At a December 2 Del Cerro Action Council meeting, a representative of a real estate developer said traffic wouldn’t increase much after the construction of 26 homes on a 5.6-acre site off College Avenue.
ColRich vice president of acquisitions Tony Pauker said residents of the project would add less than 1 percent of traffic volume at the two closest intersections.
The forum was scheduled to update residents about ColRich’s plan to develop a vacant lot south of the Chevron station located at the corner of College and Del Cerro Boulevard. The land is bounded to the east by homes on Marne Avenue and to the south by westbound Interstate 8.
Pauker said in a December 4 interview that home costs range from the high $600,000s to $700,000. ColRich has three floor plans: an 1882-square-foot one-story home with three bedrooms and three bathrooms; a 2023-square-foot, one-story structure with four bedrooms and three bathrooms; and a 2274-square-foot home with a second-story “pop-up,” four bedrooms, and three bathrooms. The minimum lot size is 5000 square feet. The maximum is 20,000 square feet; the larger size is due to the hilly terrain.
The plan met with protests when Pauker first presented it at the July 22 council meeting. Residents expressed concern about the added traffic, as drivers leaving the site will have to drive north on College and make a U-turn to get to I-8.
At the recent meeting, residents challenged the finding in the traffic study, which has yet to be completed. “It’s far more than 1 percent. You don’t live here,” a woman told Pauker. (Though people gave their views, they didn’t provide their names.)
Pauker said, “I'm doing a traffic study that is not required” by the City of San Diego, and the completed study will be “made available” to the action council and the Navajo Community Planners, Inc. (the community planning group).
Some residents spoke about the route from the development to Phoebe Heart Elementary School, which is on Del Cerro Boulevard west of College. Returning home could mean driving south to make a U-turn by San Diego State University. Pauker said people would make informed decisions when buying homes.
Another woman said emergency access could be affected. Emergency vehicles could be forced to make a U-turn by the university, and fire will “burn our houses.” A man said, “Hopefully, when a fire truck goes by, people will pull over. I'm not for or against this project,” but instead of speaking about “what-ifs,” he suggested people should ask questions.
Residents also made suggestions. A woman asked if a road into the project could be built on land near I-8. Pauker said Caltrans owns some land near the southern boundary. A man asked about using infill to construct an access road. Pauker said he would be “happy to ask the traffic engineer about it.”
A man asked if a signal light could be installed at the project entrance. Pauker said the location is too close to the signal at the Del Cerro Boulevard/College Avenue intersection for another light to be installed.
Residents also raised concerns about homes being turned into mini-dorms. Pauker said the homeowners’ association’s covenants, conditions, and restrictions could prohibit short-term rentals like Airbnb. Regulations can’t prevent people from renting homes, but “I can’t fathom why someone would spend $700,000 on a three-bedroom home and fill it with college students,” said Pauker.
There was one potential buyer in the audience. A man said he and four friends were interested in the homes. He said they went to Hearst, Harvey Lewis Middle School (in Allied Gardens), and Patrick Henry High (in San Carlos).
Pauker said he hoped to do an informational presentation on the project at the Navajo planners’ January meeting. ColRich’s timeline also includes a San Diego planning commission hearing.