By Pat Murphy …. Tuesday, August 26, the City Council of Vista will hold their City Council meeting at 5:30 pm, 200 Civic Center Drive, with a very robust agenda. One topic, in particular, should be of great interest to many Vistans. Those with businesses in the Historic Downtown area will be particularly interested.
Maybe you haven’t heard about the G-8 development project in the downtown area. Most people have driven past the vacant lot on the corner of Vista Village Drive and North Santa Fe. You know, it’s the lot where carnivals set up and politicians stand on the corner trying to win their elections. The lot is currently owned by the City of Vista but has been under a contractual agreement with a developer for several years.
The community uses the vacant lot as a place to park (approx. 100 cars at one time) when events are held in the downtown area as do the customers of adjacent businesses such as Mother Earth Brewery and Urban Pizza whose assigned parking is minimal.
In fact, parking in the entire downtown including the new section, where Coldstone Creamery and the Krikorian Theatre businesses are located, might be called minimal. Some businesses have almost no parking for their customers and rely only on the few scattered and small city parking lots.
The current issue at hand is fairly simple as explained to me by John Conley, the Director of Community Development and Engineering. Under the current requirements of the city’s Specific Plan and the current Zoning for the area, the developer must provide adequate parking for the proposed project. The proposed project is for a four story structure of 80 residential units just under 20,000 square feet of commercial space. This, according to Mr. Conley, would impose a minimum of 237 parking spaces. The developer, citing the inability to excavate more than one story down because of the high water table in the area, has requested that the project be modified for 160 on site parking spaces and another 78 parking spaces on a second level behind Mother Earth Brewery.
If the City of Vista and the developer are unable to agree on a workable solution to the parking, then the question of what becomes of this property will become paramount. The property was conveyed to the city under the auspices of the now defunct California Redevelopment Agency. The city has a long term management plan with the State of California that dictates the property is to be developed or sold. If the current development contract cannot be brought to fruition, then the city has several options that include; finding another developer, buying the land and developing the property with city resources, or just selling the property outright.
Cliff Kaiser, President of the Vista Village Business Association (VVBA), has been working with the businesses in the downtown area on the issue of parking. His first “Town Hall” meeting with the business owners and managers had parking on the agenda. He recently sent out a survey to the membership as to whether (or not) they would support the project as proposed, or with minor changes, or if modified, to have all parking on site.
In addition to the proposed G8 project, several new businesses are coming into the area. Wave Length Brewery has completed almost all the necessary preparations and should soon open on Main Street and another restaurant,
The Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen, is eyeing an existing property on Santa Fe, just off Broadway. The downtown area’s revitalization has picked up velocity and parking for the future is critical to keep up the pace. This revitalization benefits the City of Vista and all who live (and play) here. I urge you all to attend the meeting today.