La Mesa Courier - April 2013

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April 2013


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Volume 3 – Number 4

Spring Street 7-Eleven Moves Forward

Mt. Helix Rises to the Easter Occasion

By Dave Schwab


La Mesa Mayor Art Madrid starts his mornings early. He wakes up at around 4 a.m. to scan through USA Today, read and answer emails and surf the web for stories relevant to La Mesa. His favorite website, Rough & Tumble (, offers a “snapshot of California Public Policy and Politics.” “Knowledge is power,” explained Madrid, who has been mayor since 1990. “It’s not that I want to know everything. It’s that I don’t want to be blindsided.” He said he also likes to see how other San Diego County cities are doing. “Everyone has best practices,” he said, mentioning Escondido.

ood heavens, not 7-Eleven. That’s what some neighbors were saying at the La Mesa City Council March 12 hearing in opposition to a proposed 2,940-square-foot corporate chain convenience store at 4200 Spring St. on a now-vacant former gas station/ car wash site. The Council voted 4-1, with Councilwoman Ruth Sterling dissenting, to ratify the city design review board’s approval of building and landscape specifications for the new 7-Eleven which would be located in a commercial zone with scenic preservation, urban design and mixed-use planning overlays near the Highway 94-125 interchange. City manager Dave Witt noted it was rare to have a city design review board approval for a project challenged. “In most cases those are placed on the consent calendar,” Witt said. “I cannot recall the last time we’ve had this level of discussion over a design review item.” Witt said the vote was not for ultimate approval of the 7-Eleven. The vote was instead to determine whether the project, as presented, meets the city’s urban design standards. Representatives from 7-Eleven gave a slide show presentation detailing their project. They pointed out, after numerous meetings with neighbors, that the project’s design has been significantly modified to address neighbors’ concerns by enlarging and enhancing landscaping, taking all mechanical equipment down off the roof and putting it into a secure enclosure, and by installing downward-pointing lighting to minimize impacts to adjacent properties. A couple of residents testified at the Council hearing they doubted the corporation would be a good neighbor. One resi-

See Madrid, Page 9

See 7-Eleven, Page 12

By Genevieve A. Suzuki

I Ink Globally See event listings for Earth Day and other April happenings in La Mesa. Page 2

t’s probably the prettiest Easter sunrise service in San Diego. The Mt. Helix Park Easter Sunrise Service, now in its 96th year, attracts around 1,000 participants, making it the park’s most attended event. With the large cross set against a clear sky above La Mesa, it’s hard to imagine a more awe-inspiring spiritual experience this time of the year. Mt. Helix Park Foundation executive director Tracey Stotz, who attends the service every year, said the park’s Easter program is one of the most inspirational services she has attended. “Imagine sitting in this beautiful outdoor setting,” she said. “A cool breeze is blowing through the air, caressing your face. It is dark when you arrive to take your seat, but as you get comfortable, the sun begins to peek over the mountains to the east. At first Gary Severt

See Sunrise Service, Page 3

La Mesa Journal

Landmark Lemon Local building highlighted in historical view column. Page 3

Foothiller fantasy realized at last New high school building dedicated. Page 9 NEWS TIPS (619) 697-2500 x124

ADVERTISE WITH US (619) 697-2500 x140

Mayor Art Madrid Earns the Title of Mr. La Mesa By Genevieve A. Suzuki

Mayor Madrid jokes with Megan Custeau, owner of The Lunch Box restaurant.

The Mayor inspects progress at the site of the future La Mesa Meadows development.

“La Mesa Journal” is a new regular feature in the Courier that highlights a regular day in the life of a community member. Because this is the inaugural article, it seemed fitting to start with one of La Mesa’s most high profile residents, the city’s longtime mayor, Art Madrid.


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