Monday, February 4, 2013

Commentary: I DO NOT Support Balboa Mesa

Commentary by Steve Innis, Director-At-Large

Dear San Diego Planning Commission and the Honorable Lorie Zapf,

It is with great urgency that I request that IN’ N OUT Burger NOT be allowed permits to occupy the Balboa Mesa shopping center until complete and exhaustive environmental impact reports, quality of life reports, traffic studies are conducted, and traffic mitigation standards have been established. It is imperative that the people who live, work, go to school, and play in Clairemont have the full and complete protection of the City of San Diego against the horrendous safety and traffic impact that this restaurant will bring into our community. I believe that through proper planning this restaurant can co-exist without causing major problems in our community, but until adequate measures of protection are in place I stand firmly against the project.

Congestion on northbound Genesee, just south of Balboa Avenue is already so busy that many cars are already turning eastbound on Mt Alifan into a residential neighborhood in order to avoid the traffic on northbound Genesee. They turn onto Mt Alifan in order to make their way eastbound to the 805 Freeway and to the many large and successful businesses in Clairemont and Kearny Mesa. Due to the already increased traffic on Mt Alifan the City of San Diego made Mt. Alifan a single lane road in order to better serve the safety of the residents and pedestrians on Mt. Alifan who live in the condominiums and low income housing, as well as the school children who go to Horizon.  

The traffic congestion from the restaurant’s drive-through businesses will cause a major NEGATIVE impact on our streets, and these problems are easily observed and are quite notorious. One need only to look at the problems of the restaurant’s traffic on Kearny Villa Road with cars backed up onto the public street during lunch and dinner hours, or the impact of the franchise in Mission Valley with traffic backed up on the street and access to nearby businesses blocked and you will see that our community is in for a major devastating impact of traffic in the form of cars basically parked on our public roadway waiting to go through the restaurant. In addition a simple Google search of “In N Out Burger traffic jams” will show this negative impact occurs all across the country in nearly every location. Our community deserves better than that from a company that plans on profiting from doing business in this community.

It is neither desirable or acceptable for this restaurant to jam up our public streets as it has done in many other places in San Diego County and around the country for its customer’s waiting in line to order food as it historically has in its other locations.  Our community deserves streets that are not negatively impacted by this business. This can be done by the planning commission putting into place site specific requirements that will ensure adequate off street traffic accommodations so that the customers for this restaurant will wait in line only on the private property at the Balboa Mesa shopping center and NOT on our streets. This planning needs to be done IMMEDIATELY before any permit is issued or any shovel is turned and the studies should be conducted using traffic studies of not only the restaurant’s proposed day-to-day business traffic model but the studies should be done to also take into account time of day and seasonal traffic fluctuations.

There is no doubt that while the restaurant will eventually enjoy tremendous success and be embraced by our community the phenomenal traffic generated by this proposed restaurant has the potential of having a major detrimental effect on the quality of life of those people who live, work, and play in Clairemont.

This NEGATIVE impact on the quality of life for the residents of our community will continue for future generations to come unless proper land use planning is utilized today.


Steve Innis

The previous commentary may not reflect the overall feelings of the entire Clairemont Town Council. However, we support everyone's opportunity to have their voice be heard on any issue or topic as it pertains to the well-being of our Clairemont community.

1 comment:

  1. Steve, I agree with many of your points. I would also point out that this issue is bigger than just the In and Out. The developers wish to REZONE part of the shopping center to accommodate an In and Out. It could (and if proper traffic studies are done first, should) go in the large portion of the shopping center zoned "CC". However, developers are seeking to eliminate the "CN - Commercial Neighborhood" zone that runs alongside Genesee (and faces homeowners) and make that section of the the shopping center ALSO a CC zone. Both zones allow extensive commercial development, but only the CC zone allows drive-thrus, bars, and live entertainment. This is where the goal of business (to maximize profits) and the goal of city planning (to create a community in which citizens wish to live), come head to head. I struggle to find even the short-term gain in rezoning. The developers already stated when they purchased the property that they plan to immediately redevelop the center. We can focus on maximizing their profits and we'll get what they give us or we can insist they do the proper studies, keep the zoning they purchased, and we'll STILL end up with a re-vitalized center...and one that will be better for the community in the long run.