Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Old Switcheroo

In the face of an environmental lawsuit, the city council reverts the Hall Park back to 2008 plans.

That may be good enough to stop the legal challenge, but is it what Encinitas residents want? Do we want 90-foot stadium lights drowning out Cardiff sunsets? Isn't there a more modest option for a community park that doesn't damage the community?


  1. The decision to revert to the approved 2008 plan was an admission by the city that the finding of Substantial Conformance by Planning Director Patrick Murphy would have lost under legal challenge. The appeal hearing was unlike any ever heard at City Hall. The Park and Recreation Department made no defense and no rebuttal. The appeal only went forward because that was the agenda item.

    Jerome Stocks was caught in a bind. He is a strong supporter of I-5 expansion and now chairman of the SANDAG board which supports the expansion. At the same time he is a strong supporter of the approved park plan. But the two projects collided head on last night. By the city's own admission air quality will worsen on the park because of the freeway expansion. So the council voted 4 to 1 to bury its collective head in the sand and proceed with construction, hoping that Caltrans will have to deal with all the health implications. This may not work under CEQA law, as the city is ignoring a "probable" project.

    There still remains the amendments and modifications that installation of lights will require and their approval by the Coastal Commission. Financing the park construction remains uncertain. It's far from clear that Stocks' maneuver will be a satisfactory solution for the majority of citizens of Encinitas. It's a risky legal and political move.

  2. bunch of sniveling whiners. The whole issue is a tool and a red herring. Prevailing winds are out of the west/northwest. The freeway emissions, to the extent the freeway ever gets expanded, will head easterly and away from the park. When the winds come from the east (Santanas) there is so much dust and particulate matter that the freeway emissions will be insignificant. This is the unfortunate result of professional whiners- not a failure of the CEQA process or good government. The public has been reasonably informed of the park's pros and cons. The fear of not having a "perfect" CEQA document-and another lame lawsuit- is driving decisions. CEQA is being turned on its head. It was meant to offer informed decisions, not necessarily "perfect" ones. There is no such thing as "perfect" and it's obviously easier to tear things apart than it is to build them. Too bad because the decisions are being made out of fear, not leadership.

  3. The adverse heath effects and air pollution concerns were voiced by the City. Read the Planning Director's letter to Caltrans. The city is concerned about the air pollution (including the particulate matter) from the freeway. From the City's letter:
    The analysis does not address the potential for impacts to additional receptors to due the widening of the I-5 corridor, which will result in travel lanes placed from 48-73 feet closer to existing land uses in the vicinity of the freeway. The California Air Resources Board, in their Air Quality and Land Use Handbook, recommend that sensitive receptors not be sited within 500 feet of a freeway due to potential adverse health effects.

    (Sensitive receptors means children, people with breathing problems, etc.)

    More from the letter:
    Recent studies show a link between childhood asthma incidence and exposure to particulates, NOx, and black carbon generated from traffic.