Archives: Current Issues 2006
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PLANS TO WIDEN VIA DE LA VALLE STALLED 

A Valley Alert Update

In January we issued a Valley Alert opposing plans to widen Via de la Valle from its current 40 feet to 84-feet with a raised 10-24 foot concrete median, additional turnouts and a traffic signal.

We are pleased to report that the City of San Diego has been directed to prepare a new environmental document justifying the project and, according to a March 2 Union-Tribune article, a spokesperson for San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders “said the project is on indefinite hold.”

Based on public input, the Hearing Officer for the widening project has directed City staff to come back with more information regarding plans to widen the road. The Hearing Officer directed the City to prepare a new environmental document, re-circulate for public input and to schedule a new hearing.

Issues raised by the San Dieguito River Park, the Carmel Valley Planning Group and nearby residents at the January hearing resulted in the Hearing Officer finding the City's environmental report inadequate.

Most of the critical input centered around the City's over 20-year-old Circulation Element and Specific Plan for the area, both created before the San Dieguito River Park preservation efforts came into existence.  Via de la Valle is identified in the River Park planning area as a “scenic drive” and gateway into the western river valley. The area marked for widening is also immediately adjacent to the San Dieguito Lagoon Restoration Project and the River Park's Interpretive Center.

Members of the River Parks Joint Powers Authority wrote to Mayor Jerry Sanders: “This project should be put on hold and the Circulation Element updated to eliminate the widening as proposed and other less damaging alternatives explored that are consistent with the goals and objectives of the San Dieguito River Park. A significant public and private investment has been made in the western San Dieguito River Park, which should be reflected by planning this area as an aesthetic river parkway as opposed to a standard urban traffic corridor.”

The Hearing Officer's decision to reject the City's initial environmental report on the project provides the time necessary to examine alternatives less damaging to the scenic quality and community character of the western river valley environment.  We will keep you informed of developments for the widening project and represent your concerns at all levels of review.

Ann Gardner

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