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Tierrasantans got their coup.

The City Council today directed the City Attorney’s Office to pave the way for denying a developer’s proposal to build a self storage facility at the entrance to the Tierrasanta community. (Read my story from yesterday for background.)

The 7-0 vote followed spirited presentations by both community activists and the developer’s representatives. Arguments and rebuttals were at times emotional and visually evocative (“This project will look like a brontosaurus in a pick-up truck”) to strictly legal.

Responding to the developer’s claims that the city had a legal obligation to approve the project despite community concerns over how it would alter the neighborhood character, Councilman Carl DeMaio said that was “dead wrong.” He said it was the council’s responsibility to determine whether the community wanted the project, and whether it was an appropriate use of land.

The developer argued that a 1989 legal settlement granting development rights to the land bound the city to approve the Krutzsch family’s current proposal. According to the legal settlement, the council was required only to make “best efforts” to approve any proposed development project.

“While self-storage is proposed, this council is under no court obligation to approve this specific project,” said City Councilwoman Marti Emerald.

The decision was a major victory for the Tierrasanta Community Council, which has fought the developer’s proposal since residents learned of it in 2005. The council expects to formally reject the project Oct. 6.

“I’m satisfied that the City Council heard what this community thought about this project, and we’re satisfied with the decision they made,” said Scott Hasson, the community council’s president. “Oct. 6 will be the nail in the coffin.”

The developer’s representatives said they would weigh their options going forward.

“We felt this was an appropriate proposal and feel the council made a mistake,” said Wayne Brechtel, the Krutzsch family’s attorney. “The city’s going to come back with findings and we’ll see where we go from there.”

— ADRIAN FLORIDO

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