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Third Avenue development project prompts legal action
By Robert Moreno | Sat, Oct 08 2016

A five-story, 71-unit condominium project that is supposed to revitalize Third Avenue is at the center of a lawsuit. Chula Vista property owner Earl Jentz and Chula Vista resident Gloria Gonzales filed a lawsuit Sept. 15 against the city of Chula Vista and Niki Properties over the Vista del Mar development project, which the city council approved in August.

Vista del Mar is a mixed-use development site located at the corner of Third Avenue and K Street in the C-1 Corridor Sub-District of the Urban Core Specific Plan. The project by Dr. Hamid Mani is said to have one-and two-bedroom condos and a 616-square-foot space for commercial use.

The lawsuit contends that the city failed to comply with the city’s general plan, specific plan and municipal code when it approved this project. The lawsuit also states that the city failed to consider the environmental impacts associated with the project, failed to require environmental analysis, and failed to consider feasible alternatives and mitigation.

“This project isn’t consistent with the specific plan, it is inconsistent with the design guidelines for the city of Chula Vista,” said environmental and land use attorney Everett DeLano, who is representing Jentz. “They [the city council] completely ignored all of that, and kind of bent over backwards to do what they could to support this project, despite all of this.”

Jentz owns property in the area where the projected site will be located and said that if the project gets built it will drastically impact his property.

“This project fits the site like a square peg in a round hole,” he said. “It doesn’t respect the neighbors and community as envisioned in the Urban Core Specific Plan. The bulk and size of the project dwarf the surrounding neighborhood because it was submitted and approved with exceptions that doubled its mass.”

The lawsuit also argues that the city failed to give Jentz a proper public hearing by not providing him the ability to present his argument during the city council meeting, and failing to allow him a rebuttal opportunity, which violated his rights of due process and fair hearing.
Chula Vista City Attorney Glen Googins dismissed the claim and said he made sure the city followed the process for a public hearing.

“Mr. Jentz alleges that the city’s approval of Dr. Mani’s proposed project at the corner of Third and K was illegal,” he said. “We strongly disagree. Although people can (and did extensively at two public hearings) debate the pros and cons of the project, we believe that all sides of the debate were given full and fair opportunities to express their views, and that both the city’s process, and the terms for its ultimate approval, fully complied with all applicable laws.”

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