The San Diego County Board of Supervisors Wednesday gave the OK for a housing development to replace a dilapidated shopping center in the community of Spring Valley.
By a 5-0 vote, the board approved developer Lennar’s request to build Aventina Sweetwater Springs on 11 acres at the corner of Sweetwater Springs Boulevard and Austin Drive.
The multi-family condominium project will feature 92 units and at least two recreation areas, including one for children.
The 35-year-old shopping center now on the parcel is largely abandoned and considered a blight on the community. Demolition is planned for March, according to the county.
Ashley Smith, a county Planning & Development Services staff member, said the project is close to public transportation and meets various state standards. She noted that the project won the support of the Spring Valley Community Planning Group.
Alex Plishner, vice president of Lennar Homes, said numerous Spring Valley residents asked how quickly his company “could tear the shopping center down.”
Plishner said that over the years, as various businesses have closed down, the shopping center has become a haven for squatters, vandalism and people dumping trash. He told the supervisors that two years ago, a security guard witnessed someone attempting to dump a body at the shopping center.
Attempts to make the center viable have failed over the years, according to Plishner, who said Lennar purchased the lot in 2017.
Supervisor Dianne Jacob said the project will transform the area.
“We’re very excited to build the perfect-size homes in the perfect neighborhood to receive them,” she said. “There were lots of complaints about this run-down shopping center and what can be done about it.”
Supervisor Kristin Gaspar said it’s “the very first time a developer has come before me without speakers in opposition. Job well done.”
Supervisors Jim Desmond and Nathan Fletcher praised the project for future reductions in traffic and greenhouse gases.
— City News Service