Park Station project in La Mesa will destroy the city’s Master Plan and needs community support to stop

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La Mesa is a special place, even for many that do not live there. Walking through the village, there is just about everything anyone could want in a neighborhood. Its friendly walk ability is a draw for many, and the small town charm to downtown is much like the artists communities that I have visited up and down the coasts. It is almost like its flavor is in the air and it is drifting up from the restaurants, antique stores and the many places that are unique to La Mesa.

La Mesa is a special place, even for many that do not live there. Walking through the village, there is just about everything anyone could want in a neighborhood. Its friendly walk ability is a draw for many, and the small town charm to downtown is much like the artists communities that I have visited up and down the coasts. It is almost like its flavor is in the air and it is drifting up from the restaurants, antique stores and the many places that are unique to La Mesa.

Now throw in a mixed use residential, with commercial, retail and 416 housing units, underground parking that encompasses 207,000 square feet and top it off with a 110 feet towers and you have one hot mess. And they call it Park Station.

I was glad to hear that the La Mesa Planning Commission made the decision not to support the project and hopefully the La Mesa City Council will agree that this is not the type of development that will enhance this beautiful city. Although the plan for the project is stunning and is a remarkable work of architectural art, it would quickly become an eyesore. Density is necessary sometimes, but it is not always the best decision for a community. In this case, I think it would permanently erase the quaintness of La Mesa, which in many cases is its biggest draw.

Council is supposed to broach this subject of rezoning this property area next month, and if it does so, it can lay way for Park Station to be built in the heart of La Mesa. As of now, four stories is the limit for any building and if I lived there, I would be fighting this development tooth and nail.

But you can bet that this will not be the last proposal. Urban Housing Partners will be back to talk directly to City Council and has made it clear that it is in this for the long haul, changing plans as they go. Residents of La Mesa, if they band together have the ability to stop this project. But it takes numbers, and those numbers come from individual voices that will go to the council meetings and speak in open session, and write to their mayor and council members with the reasons why they oppose the project. Look what happened with term limits. It is now on the ballot because enough constituents stepped forward and said that they wanted it addressed. And now it is up to a vote.

Every city in East County is struggling to make ends meet and meet the demand of growth. And today, without redevelopment funds, it takes ingenuity to press forward with large projects and in many cases it is developers with money that can help save a city from dying by creating more jobs and drawing more people in. However, in the end, the real question is how you see your city when you leave your house for your children, or when you retire and spend your days in the place you decided to call home.

La Mesa can grow without the help of Park Station. There are better plans than destroying the Master Plan.

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