SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Residents in Carmel Mountain Ranch plan to continue their fight against a proposed apartment building, even though the City Planning Commission has recommended approval of the project by the City Council.
"Alante" is a 50-unit apartment building under development by New Pointe Communities. It will be built on top of an existing MTS parking garage that is no longer in use. It will be located at 10211 Rancho Carmel Drive, just east of the 15 near the Ted Williams Freeway.
"We do believe that the Alante community is a great addition to Carmel Mountain Ranch as it brings 50 apartment units of workforce housing that is much needed in the northern part of the City," New Pointe President Scott Sandstrom told ABC 10News in a statement.
Sandstrom also pointed out that 15 of the units will be designated as affordable housing. Sandstrom says they'll be the first affordable units in Carmel Mountain Ranch.
But the local community has come out against the project over the last few years. In 2019, a petition gathered 912 signatures to stop the development. And in June, the Carmel Mountain Ranch/Sabre Springs Community Council voted unanimously against it.
Despite the opposition, the San Diego Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of Alante to the City Council.
"Frankly we weren't surprised because the Planning Commission has been ruling against community planning groups very frequently for a long time," says CRMSSCC Chairman Eric Edelman.
"Our objection is the bulk and scale of the project," Edelman says. "We would rather see a smaller building with more affordable units."
Plans filed with the city say the building will be 6 stories tall and more than 70,000 square feet. 26 of the units will be one-bedroom apartments. The other 24 will be two-bedrooms.
It will also have 58 parking spaces, 5 motorcycle spaces and 22 bicycle spaces.
"We understand that we're probably not going to stop this project altogether but we would like to alter the bulk and scale of it," says Edelman.
The decision by the Planning Commission cannot be appealed, since it is a non-binding recommendation. But Edelman says his group will now work on a strategy to convince the City Council to deny it.
"We'll refine our case based on what we learned from the Planning Commission," says Edelman. "It's really important that the Carmel Mountain Ranch Community Planning Group does its best to advance the feelings of the community as a whole."
The community says they have concerns over the building's impact on traffic and wildfire safety. They also worry it will be the tip of the iceberg to allowing more large-scale development in the neighborhood.
Right now, a separate developer has plans for a 1,200 unit apartment complex on an abandoned golf course just north of the Alante lot.
"The main concern there is just that these two things aren't being done in a thoughtful manner, in tandem," says Edelman. "It should be done in a sensible manner. A blanket solution that works in another part of San Diego may not work here in Carmel Mountain Ranch."
Sandstrom says Alante gives the city a chance to turn an eyesore into an asset.
"We hope to turn this home for cars into homes for people," he told the Planning Commission at their meeting on July 23.
City Councilman Mark Kersey, who represents the area, told ABC 10News he was not able to comment on the project, since it hasn't formally been presented to the Council. They expect it to be on the agenda in September.