Vista, CA –A major project (Sunroad Plaza) is planned for 760 Hacienda Drive – between SR 78 and Hacienda Drive, east of Vista Village Drive where it crosses the 78; this is where the circus tents have been set up in the past.
This project will be heard by the City Council on Tuesday, June 23, at 5:30 p.m.
South Vista Communities has many reservations about this project, mainly that there is no way to mitigate the greenhouse gases that will be produced by the drive-through businesses, as well as the negative impact of the car wash on the residential neighborhood just across Hacienda from the project.
Vale View neighborhood resident Lonna Leghart has prepared an excellent summary of the project and concerns, which is attached.
Vista’s Planning Commission voted to disapprove the Sunroad Plaza project on May 19, and the developers immediately appealed the decision to the City Council. It will be heard on Tuesday, June 23.
If you have questions about the project, please contact John Conley, Community Development Director, at email@example.com or 760-643-5388. If you have comments about the project for the Council, please email or mail them to the Council and state READ AT COUNCIL MEETING.
To ALL INTERESTED PARTIES ARE INVITED to participate in said meeting and express opinions on the matters outlined above by teleconferencing and electronic means consistent with State of California Executive Order N-29-20, for the purpose of considering the request, at which time any interested person shall have the opportunity to provide comment. A link to the meeting can be found at: https://www.cityofvista.com/city-hall/agenda-minutes/meeting-video-broadcast.
Sunroad Plaza Commercial Project
• Four drive-through businesses (Panera, Chick-Fil-A, Starbucks, TBD) plus a self-service carwash
• 4.12 acres at corner of Vista Village Drive and Hacienda Drive
• Zoned Commercial (C-1) 1
• Bordered by SR-78 (north), Vista Village Drive (west), Food4Less (south), and lots zoned Estates Residential (E-1)2 (east and south)
• Requires Special Use Permit for drive-through businesses
• 10,000+ daily trips added to the roadways
• 1,185 metric tons of carbon dioxide generated
March 2019: Notice of Preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR)
October 2019: DEIR available for public comment
March 2020: Second DEIR available for public comment with few adjustments for lesser impact
May 19, 2020: Planning Commission considered the plan, which included a Special Use Permit (for drive-through businesses) and a Statement of Overriding Considerations, due to excessive greenhouse gas emissions that “cannot be mitigated to less than significant levels”. Planning Commission offered Sunroad the opportunity to consider a different plan that would reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs), but Sunroad turned it down and chose instead to appeal the Planning Commission’s decision to the City Council for $500 fee.
June 23, 2020: City Council will consider the project, Special Use Permit, and Statement and Overriding Considerations.
1.. “C-1” Neighborhood Commercial Zone: Permits neighborhood commercial uses and activities, business and professional offices, convenience goods and services and related accessory uses. Similar but more intense uses including drive-in/through facilities, public facilities, public assembly and residential caretaker facilities may be permitted subject to a Use Permit. No minimum lot area is specified. Setbacks as measured from the property lines: front=3½ feet (wider front setbacks are required on most major streets); sides and rear=3½ feet when abutting a street or 5 feet when adjoining residentially zoned property with no open side closer than 40 feet from the common property line.
2… “E-1” Estates Zone: Permits one detached single-family dwelling per lot, agricultural crops, limited small animals, one horse for each one-half acre, and related accessory uses. Similar but more intense land uses including public facilities and churches may be permitted subject to a Use Permit. Minimum lot area is one-half acre. Setbacks as measured from the property lines: front=50 feet from the street centerline; sides=10 feet; and rear=20 feet.
Statement of Overriding Considerations
Per Slide 35 in the City Staff’s report: “The City must find that the benefits of the proposed project outweigh the project’s significant adverse environmental effects that cannot be mitigated to less than significant levels. Benefits include the following in that the project would:
- Provide additional employment opportunities in the City
- Provide additional tax revenue to the City
- Improve an underused site
- Shield existing residences from noise on SR-78
- Promote smart growth concepts, promote regionally oriented commercial development along SR-78 corridor
- Would improve roadways”
Vista’s Climate Action Plan: GHGs exceed California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and City’s Bright Line Efficiency Thresholds, and the Statement of Overriding Considerations does not address a benefit that reasonably offsets these levels. Planning Commissioners stated this concern over and over, as did public commenters.
Residential Traffic: The EIR’s traffic study did not include residential streets surrounding the property, only intersections to the west of the property. With an anticipated 10,000+ trips added per day to the site, it is certain that no amount of traffic diversion (like the pork chop and median requested by Councilmember Joe Green) will stop traffic from having to travel east out of the complex.
Carwash: Vista has 24 carwashes, not including gas station carwashes. Another car wash is now being proposed next to Coco’s. Planning Commissioners questioned the need for a carwash, as well as the sound levels from the carwash located so close to residences. When the commissioners proposed a change to the project that would
eliminate the car wash, Sunroad declined. Instead, Sunroad paid $500 to have their plan reviewed by the City Council, showing a lack of flexibility and an urgency to push forward with their all-or-nothing plan.
Low/No Community Support: The only letters of support are from businesses involved in the deal and the owner of the property at 536 Matagual, who wishes to have his property re-zoned commercial (from low density residential). Neighbors do not support this development, as evidenced by the letters and comments shared in March 2019, November 2019, and April 2020.
City Staff’s Support of a Bad Development: Staff prepared and presented an in-depth report on the project for the Planning Commission, including the Statement of Overriding Considerations. Staff recommended that the Planning Commission approve a Special Use Permit for the drive-through businesses, despite the excessive GHGs, and they suggested the adverse environment effects would be offset by a list of barely impressive benefits in the overriding considerations. This signals an enormous disconnect between City Staff and the goals of the Climate Action Plan and highlights an intense priority to raise tax revenue over protecting our air quality.
How you can help stop this development’s approval:
- Agenda will be published on Wednesday, June 17th. Share it with friends!
- Using the agenda item, write to Council with your concerns. Include “Please read during meeting” if you wish for
- your comments to be included during the June 23rd virtual meeting. Otherwise they will just be included in
- meeting packets.
- Attend the June 23rd virtual meeting of the City Council.