GrokSurf's San Diego

Local observations on water, environment, technology, law & politics

Judge signs final decision; SDSU expansion may proceed along Alvarado Creek and Del Cerro

Posted by George J Janczyn on March 2, 2010

The local news media dropped its coverage of this in 2007, perhaps thinking it was over then, but now it’s really done. San Diego State University has a green light to proceed with its strongly contested Master Plan which envisions a 120-room hotel near Alvarado Hospital and the development of a large complex of residential housing for SDSU faculty and staff in the open space area at scenic Adobe Falls on Alvarado Creek near Del Cerro.

The final decision on the long-standing lawsuits challenging SDSU’s 2007 Revised Master Plan Environmental Impact Report was made by Judge Thomas P. Nugent. He signed the final decision on Feb 11, 2010, finding the revised EIR valid.

Check the Ongoing Topics page for future developments]

The lawsuits had been filed by Del Cerro Action Council, the City of San Diego, and others after the revised EIR was issued in 2007, consolidated into a single case, and argued since then until a proposed decision was issued on January 13, 2010. The most disputed issues were SDSU’s (CSU’s) responsibility for paying for mitigation of the environmental impacts (there’s apparently little obligation), and whether the Navajo community plan had been taken into account (it had, but doesn’t matter). Following the proposed decision, objections to it were made and heard, and now this final decision is the last word on the case. Background information is documented on this blog’s Ongoing Topics page. I won’t attempt to relate the variety of other details covered in the lawsuits, but I obtained a copy of the judge’s decision and reproduced it below.

Now that the Adobe Falls project appears ready to proceed, one open question regards the number of units to be built. Presently there is only one road providing access to the site (via Del Cerro Blvd.). If no alternate access can be provided to the site, a maximum of 172 homes will be developed. If an additional alternate access can be provided, up to 348 homes could be developed on the site. The only viable alternate access would be through property owned by the Smoke Tree Adobe Falls Homeowners Association which has vehemently opposed the new development.

Going forward, my interest is in understanding the fate of the Adobe Falls open space area and the city’s only year-round cascading waterfall. I will report new developments as I learn about them.

[Update Mar 4: In response to my question whether an appeal will be filed, Gina Coburn, Communications Director for the San Diego City Attorney’s office wrote me: “Given the pendency of litigation, we are limited by what we will comment on. We will point out, however, that the City and Redevelopment Agency will appeal the Court’s denial of our writ. The lawsuit only addressed SDSU’s Campus Master Plan Expansion, and did not address any other separate redevelopment projects in the area.” She added that her office will not comment on specifics of the appeal and that it cannot comment on what any other parties in the lawsuit might do]

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