Mayor Comments Ė city council meeting 2-5-08


Mayor Cox:


I had a second set of comments that follows after the councilís discussion when we approved the signatures for the Earl Jentz height initiative to be put on the June 2008 ballot.I had quite an opportunity to do a lot of thinking about this.I had a trip to Washington, D.C., two weeks ago and then a long drive to a SANDAG meeting this last week.And it seemed to me that given the cityís budget cuts of 10% or more and the fact that our reserves are severely limited, itís really important to know the fiscal impact of Mr. Jentzís height initiative on our city and so the Legislative Subcommittee comprised of myself and our Deputy Mayor believes that an independently conducted, impartial fiscal analysis should be undertaken and has made that referral to the City Manager under the concept that more information is better and that our voters should be fully informed.


A second item is to refer to the City Manager and the City Attorney by the councilís subcommittee a request to present to the council an ordinance to be considered by the council for adopting limiting the height of new construction on Third Avenue between E Street and G Street to 3 stories.But following the workshops that I attended, the help that Barbara Bamberger has offered in LEED construction and certainly the going concerns that we talk a lot about green buildings and put our backgrounds and our requirements with that, is requiring construction on that segment of property to be consistent with nationally recognized green building standards.Mr. Rindone and I feel that that little segment of the heart of Chula Vista would be a good pilot project example of high quality urban living and we have asked that that be referred for staff input.


The third item is for the council to docket a companion ballot item for the June 8th election.We heard our colleagues express their concern at the January 22nd council meeting regarding the consequences of the Jentz height initiative on hospitals, particularly on Scripps Hospital.And given the fact that we had spent some time together at the SANDAG meeting, Mr. Rindone and I concluded that everyone deserves quality health care in well-equipped, modern hospital facilities.Since that time of our last council meeting, concerns were also raised regarding the impact of the initiative on our university, on courthouses and on senior housing so the subcommittee has made a referral to the City Manager and City Attorney this evening to draft for the councilís consideration a companion ballot item that addresses the unintended consequences of projects that I can fairly say almost everyone typically supports, projects with high community value such as places of worship and higher education.I think we all have recognized that guidelines for public safety community and health care projects should contain standards that require case-by-case analysis and are held to environmental scrutiny and public review.Mr. Rindone.


Mr. Rindone:Thank you very much, Madam Mayor.I think you articulated all three items well for our colleagues and for our community.I would just like to, if I may, add a couple comments to what you delineated there.


Under the one for the referral to present an ordinance for adopting the limits of heights of new construction on Third Avenue on going green, I think itís really copasetic for this council that started back in 1994 when it joined ICKLY (sp?), an actual council for local environmental initiatives.As my colleagues most likely remember that we were one of only 14 cities in America that was a charter member of ICKLY which is an international organization that uses think globally, act locally and uses local government to effectuate national and international policy and of course for the most profound effect was the ICKLY sponsorship of the Kyoto protocol in Japan, Kyoto, Japan, in 1997 which I had the honor of representing this council and this community and was one of only five Americans assigned to Kyoto protocol.While I couldnít think of anything when Ms. Cox and I discussed that would be more pronounced of going green and using Third Avenue as a project and incentivize and actually looking at options that would be very compatible with green design and architecture and hopefully not only provide a district that would be a companion for the kinds of things we want there such as restaurants and antique shops and boutiques and other attractions, but to do it environmentally compatible so I think this would be an enrichment of what we are looking at, the possibility there of Third Avenue.


And then, last but not least, I also think it is important that there, I have received a number of inquiries about, particularly exceptions that if there was a restriction on a heights amendments that particularly health measures which was the one of greatest concern would tend to hurt the possibility of expansion and with only two major facilities, Scripps and Sharps in Chula Vista, thatís just simply something I think would be worth considering.So these would be brought back to the council for review before making a decision on that, but that at least is a little bit of the thinking that the subcommittee had and I wanted to share those thoughts with my colleagues as well.Thank you very much.