‘It Ain’t Over ‘Til the Fat Lady Sings’

By Annie Norton

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Friends, neighbors, those who oppose the proposed Alpine County Park and those who think this park is the cat’s hot pajamas, you need to know a recent discovery within the dubious confines of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR).

All of us have been duped, bamboozled and cunningly deceived without honest interest in the public’s participation or the desires of the community.

Remember when we asked why the alarming change in size of the park from a 10-15 acres of passive park to a 25 acres of active park?

Remember we could never get a straight, simple answer why the results of the public input meetings San Diego County Department of Parks and Recreations (DPR) held to determine what the community really wanted never aligned with the results of the public input? Remember most of the amenities did not even come close to the public input?

Remember when DPR and the vocal members of the Alpine Community Planning Group (ACPG) assured all of us that this park was a “local” park, meant for the locals to benefit; that, in no way, this was or ever will become a “regional”, mega sports complex that would serve all of the County?

Remember we have all along asked what was the price tag to build and maintain this park and where was that money coming from and were never granted an answer?

And remember DPR always remained evasive, never giving us a straight answer to any of these questions and concerns?

We now have our answers to the above quandaries: a mega regional sports complex park has been planned and designed from the get-go and the proof is in how on October 20th DPR sought and received Prop. 68 funding that the Board of Supervisors just approved, again with overwhelming opposition.

Put the puzzle pieces together: Prop. 68 funding can only be used for construction of a regional park and must include amenities that will attract visitors from a 20-mile radius or region wide. Virtually ALL the design elements comprised in the proposed park meet this prerequisites. In other words, this park and its design has been planned from the get-go to be a mega regional sports complex that will attract far more people than those in our local community. This park is meant for the entire region. Prop. 68 defines a “sports complex” as multiple sports fields or courts/ courses. The proposed park includes a baseball field, basketball court, and pickleball court, among many other amenities, thus easily meeting the “sports complex” definition.

DPR designed this park to be a Regional Park from the onslaught but at the same time giving the public lip-service, essentially deceiving us all the while. Did our local governing group, the ACPG, know of this “bait and switch” during the inception and throughout the development of the park’s design? You draw your own conclusions.

And remember how we questioned the inordinate amount of parking spaces that unreasonably exceeds any of our existing public parking lots in town? Per the DEIR, the park is anticipated to attract 500 people a day, that is 3,500 extra visitors on our roads per week without any improvements to improve safety of our roadways.

DPR never cared about the community’s desires. Their goals were dead set in including as many amenities from the Prop. 68 list as possible. Throughout all the public comments this design has not been altered. DPR’s own data collected at their public input meetings does not support the need or desire for the amenities that are presently included in the proposed park. So from its inception DPR knew what they wanted, a Mega Sports Complex come hell or high water…you remember their biologist telling us that you are getting this park whether you like it or not.

What is vital for all of you to know is that there are four Project Alternatives DPR provided, none of which resemble what the community was originally told this park would resemble – a small nature-based passive park. The following is quoted from the DEIR:

Alternative 2 — Sports Complex Alternative

“Under the sports complex Alternative, a greater area of the project site would be allocated to active recreational uses and would include sports fields intended for competitive sports, including club soccer and baseball teams. Under this alternative, a total of 50 acres of the project site would be developed with multi-use turf areas for soccer, etc, as well as baseball fields, and other features described in Section 3.3.1 of Chapter 3, including a skate park and an equestrian staging area. In addition, because this sports complex would be intended to accommodate competitive teams, extended hours would be allowed and field lighting for nighttime activities would be installed. The number of parking spaces would also be increased to accommodate the increase in parking demand that could occur with the larger active recreational space. The remaining 46 acres of the project site would include open space/conservation area for which a Habitat Conservation Plan would be created.”

Why in the world would such an alternative even be considered? Unless we have been totally blindsided by the pro-park people, not once has it been even fathomed that this “Community Park” would ultimately become the sports complex of the future.

So now you know: we all have been intentionally misled. God only knows what else will be discovered hidden within the layers or strategically left out of the DEIR.

It is time for a professional legal team to take over the reins. A well-respected environmental firm has been hired by Preserve Alpine’s Heritage to write a comment letter and truly represent our community, our resources, our essence of the uniqueness of Alpine and our environment.

To learn more about Preserve Alpine’s Heritage visit: www. preservealpinesheritage.org

Do not just give up. It is not over ‘til the fat lady sings.

Norton resides in Alpine.

‘It Ain’t Over ‘Til the Fat Lady Sings’

2 COMMENTS

  1. I am the person who recommended this parcel to the County for use as an active park after hearing for years two things. The first was members of the community asking for an active park to include ball fields, picnic areas, off-leash dog park, skate park, etc. The second was members of the planning group, who knew better, that “There is no land in Alpine for a park.” The 98 acre parcel purchased by the County is only using 25 acres for active park, e.g. approximately 1/4 of the purchase. Next to this parcel is a privately owned parcel of 245 acres (passive park). In addition, much of Alpine abuts Cleveland National Forest of approximately 465,000 acres (passive). I am at a loss as to why this group wishes to deny the community 25 acres to play on, picnic on, let dogs run on when there are 465,318 acres of passive park for their enjoyment.

  2. Lou, if you lived adjacent or nearby this proposed park and it affected your quality of life and the purpose for moving to the area, you would not be approving or utilizing squewed statistics about why is everyone complaining about a neat Sports Complex. Unless you have interest in this type of project regardless of what the ultimate voice of the community that resides in Alpine thinks, then you need to rethink your position or how you view or consider what we as residents feel about this project. Im not an environmentalist but a person that is considerate of nature and the beauty inherent to it. We need to respect and protect nature otherwise we will eliminate what keeps this planet alive. Eminent domain is a tool that is utilized when the ends justify the means. In this case, the local community is put on balance against what a few developers and county representatives determine is best for not the community but the county and the appropriation of funds. What happened to the funding that was voted in order to build a High School? It is the smoke and mirrors, bait and switch strategy that has corrupted our country and eliminated decency and respect of people and nature. Keeping Alpine Heritage is important in many ways not only to the community today but for future generations. Allowing this park to take place will only spur an onslaught of future high density development that will have no end.

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