Calexico City Council Approve Controversial Apartments Complex

By Mario Conde

The Calexico City Council approved Monday the controversial apartments next to Willie Moreno J.R. High in an appeal despite rejection by the neighbors of this area.

The applicants for this project gave once again a power point presentation showing that this project has met all federal, state, and local requirements and have answered to all Caltrans concerns. Applicant Sam Jack said that they will only allow two people per apartment answering to the concerns of the planning commission that the project will have more people living in the apartments than what is proposed. The City of Calexico approved this project back in 1990 but the Calexico Unified School District took the property on eminent domain for financial reasons. Recently, former Superintendent David Groesbeck gave green light to the developer to continue with this project but current superintendent Dr. Cristina Luna said that the future of the property is yet to be decided. WLC Architects will make a recommendation to the district in within this year to use or dispose of this property in the master plan its being developed right now.

The proposed project needed to have environmental clearance for construction of a two story, 80 unit apartment complex on 4.2 acres of land generally located west of Eady St. between HWY. 98 and De Las Flores Street. The proposed development consist of eighteen separate building including sixteen two bedroom units, fifty three bedroom units, fourteen four bedroom units, a recreation room, separate laundry facilities, an office and a large green central area with a tot lot.  Project engineer, Jose Carlos Romero, showed in a video that there are no traffic congestions at key hours of the day during and after school. Opponents of this project loudly said that the video is not accurate since there is a lot of traffic congestion when parents take kids to school or people drive to work. There was also a concern that Caltrans has promised the widening of Hwy 98 for many years and this action has still not taken place and no date of has been given to start this.

Resident Amalia Rivera said that in the initial study they don’t consider the schools near the proposed project. She said that the traffic study was made on Thanksgiving weekend and does not show the amount of traffic in that area when school is in session. She said that in a meeting with Superintendent Luna, she said that the property is not for sale and doesn’t know why the planning board or the City of Calexico is discussing this item. Another resident said that this project will cause safety hazards for the kids the live near the area since the changes in the Calexico Unified School district, and the increase of students population, will be negative against the schools on the west side and the adjacent neighborhoods.

Resident Joe Alvarez questioned the Council if they have the application of Sam Jack to the Calexico Unified School District. Alvarez said that the School district is not selling the property and questioned why the council is rushing on this item. A motion to approve was made and the council passed this project 4-1 having Romero voting against it.