City Council puts the brakes on major Mission Valley project - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

City Council puts the brakes on major Mission Valley project

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — Big changes could be in store for Mission Valley as the San Diego City Council is considering major projects at hotel sites in the area.  

On Monday, the council heard proposals for the Legacy International Center – a long planned religious conference center - and an $80-million renovation project. 

Some residents spoke out against plans for the 18-acre Legacy International Center. 

Televangelist Morris Cerullo purchased the former Mission Valley Resort site and wants to build a religious-themed resort-hotel. 

"The Legacy International project is bad for our community, bad for the tax impact on surrounding areas and a bad deal for our San Diego," said one opponent of the plan.  

"Underneath the presentations you saw and read, is a dubious project being pushed by a shady organization to enrich and elevate an unsavory figure with no local ties or accomplishments over the needs of the Mission Valley community," said Elizabeth Leventhol. 

Others shared differing opinions. 

"This is a site that is going to be welcoming to people in Mission Valley," said Vince Mutton. "It will have a park-like setting unlike [what] you've seen in the Mission Valley area." 

Despite the comments from the public, the law prohibits the council from considering the Cerullo's background or the religious use for the site. 

While the project unanimously passed the planning commission and local board, several council members questioned how a project that would attract 400,000 people a year would not impact traffic. 

"There still is an increase, in your own analysis, in traffic and segments and the impacts to surrounding intersections, so I'll be opposing the project today," said Councilmember Chris Ward. 

"To come up here and say it's a bad deal for traffic near Hillcrest or UCSD - the facts don't bear that out one bit," said Councilmember Lorie Zapf. "Someone said this is controversial. I've been here for years, this is not controversial. To be honest, the comments that I heard were clearly religious based, clearly, and I think to make a connection is such a contortion." 

In the end, it wasn't enough to convince other members and the project failed this go around 5 to 4 over traffic concerns. 

"If there are guarantees that this is the project that would be there long term and that the increases, specifically in traffic will not occur... then that's one thing, but I'm not hearing that today at all," said Councilmember David Alvarez. 

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