Ann Gardner | Via Latina
The Flower Hill expansion project got high marks for taking community input seriously and won unanimous approval from the San Diego City Council April 19. Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, whose District includes Del Mar Heights, Del Mar Terrace and Carmel Valley, kicked off the commendations by emphasizing the number of times the applicant had met with the Carmel Valley Planning Board to get input and recirculation of their Draft Environmental Impact Report to include a preferred alternative that reflected the neighbors wish to keep Flower Hill Drive in its present location.
Council members saw the project as revitalization of an “outdated” shopping center that will include replacing the 14,000 sq. foot movie theatre with a 35,000 sq. foot Whole Foods Market, and did not seem bothered by the projected increase in traffic on Via de la Valle. “It will be minimal compared to (the increase projected by) the Fairgrounds Master Plan, Lightner commented. The remodel will add 75,000 sq. feet to the current 112,000 sq. ft. building envelope and also feature a four level, three story parking garage, off Flower Hill Drive, behind the new food market structure.
Based on a related finance plan that involves the widening of Via de la Valle to accommodate more traffic, the applicant’s contribution to the cost of widening Via de la Valle was reduced from 3.8 million to just over one million dollars. The contribution will be made when the Certificate of Occupancy is issued. Part of the approval also rejected a mitigation measure that would have required condemnation of property to the east to construct a left turn lane from San Andres onto Flower Hill Drive.
Construction planned to begin this summer, Via de la Valle widening early 2013.