The Gatlin Project: An Open Letter (9/20/04)
A developer named Gatlin wants to build a large commercial structure near the intersection of Via de la Valle and El Camino Real.
Nowhere in North County is a thoughtfully considered choice between an important public good and narrow private interest more imperative than in the use of the land in and around the mouth of the San Dieguito River Valley.
It’s always a thrilling sight while driving on Interstate 5 to see the expanse and beauty of the River Valley, and it is truly one of our last local natural treasures. Commercial and large scale residential development must be held at bay in order to preserve our wonderful San Dieguito River Valley.
Development always happens incrementally; no one pays careful attention, and in ten years Via de la Valle at rush hour could look like a parking lot, and we will all wonder how that came to be.
A long time ago Mary’s Tack and Feed was the only business on the north side of Via de la Valle around El Camino Real. When Mary’s moved across the street, the County Board of Supervisors, against the express wishes of the City of San Diego, allowed new commercial buildings —restaurants, office buildings, parking lots — in that area. An illegal landfill was created just east of Scalini’s parking lot, and now a developer named Gatlin wants to put an office building there — on top of the landfill!
With all due respect to Mr. Gatlin (who presently occupies space in the commercial development along Del Mar Heights Road), that property is in a wetland flood plain, and in the opinion of many people, is too precious to be used for commercial development. There are other buildings there now, yes, but it’s always ‘just one more’, isn’t it? And the time to stop is right now. Leave our river valley alone.
Vice President, FSDRV