The City Council's drive to find an alternative site for the proposed Navy housing project at Telegraph Point has failed because owners of six alternative sites did not want to sell their land, council members were told Tuesday night.
"The biggest criterion was the lack of willingness (to sell) on the part of the property owners," said Mayor Greg Cox. Because the Navy has already purchased the 34.4-acre site at Telegraph Point in November, Cox said, "we admittedly were not in the strongest position" to stop the Navy from construction of the 200 multi-family units.
But Cox said that, rather than steamroll the project, "the Navy's attitude has been to attempt to work with the local government. To every point that we addressed, (the Navy) pretty much agreed to."
Public outcry about the Navy's plan to build on housing on the site at the northeast corner of Telegraph Canyon and Otay Lakes roads arose after the Navy announced in November that it had purchased the land.
The City Council in February asked its staff to conduct a 60-day study for alternative sites for housing. The staff finished its survey last week and six locations were found, ranked on such criteria as proximity to shopping areas and naval facilities, accessibility, and ease of development.
However, on Tuesday night, the City Council voted 3-2 to ask its staff to return in two weeks with a more detailed report on the ranking of the sites. "What we have here is a report that, in my opinion, is not complete," Councilman Frank Scott said.
Councilman David Malcolm said the city really doesn't have "any jurisdictional power to stop the Navy from proceeding" with the project. But, he said, "The Navy is coming in with a much less dense project. . . . I don't think a person is going to be able to tell if it's a naval housing site or a regular one."
For an entity that could tell a city to "jump in the lake, they've been very cooperative," Malcolm said.