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.