Controversial halfway house approved in Nestor - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Controversial halfway house approved in Nestor

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – Residents in Nestor on Monday said they will continue to fight to keep a halfway house out of their neighborhood.

The San Diego City Council on Monday voted 8 to 1 to approve a $6.5 million plan to turn a motel into transitional housing for ex-convicts.

The Otay Mesa Nestor's Community Planning Group rejected the city’s plan to transform a Super 8 Motel in a half-way, saying they support the program but not in their neighborhood.

Those opposed to the project said they feel the city is dumping another project in the South Bay, but the City Council ignored their pleas.

The Super 8 Motel is located along Palm Avenue in Otay Mesa Nestor. Across the street from it is a liquor store. It’s a place San Diego Police Chief said is riddled with crime.

“In this neighborhood, it is like putting gas on fire. It is really a tough neighborhood,” said Chris Holder, South County Economic Development Board Member.

The City Attorney’s San Diego Misdemeanants at Risk Track house would treat 84 low-level criminals – often with substance abuse issues.

“We think the SMART program is a good program. We just think you are putting it in the wrong location,” said Cindy Gomppers-Graves, South County Economic Development president.

According to staffers, since Prop 47 was approved, which lowers many non-violent felonies to misdemeanors, there has been a housing crisis.

“We have the opportunity right now to utilize this property and hopefully serve as a keystone as a further revitalization efforts," said City Council Member Chris Ward.

Councilman David Alvarez, who represent the area where the housing will be located, said the project violates rules set by the Coastal Commission.

“We want to make sure people have access to these coastal assets as the Coastal Commission states,” he said.

Kristin Brittingham, who is a military wife, has protested the drug rehab home, despite that it will have 24-hour security and counseling and services.

“It’s more about the safety when they are gone – being able to feel comfortable about the neighborhood you are in,” she said.

On Monday, those who support the project did not live in the neighborhood.

“Programs like SMART address the revolving door in the criminal justice system which ultimately helps to increase the quality of life and safety in our community,” said Amanda Le, ACLU San Diego and Imperial Counties.

Opponents said they are not giving up. “We are going to keep fighting,” said Rodel Reyes.

A neighborhood advisory committee will also be formed to go over any issues.

The city said the transitional housing at the hotel will open in October of next year.

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