted the proposal for a General Plan amendment and zone change to reclassify the 2.27-acre plot from low density residential to commercial general, according to John Conley, director of community development.

The proposal was submitted in May with a maximum height of 56 feet for a Hilton Home2 and Tru brands, he added.

“Staff brings all preliminary requests for General Plan amendments and zone changes before the City Council for discussion before we accept any formal planning application,” Conley said.

Minhas Ladiwalla, president of Mid-Continent Hospitality, which would have developed the hotel, said the company does thorough market research to determine the viability of a project in a specific location.

The desire to partner with Vista, he said, comes from the city’s tourism and craft brewing industries — just two aspects to draw hotel guests. In addition, the hotel would be nearby Vista Village, which is a main draw for the city.

“We are proposing 150 Hilton brand hotel rooms,” Ladiwalla said. “We want to make this project feel like Vista.”

Julian and Selina Shadle, who co-own the property with their father, Thomas, said their investment into the community is relevant. Julian Shadle said his family also developed the Vista Superior Courthouse, with the proceeds benefiting the Boys & Girls Club of Vista.

“We’ve watched the changes in Vista over the years and have been pleased,” Julian Shadle said. “Or civic involvement is definitely in our bloodline.”

Debra Schroeder, who is a member of the Vista Planning Commission and lives in the Vale View neighborhood, urged the council to vote no in a letter submitted to the council members. She said quality of life would be affected and also noted the area is one of the most sought after in the city due to how fast homes sell.

Schroeder rattled off 28 other locations in the city more suitable for a hotel, which are already zoned for commercial. Only one letter was submitted in support, from resident Bret Schanzenbach, who was the previous CEO of the Vista Chamber of Commerce.

Councilman John Franklin, meanwhile, assured residents Matagual Drive would not be reopened. In a previous story by The Coast News, residents reported the street would be reopened and were fearful of the consequences.

However, city staff relayed there are and were no plans to reopen the street.

“Just as a factual point, I wanted to make that known,” Franklin said.

However, the council was not swayed noting the hotel didn’t fit with the neighborhood and cut through traffic.

Franklin said a development should be “harmonious” with the neighborhood and the city is willing to work with the developer to find a project.

Councilman Joe Green said it’s not a bad project, but should be in a different location. In addition, the commercial lot across the street is also expected to add to the traffic concerns, he said.

“The other project won’t come to the council and fly through the Planning Commission unless appealed,” Green said of the commercial project with numerous drive-thrus.

Caption: The Vista City Council did not accept an application June 11 for a General Plan amendment and zoning change for a proposed hotel at Hacienda and Matagual drives in the Vale View neighborhood. Photo by Steve Puterski