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International Center project nearly ready for Calexico's EIR approval

August 18, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — The date has been pushed back and pushed back again, but this fall the Calexico Planning Commission and the City Council will consider the environmental impacts of the Calexico International Center, according to city Planning Director Ricardo Hinojosa.

The center is an ambitious development project planned for more than 200 acres south of Jasper Road and fronting Highway 111.

If the project is completed as planned it will feature a hotel, gas station, residential housing, golf course, manmade lakes, office buildings and light industrial parks.

It has taken more than two years to complete the report but it looks like the time taken to plan for and anticipate possible impacts associated with the project will pay off, Hinojosa said.


He expects the plans to be approved by the Planning Commission and sent to the City Council within the next few months.

According to the city's process for proposed developments, the commission will have the initial responsibility of examining the environmental impact report.

Wen-I Chang, a Burlingame-based developer who bankrolled the Brawley Inn, hired BRG Consulting of San Diego years ago to put together the environmental impact report for the center.

Eric Lathers of BRG said, "It has taken more than two years because the city hasn't done anything this big in awhile."

If the commission approves the environmental impact report, that decision will be presented to the City Council.

Hinojosa said the report is thorough as far as he's seen.

"Chang's done everything that he was supposed to. He's completed the environmental report and a traffic study," he said.

Lathers said his team of engineers has done everything it could to satisfy the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act by proposing solutions for traffic concerns and flooding issues.

"We've worked with city staff to make the project more environmentally sensitive," Lathers said.

The first phase of Chang's plan is the construction of a hotel and a gas station, according to Lathers.

Hinojosa said the "phases" of the project will be looked at in the weeks before the development plans are presented to the commission.

According to earlier schematics, there are five phases of the project.

The latter phases include such amenities as a golf course and the housing.

Before any of the phases can be considered, the city needs to make sure needed infrastructure is in place, Hinojosa said.

"We have to look at what conditions are we going to put in before they can start construction. Do we need a new bridge crossing or a street crossing?" he said.

Lathers said there are still some concerns left to tweak but he is confident the project will become more than an engineer's brushstroke.

"Chang's got a good reputation. I feel he wants to bring the best project he can to the city.

"We've got some little clean-up things to do but we are very close," he said.

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

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