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Hinojosa: Patience will pay off for developers

April 24, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — The developers and landowners anxious to begin building on the farmland surrounding this city will have to be patient, according to Ricardo Hinojosa, the city's planning director.

Calexico is in the preliminary stages of the year-long process of developing a master growth plan for the city's future, Hinojosa said Monday, adding developers need to be patient because city officials are not going to approve projects without considering that plan.

The growth plan will set up a framework and idealistic vision for the city's growth that developers will have to build in concert with — not the other way around.

In the past, developers brought projects to the Calexico Planning Commission for approval. Before they could be approved, environmental and traffic studies were required.

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If the master growth plan is approved by the City Council, hundreds of acres of farmland will be studied, mapped out and zoned by an independent consultant.

If the developer and landowner want to build something it will have to fit into the consultant's schematic.

Since any potential project will have already been planned for through the growth plan, the project could be approved in as little as a month instead of the 4-6 months it would normally take.

Hinojosa said the growth plan will be beneficial for developers and the city and will make development of new houses, apartment complexes or strip malls easier.

"Some developers are frustrated, but in my opinion the growth plan is a good thing," Hinojosa said.

He said developers now working with the city are frustrated because they have spent years planning projects and expended money on traffic or environmental studies. Now the city is telling developers those studies are secondary to the overall impact study in development.

Hinojosa said the money developers and landowners have already spent won't be wasted because projects "in the pipeline" will be approved as long as concessions are made to the anticipated growth plan.

To ease the concerns of interested parties, Brian Mooney of Mooney and Associates, a San Diego-based environmental consulting firm, will be meeting with developers and landowners on Wednesday to hear their concerns. Mooney also will explain the benefits of the growth plan.

The presentation will be at 10 a.m. in the Women's Improvement Club at Fifth Street and Heber Avenue.

If the meeting goes well Hinojosa said he would recommend the City Council hire Mooney for the more than $200,000 he estimated it would take to complete the growth plan for Calexico.

Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419.

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