Proposal to turn motel into transitional housing sparks controversy

SAN DIEGO -- Controversy over a proposal to turn a motel into a transitional housing facility for non-violent offenders is sparking controversy in the South Bay.

In an upcoming meeting, the Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee will discuss the future of the Super 8 in the 1700 block of Palm Ave. in Egger Highlands.

The agenda states the committee will hear a "report from the Economic Development Department and the City Attorney’s Office requesting  Council approval for the acquisition of the Super 8."

According to a city document, the City of San Diego "intends to purchase the property" and turn the motel "into a transitional housing community for the SMART program."

The SMART program provides homeless low-level misdemeanor offenders with housing, job training and support to help them get back on their feet and back into the working world.

“Very scary,” said Maria Leon, a concerned neighbor.

Leon, like a number of others, are saying no to transitional living in their backyard.

“Having something like that next to us, it would be dangerous, I think, for myself, especially for my grandson,” Leon said.

“Don’t dump it in a neighborhood where there’s kids around. Kids have to see that,” Andrea Tarazon told FOX 5.

Others feel differently.

One woman posted the following on Facebook:

“We already have sober livings all over South San Diego and Imperial Beach. So why is it a problem adding a rehab? Haven't seen anything done about the guy sleeping on a full-size mattress on Coronado Ave. That is more of a problem to me than helping people fight the addiction to drugs.”

According to his staff, the district's city council representative David Alvarez has not formed an opinion on the matter yet.

The Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee meeting will be held June 28th at 1:00 PM at the San Diego City Administration Building located at 202 C Street.