Details emerge on Mesas wall pact – east side by June ‘12, all of it by June ‘14

       A wall around Villa de Mesa will be completed by the Gold Hill Mesa development group no later than June 1, 2014, according to a mutual agreement between the two entities.

Gold Hill Mesa lead developer Bob Willard (center) shakes hands symbolically with Villa de Mesa Homeowners Association Vice Presi-dent Mike Reeg after the two sides agreed on a plan for completing the wall around Villa de Mesa. At left is Tim Seibert of the NES company that does planning work for Gold Hill and assisted in the details. The trio is standing at the southeast corner of the boundary between the two Mesas. Gold Hill built the south wall (left) in 2006, and is to build the east wall (right, where a fence is now) by June 1.
Westside Pioneer photo

       The wall will be built in two phases, with Phase 1, consisting of the east wall and part of the north wall, to be done by this coming June, the agreement states.
       The wall's completion has been a sore spot for Villa de Mesa, a 25-townhome enclave off South 21st Street that went in more than 30 years before Gold Hill Mesa's started construction on three sides of it about seven years ago.
       At the time, Gold Hill developers offered to build a wall around the townhome enclave to buffer it from development impacts, but never set an exact timeline.
       By 2006, the developers had built the south wall and most of the west wall, but nothing since. The issue came to a head this year when Gold Hill Mesa applied to the city for various approvals needed to continue its 210-acre residential/commercial project, including the Filing 3 development plan for homes just south of Villa de Mesa.
       The applications were heard first by the City Planning Commission. The Villa HOA complained to the group about a city staff recommendation to approve the Gold Hill plans without a precise schedule to finish the wall, but in vain. PlaCo went along with the recommendation. The HOA then appealed the commission's action to City Council.
       The issue was scheduled for the Sept. 27 meeting. However, according to reports from both sides, representatives of Gold Hill Mesa and Villa de Mesa's HOA started conversing about possible solutions while waiting several hours for the item to come up on the council agenda, and this led to the agreement that was finalized a few days later.
       Bob Willard, the lead developer for Gold Hill Mesa, expressed satisfaction at the deal, but said he was never worried about a long-term rift. “Even when we were having differences, we were still inviting them to our parties,” he said. “At the end of the day, we were going to work something out.”
       Mike Reeg, vice president of the Villa de Mesa HOA and a builder himself, said he needed to look out for the well-being of the subdivision where he has lived for 1 ˝ years but also understood the tight housing market that Gold Hill faces as a development. “There was some head-butting, but the people who have lived there [Villa de Mesa] a long time seemed real happy with the end result,” he said.
       Other parts of the agreement include:
  • Protecting the smaller subdivision's downhill views to the north (by setting a height restriction on Gold Hill construction - the tops of its buildings there can't be more than three feet above the finished floors in Villa de Mesa).
  • Legally transferring to Gold Hill Mesa a 700-by-35-foot strip of land across the north side of Villa de Mesa- not to build on, but to allow transitional grading down a steep slope there, which will simplify future commercial development north of the strip.
  • Allowing six two-story homes among the 20 single-family homes in the Filing 3 development plan. The issue came up because of a past slope-calculation planning error that would have resulted in the two-story homes slightly exceeding a prior height restriction agreement between the two Mesas. This issue had prompted a second appeal to council by the Villa de Mesa HOA, with the enclave seeking only five two-story homes and Gold Hill suggesting seven. Six then became the compromise.
           Other parts of the Gold Hill application to the city this year (all approved) involved an amended concept plan, zone changes, four city-code variances and an access from 21st Street,
           Tim Seibert, the planning consultant to Gold Hill Mesa, said that final details are being worked out, but he expects construction of the new access and final preparation of the Filing 3 lots to be under way by spring of 2012.

    Westside Pioneer article