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San Diego city council considering religious center, renovation on hotel sites

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Posted at 7:12 AM, Sep 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-18 10:13:12-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Two major projects at hotel sites in Mission Valley are scheduled to go before the San Diego City Council for possible approval today.

The council members will consider a series of actions that would clear the way for the Legacy International Center, a long-planned religious conference center on the 18-acre site of the former Mission Valley Resort.

The facility proposed by televangelist Morris Cerullo would encompass five buildings, including a new 127-room hotel and restaurant. It would also have a replica of Jerusalem's wailing wall and a domed theater featuring biblical films.

Before the council are the project's environmental impact report and development permit, along with amendments to zoning plans.

Opposition to the project could come from members of San Diego's LGBT community, who, in a Facebook event post, cite an alleged lack of transparency during the planning process, conflicts of interest and potential violations of the state open meeting law, among other things.

Separately, the council will consider a major renovation project for the oldest hotel in Mission Valley. Plans call for dividing nearly 40 acres of the 64-year-old Town & Country Resort and Convention Center into three sections -- one for the hotel, another for an 840-unit residential development and the third for a 3.3-acre public park along the San Diego River.

As part of the $80 million project, the hotel would be downsized from 954 to 700 guest rooms and conference facilities would be reduced from almost 213,000 square feet to just over 177,000 square feet, according to an environmental impact report.

The report said 27 structures and a parking lot would be demolished and four six- and seven-story buildings constructed, along with associated parking structures.

The park section would include not only park land but also the restoration and enhancement of 8 acres of river habitat and the creation of a 14-foot-wide pathway, the EIR said.

The Town & Country started in 1953 as a motor inn when Mission Valley was mostly farm land. It grew along with the area and now consists of two towers, three restaurants, a trio of swimming pools and a spa. It is a popular destination for tourists, conferences and special events.

The hotel is owned by a partnership between Destination Hotels, Lowe Enterprises and AECOM.

Separately, the council members are scheduled to consider a series of approvals for the Legacy International Center, a long-planned religious conference center on the 18-acre site of the Mission Valley Resort.

The facility proposed by evangelist Morris Cerullo would encompass five buildings, including a new 127-room hotel and restaurant. It would also have a replica of Jerusalem's wailing wall and a domed theater featuring biblical films.

San Diego's LGBT Community Center is organizing opposition to the project, alleging a lack of transparency during the community planning process, conflicts of interest and potential violations of the state open meeting law, among other things.