Transitional Housing: Controversial South Bay motel plan moves f - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Transitional Housing: Controversial South Bay motel plan moves forward

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – South Bay residents on Monday expressed anger and concern after the City Council signed off on a plan to buy a motel and turn it into transitional housing for low-level offenders.

Proposition 47 passed in 2014 decriminalizing a number of offenses, including drug possession. Since then, hundreds of inmates who were released early have been cycling repeatedly through the criminal justice system.

The plan to turn a motel into transitional housing aims to break that cycle, but South Bay residents said they do not want offenders as their neighbors.

The City Council voted 8 to 1 to purchase the Super 8 Motel for $11 million and remodel it. The motel has 61 rooms and is located in the 1700 block of Palm Avenue.

Noel Sanchez has been raising his family in Nestor and fears a program like the one being proposed would create more crime in the area. He also questioned why his neighborhood should take on the program.

“Why don’t you do this in Rancho Santa Fe or Scripps Ranch? I’ve lived in the South Bay for years, we have been the dumping ground repeatedly,” said Sanchez.

Supporters of the program, which would offer offenders drug treatment and mental health services, said other communities throughout San Diego already offer similar programs.

City Attorney Mara Elliot backed the program saying it provides its participants “a fighting chance.”

Councilman David Alvarez, whose district includes Nestor, cast the lone dissenting vote to purchase the motel.

Councilman Alvarez pointed out that he believes the project will face delays in the form of legal challenges from the California Coastal Commission, adding the property could remain vacant for years.

However, the city staff members questioned that – countering that the Coastal Commission would not have jurisdiction over the project.

Renovations on the motel are expected to begin in January and should be completed next spring. Barring any delays, the facility would open in June of 2018.

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