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'Huge wall' on Poway hillside irks neighbors

Posted at 7:11 PM, Sep 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-26 14:06:52-04

POWAY, Calif. (KGTV) -- Some neighbors in Poway are demanding answers after they say a huge wall showed up on a hillside over their homes, seemingly overnight and without notice.

"It definitely kills our view," said Aaron Jewell, who has lived in the neighborhood for nearly 40 years. "It's an eyesore."

"It looks a prison!" added Jeff Tarzia, another neighbor.

The pre-fabricated "tilt-up" walls were erected last week, part of a 531,000 square-foot warehouse and distribution center slated to open next year, according to interviews with the city and the developer.

The facility, named Vantage Point, will be the latest addition to the Poway Business Park along Scripps Poway Parkway. The business park already features more than 500 businesses and 18,000 employees.

After the wall appeared last week, several neighbors complained on the social media app NextDoor that they had no idea the project was coming.

Video from the Poway City Council shows the item was discussed November 7 for 14 minutes. Only one public speaker commented on the proposal: a commercial real estate broker who supported the project.

According to the agenda documents, the city notified property owners within 500 feet of the upcoming council meeting, but aerial photographs show the only buildings nearby are in the business park. The concerned neighbors live in homes in a canyon several thousand feet north of the project, separated by open space.

The city also filed a notice in the local newspaper about the upcoming hearing, said Poway Community Outreach Coordinator Rene Carmichael.

City staff noted the land had been part of the Poway Business Park development plan since 1985. It was graded in the early 2000s but otherwise sat vacant because the owners of the property had trouble generating interest.

After the city agreed to change the zoning classification in November to allow for a distribution and warehouse facility, Ryan Companies acquired the property in January. The Minneapolis-based commercial real estate company broke ground on the project in April, said company spokeswoman Kathy Jalivay.

The company has not yet found a tenant to fill the building, which is slated to open in June 2020.

The developer will add trees along the north side of the building to held screen it from view, Carmichael said.